On the last day of COP26 – the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow – Scottish Ballet has come under attack for accepting sponsorship from BP, the British multinational oil and gas company.
Climate activists with the anti-oil protest group BP or Not BP? staged a short performance outside the Theatre Royal in Glasgow, which is the company's home venue. A ballerina wearing a tutu in BP's corporate colours danced outside the theatre while around her activists staged a “die-in” in the rain. A tweet said that “after shedding the BP-sunflower from her tutu, our ballerina dances free of dirty oil sponsorship as the Stop Shopping Choir sing!”
In another tweet by BP or not BP? the group asked the ballet company to “cut its ties to its polluting oil sponsor” and Scottish Ballet replied, “Hi, we recognise the importance of this. As part of our green action plan we are reviewing all our partnerships to ensure they're fully aligned with our carbon neutral goal. We'll be sharing more updates soon.”
Scottish Ballet finds itself at the eye of the storm as its base is in Glasgow. On Thursday it announced that it aimed to be fully carbon-neutral by 2030 “in line with the aims and aspirations of our home city of Glasgow.”
BP or not BP? has targeted many large UK arts and cultural venues associated with the BP and said that Scottish Ballet remained one of the few arts companies still linked to the firm. In recent years the National Theatre, the Southbank Centre, the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Edinburgh International Festival and others have ended sponsorship deals with BP and Shell. The Royal Opera House and British Museum are still sponsored by the oil giant.
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano') about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman's Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia' column for Dancing Times magazine.