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'Out Damned Logo!' - Macbeth at the Tate

Mr Macbeth starts to regret his decision: “Nature is dead, and guilty dreams abuse my fitful sleep…”. Photo by Hugh Warwick.

The 'Reclaim Shakespeare Company' have returned with a performance of a surprise anti-oil version of Shakespeare’s Macbeth inside Tate Britain’s newly-opened “BP Walk through British Art”. The unexpected performance took place on Sunday 19th January and was staged as a protest against the Tate’s controversial sponsorship deal with BP, concluding with a vocal parade through the gallery on a busy afternoon. It was witnessed by hundreds of gallery-goers, many of whom joined in, and by the Tate Director himself Nicholas Serota...

The unsanctioned piece of pop-up Shakespeare began beneath John Singer Sargent’s painting of Ellen Terry as Lady Macbeth, and featured an actor-vist dressed to resemble Ellen Terry who “came to life” as part of the performance. A large crowd of gallery-goers watched, laughed and applauded as the (fictional) Tate Director “Mr Macbeth” was tempted by three evil BP executives into striking a dastardly sponsorship deal, to help conceal the oil company’s “deadly deeds” which “spread grief and chaos ‘cross lands and seas”. Over 30 audience members then revealed themselves to be part of the performance, chanting “Double double, oil is trouble, tar sands burn as greenwash bubbles.”

 

 

For more on the performance and to read the script, click here.

“You’ll see we have our own live version of Lady Macbeth here too, we’ll be hearing from her in a moment”. Photo by Hugh Warwick

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A fake “tour guide” gathers a crowd and introduces the painting: “You’ll see we have our own live version of Lady Macbeth here too, we’ll be hearing from her in a moment”. Photo by Hugh Warwick.