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 with its daring folly burn the world.
BP or not BP? is a theatrical protest group that creatively takes back the cultural spaces that BP has appropriated, and through performance uses them to expose the unethical nature of oil sponsorship. We were formed in response to BP’s sponsorship of the World Shakespeare Festival and the Royal Shakespeare Company in 2012.
In 2012, as the Reclaim Shakespeare Company, we turned oil sponsorship into a hot topic within the theatre world through a series of audacious 'Guerrilla Shakespeare' interventions on BP-sponsored stages in Stratford-upon-Avon, the West End, and at a Shakespeare exhibition at the British Museum. We gained coverage in The Stage, the Guardian, the Independent, the LA Times and even appeared on Channel Five's 'The Wright Stuff'.
BP's logo has not appeared on any plays since, though the Royal Shakespeare Company still retains it as a sponsor. We are now working behind-the-scenes with theatre professionals to promote the idea of fossil free culture across the sector.
In 2014 we turned our main actorvist attentions to the BP-sullied British Museum, where we have performed over 15 times, and counting... We have invaded with a flash-horde of oily vikings, brought Holmes and Watson in to catch the world's biggest corporate criminal, twice recreated the Deepwater Horizon spill (the second time with Reverend Billy), performed with Colombian trade unionist Gilberto Torres who is suing BP for its role in his kidnap and torture, and joined forces with London Mexico Solidarity to invade the BP-sponsored Day of the Dead festival with ghoulish BP execs.
In 2016, we set up a rebel exhibition in the museum, featuring objects donated by communities affected by BP around the world.
We have also performed, without permission, at the BP-sponsored Edinburgh International Festival - which then dropped BP as a sponsor in 2016! We've created performances at the Royal Opera House and Science Museum, as well as targeting Shell with a Dr Faustus-themed musical at the National Gallery, in solidarity with PCS Union staff striking over privatisation.
Times are tough. Ay, there’s the rub. But all that glisters is not gold! We WILL free our arts institutions from the grasp of this smiling damned villain. Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more!