Ending oil industry sponsorship of the arts
Members of the newly-formed but up-and-coming Reclaim Shakespeare Company delivered an unexpected birthday present to the Bard on his birthday, (23.4.12), by making an unexpected intervention before the Royal Shakespeare Company's production of 'The Tempest' at his home in Stratford-upon-Avon:
A letter of protest at BP's cultural hijack was published in the Guardian on
23.4.12: http://www.guardian.co.uk/stage/2012/apr/22/oiling-wheels-shakespeare-fe... here: http://bp-or-not-bp.org, including links to numerous reviews of this foray, and another 2 days later, this time an a cappella intervention before the press performance of 'Twelfth Night', also at Stratford.
Ladies and Gentlemen, there will now be a two-minute performance by the Reclaim Shakespeare Company.
What country, friends, is this? [raises programme] Where the words of our most prized poet
Can be bought to beautify a patron
So unnatural as British Petroleum?
Strange association! [Performer One unveils image of BP’s Deepwater Horizon drilling disaster] They, who have incensed the seas and shores
From a dark deepwater horizon
Who have unleashed most foul destruction [Performer One unveils image of tar sands] Upon far Canada’s aged forests,
Clawing out the lungs of our sickening earth
Who even now would bespoil the high, white Arctic [Performer One unveils image of
In desperate search of more black gold
To make them ever richer. These savage villains!
And yet –
They wear a painted face of bright green leaves, Mask themselves with sunshine.
And with fine deceitful words
They steal into our theatres, and our minds. They would have us sleep.
But this great globe of ours is such stuff as dreams are made on. Most delicate, wondrous, to be nurtured
For our children and theirs beyond.
Let not BP turn these dreams to nightmares.
Fuelling the Future? Thou liest malignant thing! [holding up programme, looking at back page]
Do we sleep?
I find not myself disposed to sleep.
Let us break their staff that would bewitch us!
Out damned logo! [rips out logo from programme]
Audience starts to applaud.
We invite you to join us in tearing the logo from your programme.
Please help us to free the arts from BP.
There will be people with buckets to collect these logos at the end of the performance. We are the Reclaim Shakespeare Company.
We hope you enjoy tonight's show.