First ever trans Juliet actor will donate fee from production to protest BP sponsorship
A transgender actor will be donating all of their fee from their next play to protest BP’s sponsorship of the Royal Shakespeare Company.
James Le Lacheur is believed to be the RSC’s first transgender Juliet and will take on the role in a production of Redefining Juliet on Friday.
But on Wednesday, they took to Twitter to speak out against the fact that the prestigious theatre company allows BP to sponsor their scheme which enables 16-25 year olds to buy £5 tickets.
In a video post, James declared that the good caused by the scheme “outweighs the damage being wrought by the RSC being associated with BP, a corporation with an appalling and continuing track record of environmental negligence and human rights abuses.”
They have pledged to donate their fee to the Fossil Free £5 Ticket scheme, which has been set up to provide an alternative source of affordable tickets for RSC productions.
James said: “Now, you may be aware that the RSC is one of the very few arts institutions in the country to still accept sponsorship from BP, which it uses to fund its £5 ticket scheme for those aged 16 to 25.
“I don’t believe the good this does outweighs the damage being wrought by the RSC being associated with BP, a corporation with an appalling and continuing track record of environmental negligence and human rights abuses.
“As a statement against this I am donating my fee from this production in its entirety to the Fossil free £5 Ticket Scheme, which is an initiative which has been set up with a view to providing an alternative source of £5 tickets for RSC productions and eventually persuade the RSC to fully divest itself of oil sponsorship and therefore prevent a mass exodus of artists and audiences alike.”
The initiative is supported by the cream of British stars including Mark Rylance, Emma Thompson, Vivienne Westwood, Vanessa Redgrave and Carol Churchill.
Thompson said: “The need to transition away from fossil fuels couldn’t be more urgent. That’s why I’m so pleased to support this initiative, which is showing that there are positive alternatives to oil sponsorship.”
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BP has a long record of legal, ethical and human rights violations.
It was responsible for the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 that killed 11 workers, poisoned countless marine animals and birds, and impacts on the health and livelihoods of communities along the coast.
The company also has a close partnership with some of the world’s most repressive regimes, including Azerbaijan, Indonesia and Egypt.
Last year, the Tate and the Edinburgh International Festival ended their decades-long relationships with the company and hundreds of artists pledged not to take oil money for their work.