Romeo and Juliet ballet performance interrupted by climate change protesters | Ents & Arts News

Sep 1, 2023 | Entertainment, News

Climate protesters interrupted a performance of Romeo and Juliet on Thursday night at London’s Sadler’s Wells, demanding an end to the theatre’s partnership with Barclays.

The group ran on to the stage during Matthew Bourne’s ballet adaptation of the Shakespeare classic and unfurled a banner that said “drop Barclays sponsorship”.

In video filmed by the group known as Fossil Free London, performers were seen immediately leaving the stage before the safety curtain came down, drawing a mixture of cheers and boos from the audience.

The noise from the audience appeared to try to drown out the protesters, who spent several minutes chanting “drop Barclays sponsorship”.

Additional protesters could be seen in the wings holding cardboard signs – one of which demanded an end to money linked to oil in arts and culture organisations.

Protesters were then spoken to by security.

One person on X, formerly known as Twitter, said the disruption lasted for around 20 minutes, but it is not clear if the performance continued.

Sky News has contacted Sadler’s Wells for comment.

Spokesperson for Fossil Free London, Joanna Warrington, said: “Like doomed star-crossed lovers, Barclays and Sadler’s Wells are trapped in a deadly romance as they exchange money for social acceptance, except in this version, after the worst effects of climate breakdown ricochet across the world, we all die.

“By taking their dirty money, Sadler’s Wells is helping Barclays to launder its dirty image and is complicit in their climate-wrecking investments. It’s time to cut oily money out of the arts.”

Protesters on stage with security. Pic: Fossil Free London
Protesters on stage with security. Pic: Fossil Free London

Pic: Fossil Free London
Pic: Fossil Free London

The group claims Barclays is investing in new oil and gas projects, saying the bank has spent more than $190bn (£150bn) on fossil fuels since the Paris Climate Accord was signed in 2016.

The group says it is a “grassroots climate group campaigning for a London beyond fossil fuels, imagining a cleaner, greener city for residents and for people worldwide who are experiencing the loss and damage of climate crises made in London”.

It comes after several months of disruption aimed at sporting and cultural events, mostly in London, with group Just Stop Oil spraying paint on government buildings, covering a Wimbledon court in orange powder, and storming the Ashes.

Sky News has contacted Barclays for comment.

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