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Mark Rylance Resigns from RSC Due to BP Sponsorship

Mark Rylance Resigns from RSC Due to BP Sponsorship

According to the Guardian, three-time Tony winner Mark Rylance has resigned as an associate artist with the UK's Royal Shakespeare Company due to a sponsorship deal with BP. He explained: "I do not wish to be associated with BP any more than I would with an arms dealer, a tobacco salesman or anyone who wilfully destroys the lives of others alive and unborn. Nor, I believe, would William Shakespeare."

RSC's Gregory Doran and Catherine Mallyon told the Guardian: "We recognise the importance of a robust and engaged debate in taking these decisions, especially in the light of the acknowledged environment and climate emergency. It's one of the many ways that help us to establish lifetime enthusiasts for Shakespeare and live theatre and applies to all of our productions whether in Stratford, London or on tour around the UK."

Rylance joins a large group who protests the financial support of fossil fuel companies in various British cultural institutions.

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Rylance most recently appeared on Broadway in Farinelli and the King. He also appeared in New York at Brooklyn's St. Ann's Warehouse in 2016 in Nice Fish, which he co-authored with the Minnesota poet Louis Jenkins, and was directed by Claire van Kampen. The play was produced by The A.R.T. and St. Ann's, having originally been produced by Joe Dowling at The Guthrie Theatre and subsequently produced by Sonia Friedman for The Harold Pinter Theatre in London's West End. Mark also appeared at The Belasco Theatre in 2013 as the Countess Olivia in Twelfth Night, and Richard in Richard III. Both productions originated at Shakespeare's Globe Theatre. They were subsequently produced by Sonia Friedman and directed by Tim Carroll, Artistic Director of The Shaw Festival, Canada.

He has also appeared on Broadway as Johnny "Rooster" Byron in Jerusalem directed by Ian Rickson(The Music Box); Valere in La Bête (The Music Box) and Robert in Boeing-Boeing (The Longacre), both directed by Matthew Warchus. He first played in NYC for A Theatre for a New Audience, Henry V and Touchstone, 1992-94. Recent film work includes Chris Nolan's Dunkirk, Steven Spielberg's Big Friendly Giant and Bridge of Spies. He is heard as Flop in "Bing Bunny" for the BBC and Thomas Cromwell in "Wolf Hall," directed by Peter Kosminsky, which was aired in America in 2015 on PBS.

Photo Credit: Walter McBride / WM Photos

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