Fellow youth strikers and organisers – please join our call for the RSC to drop BP! To sign up, please email [email protected] and let us know your name, age and location, plus any other relevant details you want to share. Thank you!


Dear Royal Shakespeare Company,

We are school students and young people who have been organising school strikes against climate change. We are doing this because our government and large corporations are not taking sufficient action on climate change, and this is putting our futures in serious danger. So far, millions of young people have taken action around the world, with 4 million people attending the last school strike. In the UK, the YouthStrike4Climate movement has mobilised thousands of us to fight for our future. We are all scared about the dire state of our planet and what this will mean for our future, and the future of our children.

We are writing to you because your discounted £5 tickets for 16-25 year olds are sponsored by the giant oil company, BP. This means that if we, as young people, wish to see an affordable play at your theatre we have to help to promote a company that is actively destroying our futures by wrecking the climate.

These sponsorship deals allow BP to pretend that it cares about young people by giving them “the chance to be inspired by amazing live performances and kindle a lifelong love of theatre”. In reality, BP is jeopardising the futures of these young people they apparently care so much about, by continuing to extract huge quantities of oil and gas, and actively lobbying against the climate change policies that we school strikers are pushing so hard for. BP is top of the list of companies blocking climate action in Europe, and spend tens of millions of pounds every year on lobbying around the world. This is despite its advertisement campaigns claiming to be playing an “active role” in reducing emissions and to be “working harder than ever to create cleaner, greener, smarter energy.” It is clear these are empty statements, as 97% of BP’s capital investment remains in oil and gas, and they plan on spending £41 billion on exploring for new oil in the next decade. As an organisation that appears to care about climate breakdown, it simply makes no sense for you at the Royal Shakespeare Company to be accepting sponsorship from a company that is the third biggest corporate source of greenhouse gases in history.

Furthermore, BP’s human rights record is an embarrassment. Their close relationship with repressive governments and regimes such as Egypt, Mexico and Russia has led to horrendous human rights violations. BP’s funding of the Indonesian government help them to buy guns which are used for the genocide of the people of West Papua, and they have been accused of being complicit in the kidnapping and torture of Colombian trade unionist Gilberto Torres. It is sickening that the works of Shakespeare are being associated with these events. It has been inspiring to see Mark Rylance acting on his principles and making a stand against this issue in his recent letter.

The Royal Shakespeare Company needs young people far more than it needs BP, with children and young people making up the bulk of the audiences of your hit show “Matilda the Musical”, which has made you a financial surplus of millions. In comparison, BP provides less than 0.5% of the RSC’s income, and yet is allowed to put its logo on tickets. We are the audiences of the future and we will not support theatre that accepts sponsorship from a company that is continuing to extract fossil fuels whilst our earth burns. We wish that the RSC would act on the ideas that they present in Matilda and not give in to the powerful oppressor. As said by Matilda herself: “If it’s not right, you’ve got to put it right!”

You can be sure that if you continue to accept funding from BP we will come to Stratford-Upon-Avon, not to see a show, but to make a scene ourselves. Unless you drop BP, we pledge to do the following:

– Not go to RSC plays

– Encourage our friends and families not to go to RSC plays

– Lobby our schools to not run school trips to the RSC, and to instead support other theatre companies that put on Shakespeare performances without fossil fuel branding.

– Team up with organisations that are already challenging BP sponsorship of arts and culture, such as BP or not BP? and Culture Unstained, to raise further awareness of the issue.

BP’s influence is nothing but a stain on the RSC. So we therefore ask that you say “out damned logo” and remove their sponsorship.

We would like to meet with the Directors of the RSC, Gregory Doran, Catherine Mallyon and Erica Whyman as soon as possible to make our concerns clear in person and hear your response. Please let us know when you could do this.

Kind regards,

The youth.


Name Age Town/School Role
EJ Fawcett 17 Abingdon School strike organiser
Meg Goodwin 24 Biggar Striker and Strike Supporter
Aaron Smith 17 Birmingham Striker
Mary-Jane Farrell 21 Brighton Youth Strike organiser
Annapurna Marley 18 Brighton Youth Strike organiser
Aidan Evans-Jesra 21 Brighton Youth Strike organiser
Carla Perry Bonillo 17 Brighton Youth Strike organiser
Roseanne Steffen 22 Brighton Youth Strike organiser
Peter Johnson 21 Brighton Strike supporter
Uma 14 Brighton
Junayd Ul Islam 16 Cambridge Youth Striker
Beth Irving 17 Cardiff Youth Striker
Luke Evans 25 Cornwall Strike Supporter
Joe Brindle 17 Devizes Striker
Phoebe Rossiter 17 Farnborough Striker
Ishtara Veen 23 Glastonbury Musician, artist and climate activist
Murray 15 Huddersfield Youth Striker
Kate Govan 16 Huddersfield Youth Striker
Thomas Fish 17 Lancaster Striker
Rohan 14 London Striker
Cloe Hotham 20 London Striker
Chad 17 London, BRIT School Striker
Eden 19 London, Central School of Speech & Drama Striker
Elisha Fern 21 London, Central School of Speech & Drama Strike supporter
Tara Goodfellow 21 London Strike supporter
Al Coffey 22 London Strike supporter
Connor Newson 24 London, Goldsmiths XR Universities
Owen Rowbotham 18 Manchester Youth Striker
Alice 16 Newbury Striker
Ella Mann 18 Oxford School strike organiser
Bella Godden Melendez 20 Oxford Striker
Xanthe 15 Oxford School Strike Organiser
Sasha Jeffery 18 Oxford Striker
Arune Hopestone 18 Oxford Striker
Laura Lock 17 Oxford Striker
Freya 15 Oxford School strike organiser
Clare Harrison 21 Oxford/London Youth striker
Catalina Chavez 17 Stratford-upon-Avon Striker
Chloe Hawryluk 16 Stratford-upon-Avon School Strike Organiser
Elle 15 Stratford-upon-Avon Striker
Lilya Turner Hurd 17 Stratford-upon-Avon Striker
Mary 15 Surrey Striker
Hannah Lindley 18 York Strike Supporter
Stephanie Potter 24 York Strike Supporter

[1] https://www.bp.com/en_gb/united-kingdom/home/community/connecting-through-arts-and-culture/bp-and-the-royal-shakespeare-company.html

Please note: this letter was not started by, nor coordinated by the UK Student Climate Network.