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National Theatre cuts ties with Shell over climate change

The move comes just days after the Royal Shakespeare Company ended its ties with multinational oil giant BP.

The National Theatre has ended its relationship with oil company Shell after declaring a “climate emergency”.

The move by the London-based performance venue comes just days after the Royal Shakespeare Company ended its ties with multinational BP.

In a statement, the National Theatre said: “Shell have been valued and long-standing supporters of the National Theatre, most recently as corporate members – this membership will come to an end in June 2020.”

In declaring a climate emergency, the theatre said evidence of “catastrophic environmental collapse is growing ever clearer, from extreme weather events to widespread extinction of species”.

They added: “Theatre, like all industries, has an impact: we create work that is inherently temporary; that makes use of raw materials, of heat, light and sound; that asks people to travel to a particular location at a particular time.

“However, we believe theatre can be part of the solution – we tell stories, shape culture and encourage empathy and understanding. Our industry is made up of creative and inspiring people who are motivated to make change.”

Shell is a corporate member of the National Theatre but not a sponsor.

A Shell spokesman confirmed the firm’s corporate membership would end in June next year.

They added: “The heightened awareness of climate change that we have seen over recent months is a good thing. As a company, we agree that urgent action is needed.

“What will really accelerate change is effective policy, investment in technology innovation and deployment, and changing customer behaviour. As we move to a lower-carbon future, we are committed to playing our part, by addressing our own emissions and helping customers to reduce theirs – because we all have a role to play.”

In June, actor Sir Mark Rylance quit the RSC, adding to pressure from environmental groups and student protesters regarding BP’s sponsorship.

Senior climate campaigner for Greenpeace UK Mel Evans said: “As the impacts of the climate emergency play out all around the world, the reputational damage of being associated with the industry fuelling the problem far outweighs any financial benefit.”



National Theatre severs Shell partnership declaring action needed to avoid ‘environmental collapse’

National Theatre to end Shell sponsorship deal from next year

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