Our campaign so far
We are supporting students from Warwick University to express their opposition to BP’s sponsorship of the RSC. In 2018 their student union voted to formally support the campaign against the partnership which targets 16-25-year-olds.
In 2017, we launched ‘Fossil Free £5 Tickets‘, a crowd-funded alternative to the RSC’s BP £5 ticket scheme backed by leading figures in the theatre world including Emma Thompson, Vanessa Redgrave and Andrew Garfield.
In 2016, Oscar-winning actor Mark Rylance – an Associate Artist of the RSC – spoke out publicly against BP sponsorship on the BBC.
BP sponsorship of the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC)
BP’s sponsorship of the RSC began in 2012 as part of oil giant’s involvement in the ‘cultural Olympiad’ that accompanied the London 2012 Olympics.
- Following a campaign of creative protest by the “actor-vist” theatre group BP or not BP?, the oil company’s direct sponsorship of RSC plays finished at the end of 2012.
- The RSC replaced Tate as part of BP’s block sponsorship deal with four cultural institutions in 2016. BP is now the sponsor of the RSC’s discounted ticket scheme for young people which means that 16-25-year-olds currently must buy ‘BP £5 tickets’ to see plays.
- The RSC has tried to argue that it relies on BP’s sponsorship, but it has actually made a significant surplus in recent years thanks to the ongoing success of Matilda the Musical, meaning the RSC could end its BP deal and continue to provide discounted tickets if it chose to prioritise its ethics.