Climate protesters storm theatre show over Sadlers Wells fossil fuel sponsorship

"It’s time to cut oily money out of the arts.”

A ballet performance of Romeo and Juliet at Sadlers Wells faced significant disruption on Thursday evening after climate activists stormed the stage to protest the theatre’s Barclays sponsorship.

Five member of the campaign organisation Fossil Free London hijacked the stage after the interval holding a banner that read “Drop Barclays Sponsorship”, whilst two others held placards and chanted “oily money out” from the wings.

Sadlers Wells includes Barclays bank as one of its sponsors. Barclays has continued to fund new oil and gas projects, investing over $190 billion in fossil fuels since 2016.

“Like doomed star-crossed lovers, Barclays and Sadlers Wells are trapped in a deadly romance as they exchange money for social acceptance, except in this version, after the worst effects of climate breakdown ricochet across the world, we all die,” said Fossil Free London spokesperson, Joanna Warrington.

“By taking their dirty money, Sadlers Wells’ is helping Barclays to launder its dirty image and is complicit in their climate-wrecking investments. It’s time to cut oily money out of the arts.”

Barclays also invests in the oil company Equinor who are pushing forward controversial plans for the Rosebank oil and gas field in the North Sea. They are currently waiting on the approval of their environmental report by the government, due in October.  

Wimbledon, which was targeted by Just Stop Oil protesters this summer, and the National Trust have also come under attack for their financial ties to the bank.

Fossil Free London also occupied the National Portrait Gallery earlier in the week, calling for the gallery to ditch the Bank of America as a sponsor of their Paul McCartney photo exhibition. The Bank of America is the world’s fourth largest fossil fuel financier.

They mark on ongoing campaign targeting oil companies and their financiers in London. Which will culminate in October when the biggest names in the fossil fuel industry will be gathering at a summit, previously known as Oil & Money, now tactfully re-branded as Energy Intelligence Forum, which Fossil Free London will be targeting to shut down.

A Fossil Free London spokesperson told LFF: “In the next few weeks, we’ll be taking disruptive action against the fossil fuel industry and its financial backers, culminating in Oily Money Out, a week-long action to shut down the Oil & Money conference from 14-20 October.

“At this exclusive summit, the CEOs of oil giants like Shell, Total, Equinor & Saudi Aramco will be schmoozing with the president of the COP28 – who is himself an oil boss – just weeks before the climate talks begin. It’s a cynical stitch-up by a fossil fuel industry hell-bent on stalling climate action. We need to shut it down and cut oily money out of our politics.”

(Image credit: Fossil Fuel London)

Hannah Davenport is news reporter at Left Foot Forward, focusing on trade unions and environmental issues

Comments are closed.