BP's Olympic sponsorship spreads beyond its sickening title of Sustainability Partner. The oil giant is also a Premier Partner of the Cultural Olympiad, 'the largest cultural celebration in the history of the modern Olympic and Paralympic Movements'. This allows BP to have its named slapped all over hundreds of cultural events associated with the Olympics, including the World Shakespeare Festival.
While BP's sponsorship of the arts has received continued criticism from artists, musicians, sound artists and even ballet dancers, April 23rd – Shakespeare’s birthday and the launch of the World Shakespeare Festival – saw BP's first ever Shakespearen protest. A group of merry players known as the “Reclaim Shakespeare Company” took unexpectedly to the stage in Stratford-upon-Avon, just before a Royal Shakespeare Company performance of The Tempest. Their piece of guerilla Shakespeare aimed to challenge the RSC over its decision to accept sponsorship from BP in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon drilling disaster and the oil company’s decision to start extracting highly polluting and destructive tar sands in Canada. Just two days later a second troupe of intrepid performers claimed the stage to sing an anti-BP ballad before the opening of BP-sponsored Twelfth Night.
- Find out more at the beautifully-crafted BP or not BP? website
- See the film of the first performance and savour the cheers from the audience
- Read the letter that appeared in the Guardian that same morning, criticising BP sponsorship of Shakespeare
- See the film of 'Green and Yellow Melancholy' the second Shakespearean protest just two days later
- See how the campaign has been received by the theatrical world and the media
- Follow @ReclaimOurBard on Twitter, and like BP or not BP? on Facebook to keep up to date with the campaign