Royal Opera House's controversial BP sponsorship ends after 33 years

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Environmental Activists from Extinction Rebellion outside the Royal Opera House in London in 2019 demand that they drop gas and oil British Petroleum (BP) as a sponsor.Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Activists had protested about the sponsorship over a number of years

The Royal Opera House has become the latest cultural venue to cut ties with BP, as the oil giant's sponsorship ended after 33 years.

The move follows protests from environmental campaigners about the company's funding of the London venue as well as other arts institutions.

BP's sponsorship of the National Portrait Gallery and Royal Shakespeare Company has also ended in recent years.

Pressure group Culture Unstained said the news represented "a seismic shift".

BP had sponsored the Royal Opera House's BP Big Screens, which showed opera and ballet in Trafalgar Square and around the UK.

A Royal Opera House representative said they were "grateful" for the support, which in recent years had also included "recovery post-pandemic and supporting our drive towards net-zero".

BP said it was "proud to have supported the Royal Opera House for more than three decades" until its deal expired last month.

Culture Unstained co-director Chris Garrard said: "What we are witnessing is a seismic shift, a near wholesale rejection across the arts of BP's brand and the climate-wrecking business it represents."

The value of the sponsorship has not been revealed. The Royal Opera House is also preparing for a £2.9m cut in its public funding from Arts Council England from April, taking its annual grant to £22.3m.

The British Museum, also sponsored by BP, has not said whether its funding from the company will continue after February, when its current contract is believed to expire.

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