Note: we first wrote this manifesto when we launched in 2012, to challenge BP’s sponsorship of the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC). In the following years, our rebellious theatrical activities spread and developed to include other oil-sponsored cultural spaces. Then in October 2019, we achieved a major victory: the RSC finally dropped BP (and the National Theatre ended its Shell partnership two days later)! However, even though Shakespeare is now freed from the taint of Big Oil, we have chosen to honour our roots and leave this manifesto in its original Shakespearean language…
At a time when the world should fear much more the heat of the sun and the furious winter’s rages, BP is conspiring to distract us from the naked truth of climate change, and by pursuing a future powered by more and more extreme fossil fuels, like tar sands, deepwater drilling and Arctic exploitation, with its daring folly burn the world.
Something is rotten in the state of Albion
The British Museum, Royal Opera House, National Portrait Gallery, and Science Museum have all chosen to put BP’s money in their purse. Yet he’s mad that trusts in the tameness of a wolf. BP is doing everything in its power to let not the public see its deep and dark desires – fossil fuel expansion and ecological devastation. BP is the greenwash monster, which doth mock the meat it feeds on, and these cultural leaders have made themselves complicit in its crimes. If this were play’d upon a stage now, we could condemn it as an improbable fiction!
Enough! No more!
Times are tough. Ay, there’s the rub. But all that glisters is not gold. And whilst comparisons are odorous, we do well remember that Tate, the Edinburgh International Festival, the Royal Shakespeare Company, the National Theatre, the National Gallery and the Edinburgh Science Festival have all recently ended their oil sponsorship deals and continued to thrive, freed from the grasp of these smiling damned villains. Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more!
We believe that action is eloquence
We say to our cultural institutions: to thine own self be true. Be nothing if not critical and forgo your damaging relationship with BP.