Industry News

Protest against BP RSC partnership raises thousands

More than £2,500 (€2,875/$3,230) has been raised in five days by a ticket scheme set up to challenge arts sponsorship by oil companies.

The initiative, established by campaign group Culture Unstained, is looking to provide an “unofficial, ethical alternative” to the Royal Shakespeare Company’s £5 ticket programme, which is sponsored by the British multinational oil and gas company BP.

RSC signed an extension deal with BP last year for an additional five years to ensure it could continue its £5 ticket scheme.

The scheme is attempting to crowdfund £10,000 to be able to purchase RSC tickets at full price and sell them to under-25s for £5, in an effort to demonstrate that “ethical alternatives to oil sponsorship exist”.

More than a quarter of the target that was raised in the first five days of the scheme came from individual donations ranging from £50 to £500.

Bridge of Spies and BFG actor, theatre director and playwright Sir Mark Rylance, who donated £300 to the scheme, said: “In the end, individuals will make the difference. We must individually stop supporting those who, like BP, deny by their actions that humans and many other living beings are facing a mortal crisis of global warming.

“This ticket scheme allows young people who wish to attend a Shakespeare play to do so without being associated with BP.”

Others that have donated include Caryl Churchill, Emma Thompson and Moira Buffini, and the scheme has been backed by figures including Spiderman’s Andrew Garfield, Vanessa Redgrave, Max Stafford-Clark and Tamsin Greig.

The ticket scheme will also ensure that 10 per cent of the crowdfunded donations will go towards supporting grassroots groups fighting BP’s environmental and human rights impacts.

Image: MylesMC