Performers at a German opera company smoke cannabis joints on stage during the latest production.

The Neukoellner Opera House in Berlin is also encouraging the audience to smoke their own pot during the opera.

They are claiming artistic licence to protect themselves from drug laws.

The opera, The Yellow Princess by French composer Camille Saint-Saens, tells the story of an artist whose life is dictated by a love for drugs and Japan.

Artistic director Bernhard Glocksin, 46, said an evening at the opera would be "improved with a few joints and some appetising lines".

He added: "It's a test to see just what we can get away with."