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Activists to hold protest performances outside RSC venues over BP sponsorship

MORE than 70 activists will stage a day of performances outside Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) venues in protest against its sponsorship deal with climate-wrecking oil giant BP.

The “rebel festival” will take place at several theatres in Stratford-upon-Avon on Saturday, organised by activist theatre group BP or not BP?

Campaigners say the day promises to be the largest-ever protest the RSC has faced since first branding its plays with BP logos in 2012.

They accused RSC of “hypocrisy” for choosing BP as a sponsor during its “Mischief Festival,” a double-bill of plays about freedom of speech and protest.

BP or not BP? member Sarah Horne said: “We are delighted that the RSC is showcasing new, political plays about freedom of speech.

“But it is deeply upsetting to see these plays being used by BP to position itself as a champion of free speech while colluding with governments that silence people speaking out against the oil and gas industry around the world.”

She pointed out that BP is “deeply complicit” in the activities of repressive governments around the world who are crushing people’s freedom of speech and protest.

A Shakespeare-themed “mischief mob” will stage poetry and song as part of the protest.

There will also be a spoof fashion show, a troupe of wrestling clowns and a performance highlighting the carnage wrought by BP around the world.

The group will set up a “Shakespearean Insult Booth” and invite members of the public to throw Bard-inspired insults at BP.

RSC executive director Catherine Mallyon said: “Corporate sponsorship is an important part of our diverse funding mix, alongside ticket sales, public investment, private philanthropy and commercial activity.

“Importantly, no sponsor influences or drives our artistic decision-making and we remain committed to exploring contemporary issues and ideas in all our work.”


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