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Published on Jun 28, 2012
Vote BP for worst Olympic sponsor!: www.greenwashgold.org
Last night (27th June 2012), to mark one month before the Olympics opening ceremony, a group of merry players known as the "Reclaim Shakespeare Company" took unexpectedly to the stage at the Roundhouse Theatre in Camden. Five minutes before a BP-sponsored Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) performance of The Comedy of Errors was due to begin, the actors performed a short Shakespeare-inspired piece. They challenged the RSC and the London Olympics over their decision to accept sponsorship from BP in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon drilling disaster and the company's decision to start extracting highly polluting and destructive tar sands oil in Canada.
The surprise performance coincided with a theatre outing for BP employees, which meant that a significant portion of the audience was made up of BP staff, making the pop-up protest especially embarrassing for the RSC.
This was the third such intervention by the Reclaim Shakespeare Company, the first two having taken place on the Royal Shakespeare Theatre stage in Stratford-upon-Avon. It came a week after Mark Rylance, one of the UK's leading actors, who is performing in the Olympic opening ceremony, expressed his concerns about BP's sponsorship of the Olympics and the Cultural Olympiad (of which the World Shakespeare Festival is part) on Radio 4's Today Programme.
The three actor-vists performed a three-minute sketch inspired by The Comedy of Errors, in which the narrator first meets a 'fine and worthy' patron of the arts, and then meets a 'noxious, treach'rous, belching, oily rogue' - who turn out to both be the same character, BP (sporting an impressive BP logo as a ruff). On discovering this, BP is accused of 'taking fair nature as his green-tinged guise' whilst 'with daring folly [he] burns the world.' The performance culminated with a call to action: 'Enough! No more! / Now is the summer of our discontent. / Out, damn logo!', with the narrator ripping the BP logo from her theatre programme. The audience were then encouraged to do the same.
To find out more, see www.bp-or-not-bp.org Follow us on twitter: @ReclaimOurBard Like us on Facebook: BP or not BP?