Royal Opera House ends a 33-year financial agreement with BP

The Royal Opera House of the United Kingdom said on Wednesday that it has terminated its 33-year sponsorship agreement with energy company BP due to environmentalist pressure and protests.

The London cultural institution stated in a statement to AFP that it was “grateful to BP for their sponsorship over the past 33 years” but that the partnership will cease in December 2022 when BP’s contract expired.

The oil company sponsored the opera house’s “BP Big Screens,” which broadcast live opera screenings across the United Kingdom, including at Trafalgar Square in London.

In recent years, climate change activists have exerted pressure on the institution to cut its financing connections with fossil fuel industries.

John Luther Adams, a Pulitzer Prize-winning composer, and Paul Griffiths, a librettist, backed a 2016 letter demanding the Met to drop BP as a sponsor, while frequent protests were held against the contract.

The opera house has severed relations with BP, following in the footsteps of the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Portrait Gallery.

Chris Garrard, co-founder of the organization Culture Unstained, described the decisions as “a seismic shift, a near-total rejection of BP’s brand and the climate-wrecking business it represents across the arts.”

“By removing funding for fossil fuels, the Royal Opera House can now play a leading role in creating the culture beyond oil that we so urgently require.”

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The British Museum has not yet indicated whether it would renew its contract with BP when the existing agreement expires next month.

BP provided no quick response.

 

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