Oscar-winning actor Sir Mark Rylance has resigned from the Royal Shakespeare Company in protest against the organization's sponsorship agreement with oil giant BP
Oscar-winning actor Sir Mark Rylance has resigned from the Royal Shakespeare Company in protest against the sponsorship agreement between the organization and oil giant BP.
Sir Mark, 59, is one of Britain's most respected actors, has appeared in dozens of Shakespeare stage productions and has been associated with the company (RSC) for 30 years.
But in a letter of resignation, he said he stopped because of the organisation's relationship with the & # 39; global murder & # 39; company, which it has been sponsored since 2011.
Sir Mark, who has played countless characters in Shakespeare's plays, including Richard III and female Olivia in Twelfth Night, compared BP to an & # 39; arms dealer & # 39; in his statement.
Published in an article in The Guardian, he said: & # 39; I recently let the RSC know that I feel like I must resign since I no longer want to be connected to BP, just like an arms dealer, a tobacco dealer or someone who knowingly lives destroys others or unborn. And I don't believe that William Shakespeare.
He continued: & # 39; The RSC will continue to push BP & # 39; s brand to a generation of young people who – in large numbers due to ongoing school strikes – have told adults that they should now step up their response to the climate crisis.
& # 39; Surely the RSC wants to be on the side of world-changing children, not world killers? & # 39;
Sir Mark, 59, is one of Britain & # 39; s most respected actors and has appeared in dozens of Shakespeare stage productions. Above: Sir Mark portrays Richard III in 2012 at The Globe Theater
Sir Mark, who last appeared on the scene in Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet in 1989, also claimed that BP was the & # 39; third largest & # 39; contributed to the climate change of & # 39; every company in history & # 39 ;.
In response, the RSC said it was & # 39; sad & # 39; was due to Rylance's departure, but added that corporate sponsorship was a & # 39; important part & # 39; of the financing model.
In a joint statement, artistic director Gregory Doran and chief executive Catherine Mallyon said: & We are saddened that Mark Rylance has decided that he can no longer be one of our Associate Artists, but we respect his decision. We thank him for his long collaboration with the company.
& # 39; It is important that no sponsor influences or influences our artistic decision making and we are determined to investigate contemporary issues and ideas in all our work.
& # 39; We have a clear donation and sponsorship acceptance policy and consider potential individual offers of support.
& # 39; We recognize the importance of a strong and committed debate in making these decisions, especially in the light of the recognized environmental and climate disaster.
& # 39; Corporate sponsorship is an important part of our financing, alongside ticket sales, public investment, private philanthropy and commercial activities.
BP has been sponsoring the RSC since 2011 and Sir Mark said in 2016 that he would probably end his association with the company if it did not end his relationship with the oil giant.
& # 39; BP & # 39; s sponsorship of our £ 5 ticket for 16-25 year olds gives many young people the chance to see our work, and the arrangement is highly appreciated by our audience. & # 39;
Sir Mark said in 2016 that he would probably quit the company if it didn't end his relationship with BP.
And in 2012 he signed a petition stating that the sponsorship agreement allowed the company to "& # 39;" obscure the destructive reality of its activities, which he said threatened the future of the planet.
Sir Mark won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for his role in the 2015 film Bridge of Spies and also recently appeared on the screen of the new Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel, where he portrayed Thomas Cromwell.
MailOnline has approached BP for comments.
The company told The Guardian: & # 39; We have been supporting art in the UK for 50 years, and during that time about 50 million people have enjoyed BP-supported activities and programs & # 39; s
A spokesperson added that the company & # 39; dedicated & # 39; was to & # 39; part of the solution & # 39; to address the & # 39; climate challenge that we are all facing & # 39 ;.
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