Our campaign so far
We supported Oscar-winner Sir Mark Rylance to engage with the RSC about his concerns over BP sponsorship over several years. He ultimately decided to resign as an RSC Associate Artist in June 2019.
In 2017, we launched ‘Fossil Free £5 Tickets‘, a crowd-funded alternative to the RSC’s BP £5 ticket scheme for 16-25-year-olds, backed by leading figures in the theatre world including Maxine Peake, Vanessa Redgrave and Andrew Garfield.
We engaged with the RSC over how inappropriate it was to be sponsored by BP while putting on a play about climate denial – Myth directed by Kirsty Housley. We reported on the uncomfortable conversation in Exeunt.
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 in 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.