BP or not BP? The debut performance of the Reclaim Shakespeare Company @ReclaimOurBard

On April 23rd 2012 – Shakespeare’s birthday and the launch of the World Shakespeare Festival – a group of merry players known as the “Reclaim Shakespeare Company” took unexpectedly to the stage in Stratford-upon-Avon, just before a Royal Shakespeare Company performance of The Tempest. This piece of guerilla Shakespeare aimed to challenge the RSC over its decision to accept sponsorship from BP in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon drilling disaster and the oil company’s decision to start extracting highly polluting and destructive tar sands in Canada. Find out more here:

Filmed by Zoe Broughton

Here’s the script in full:

What country, friends, is this?

Where the words of our most prized poet

Can be bought to beautify a patron

So unnatural as British Petroleum?

Strange association!

They, who have incensed the seas and shores

From a dark deepwater horizon

Who have unleashed most foul destruction

Upon far Canada’s aged forests,

Clawing out the lungs of our sickening earth

Who even now would bespoil the high, white Arctic

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! Do we sleep?

I find not myself disposed to sleep.

Let us break their staff that would bewitch us!

Out damned logo!

BP are of course LOCOG’s London 2012 ‘Sustainabilty’ Partner. The World Shakespeare Festival “forms part of London 2012 Festival, which is the culmination of the Cultural Olympiad”.


Hey he’s not my bard (I’m not going to leave my Schiller for some pesky Shakespeare), but I quite like this.

Pff. BP as the Olympics’ Sustainability partner. That’s funny.


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