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Fossil Free Mischief Festival

Saturday 16th June

BP or Not BP event poster

We’re excited to announce:

FOSSIL FREE MISCHIEF FESTIVAL, SATURDAY JUNE 16TH 2018

Grab your hat, don your wig, bring your wickedest smile
And come challenge BP in theatrical style
Join us in June to exhibit your ire
At that loathsome, rank, endless and infinite liar…
BP!

On Saturday June 16th, we are delighted to invite you to our 50th rebel performance to kick fossil fuels out of the arts.

Join us in beautiful Stratford-upon-Avon for some serious MISCHIEF against Big Oil!

We’re bringing a festival of guerrilla theatre, disobedient poetry and rebellious music to the doorstep of the Royal Shakespeare Company, to challenge their partnership with oil giant BP. But we need your help to make it a success. Out, damned logo!

Transport from London and Oxford will be provided. If you’re interested, email info@bp-or-not-bp.org and we’ll send you more details on how to take part. Please also share this callout, and the Facebook event!

What’s this all about?

This June, as part of their annual “Mischief Festival”, the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) are staging a double bill of plays about ‘freedom of speech and the right to protest’. As with all RSC plays, tickets for young people are sponsored by BP. BP is deeply complicit in the activities of repressive governments around the world who are crushing people’s freedom of speech and protest, from Egypt to Indonesia – often in ways that benefit the oil company. To add insult to injury, BP is sponsoring discount RSC tickets for 16-25 year olds – the same young people whose futures the company is actively trashing through its greenhouse gas emissions and lobbying against climate action.

Enough! No more!

On Saturday June 16th, we’re heading to Stratford-upon-Avon to hold our own “Fossil Free Mischief Festival” at the RSC’s front door, without permission. With your help, we’ll take a creative stand for clean energy and ethical arts funding, and test how committed the RSC really is to freedom of protest…

Now is the summer of our discontent! Will you join us for some serious Mischief on June 16th?

What will happen on the day?

A host of different performers will join BP or not BP? for a family-friendly day of music, theatre and spoken word – all held mischievously outside RSC venues. Think of it as an unofficial “fringe” to the RSC’s own Mischief Festival. We are working with activists from countries directly affected by BP’s operations, and will be sharing their messages and stories with the public. Some of the performances will be lively and cheeky, others will have a more solemn tone to reflect the reality of BP’s operations.

We need your help to:
Be part of the audience, enjoy the show, partake in some Shakespearean dressing-up and help hold the space.
Join us in throwing Shakespearean insults at that smiling damned villain BP.
Help us engage with theatre-goers and the public, to explain why the RSC needs to stop supporting BP and to share the stories of people fighting back against oil and gas extraction around the world.
Be part of our musical flashmob finale! No performance experience is required – email us at info@bp-or-not-bp.org to find out how to take part.
What are the exact times, and how can I get there and back?

The festival will run from 12 noon to around 6.00pm on June 16th. We’re organising cheap transport from London and Oxford – to book a place, please email us as soon as possible at info@bp-or-not-bp.org (ideally before the end of May). If you need help or advice travelling from somewhere else, please let us know that too. Stratford-upon-Avon also has a train station, which is a 15 minute walk from the theatre.

What’s the problem with BP sponsorship?

Oil companies like BP are lobbying hard to prevent meaningful climate action, while burning reserves which will put us into an unprecedented climate emergency.

Sponsoring public and cultural institutions like the RSC help BP cover up these practices, by providing them with a social licence to operate.

With their logo proudly displayed by respected partners, they present themselves as being a caring, responsible company, while committing some of the world’s worst human rights abuses and causing runaway climate change.

As if all of this wasn’t bad enough, the plays in the RSC’s Mischief Festival are about the disappearance of activists in Mexico and the imprisonment of journalists in Turkey – both countries where BP’s operations have faced serious criticism. The oil company recently signed a major new offshore drilling contract with the repressive Mexican government, while in Turkey a massive BP-backed pipeline has been linked to serious human rights abuses. It’s time the RSC stopped covering up BP’s bad behaviour.

Who’s organising this?

We are BP or not BP? – a troupe of theatrical actor-vists.

We formed in 2012 to oppose BP’s sponsorship of the Royal Shakespeare Company with a series of Shakespeare-themed stage invasions.

We now create pop-up performances in a range of fossil fuel sponsored spaces, including the RSC, British Museum, National Portrait Gallery and Royal Opera House. We will not rest until these cultural institutions are freed from the beastly grip of that puke-stocking BP!

Venue

Royal Shakespeare Company
Waterside
Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire CV37 6BB United Kingdom
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