The Royal Opera House ends its partnership with the oil company BP


A demonstration against the BP group’s partnership with the British Museum in 2022. JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP

More and more cultural institutions are turning their backs on oil companies, which have become unwanted patrons, under pressure from artists and environmental activists.

the Royal Opera House of London announced on Wednesday the end of its sponsorship contract with the oil giant BP, in a context of growing pressure on cultural institutions linked to companies exploiting fossil fuels. “We agreed that the partnership would not extend beyond December 2022, when the contract endedsaid a spokesperson for the Royal Opera House. We thank BP for their financial support for 33 years which has enabled thousands of people in the country to attend ballets and operas for free.»

While the Royal Opera House has not officially specified the reason for the end of this partnership, more and more British cultural institutions are turning their backs on the oil companies, which have become undesirable patrons, under pressure from artists and environmental activists.

The Royal Shakespeare Company, prestigious theatrical company based in the bard’s hometown of Stratford-upon-Avon had thus given up being sponsored by British Petroleum in 2019. In London, the National Portrait Gallery also ended its partnership with the oil major, at the end of 2022. following in the footsteps of other cultural institutions such as the British Film Institute, the National Theatre, the National Gallery and the Southbank Centre, which have freed themselves of Shell support in recent years.

The British Museum and the Science Museum have been targeted by actions by environmental activists, who are demanding an end to their partnerships with oil companies, but have so far not severed their controversial ties with these companies.

In France also

Asked in 2019 after activists disrupted a temporary exhibition sponsored by BP, the British Museum told AFP “understandconcerns, but stressed that these exhibits were “expensive to set up and only possible to organize with this type of support“. Apart from the world of culture, other sectors are targeted for their partnerships with oil companies, like the future Olympic Games of 2024 in France.

The oil company TotalEnergies had thrown in the towel in 2019 to become one of the sponsors of the event, under pressure from the mayor of the capital, Anne Hidalgo, who did not want a partner with a bad environmental reputation. The NGO Greenpeace has also attacked the organization of the next Rugby World Cup in France in 2023, of which TotalEnergies is one of the official sponsors.



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