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Queer activists crash London stage to protest against BP-sponsored concert

2016-04-20
Three LGBT performers from theatrical campaign group BP or not BP? took to the stage at Cadogan Hall in central London on Monday night (April 18), to protest against British Petroleum’s sponsorship of a concert being staged there. Russia’s Mariinsky Orchestra was due to begin a performance of Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet when these “actorvists” came in and performed their own four-minute version of the Shakespeare’s play, titled “Ramira and Juliet”. Ramira and Juliet - three performers invade the stage and the balcony. Photo by Hugh Warwick. Small version. (1) The audience reportedly laughed and applauded as the performers recreated the famous balcony scene with an anti-BP, pro-gay rights twist. Security allowed the performance to conclude and the activists left the concert hall on their own accord. Guests included VIPs from BP, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, and the Russian Embassy, who gathered for a BP-hosted reception beforehand. In the script of Ramira and Juliet, the lovers are gay musicians who fall out over Ramira accepting sponsorship from BP. Adapting many famous passages from the original play, at the end, the main characters sort out their differences, drop the oily sponsor, and marry, which would be illegal in Russia under its anti-gay laws. The show culminated in the “actorvists” ripping the BP logo from their programmes. Ramira and Juliet - Ramira realises the ethical consequences of being funded by BP. Photo by Hugh Warwick. Cropped version. “LGBT activists have a rich history of creative protest around civil rights, labour rights and climate change", stated Sarah Ginsberg, one of the performers. She adds: "We took to the stage tonight to confront BP staff and the British and Russian governments with urgent questions about the ethics of continued fossil fuel extraction, the need to end oil sponsorship and the ongoing struggle for LGBT rights”. Ramira and Juliet - Juliet pleads with Ramira to break up with BP. Photo by Hugh Warwick. Cropped version. (1) BP holds a 19.75% stake in massive state oil company Rosneft, which makes it the largest shareholder after the Russian government. According to the Russian Federal Inspection Service for Natural Resources Use, Rosneft is one of the Russia’s worst polluter. This performance comes two days before the anniversary of BP’s Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico which has cost the company more than $50 billion and the impacts of which are still affecting residents and ecosystems today. Words: Norberto Paredes More stories: James Franco: ‘I’m a little gay’ Is Hollyoaks’ Harry about to cheat on Ste in exchange for money?