Belfast Telegraph

Zoe Wanamaker: National Theatre’s split with Shell is an important statement

The veteran actress has worked with the National Theatre throughout her career.

Zoe Wanamaker attending The Women of The Year Lunch and Awards 2019 at the Royal Lancaster Hotel, London (Ian West/PA)
Zoe Wanamaker attending The Women of The Year Lunch and Awards 2019 at the Royal Lancaster Hotel, London (Ian West/PA)

By Alex Green, PA Entertainment Reporter

Zoe Wanamaker has said the National Theatre’s decision to split with oil company Shell over concerns about its environmental impact is a “statement about what is going on in the world”.

However, the nine-time Olivier Award-nominee said the Government must also share the responsibility for combating climate change.

Wanamaker, 70, worked extensively with the National Theatre, as well as the Royal Shakespeare Company, which also recently ended its relationship with BP.

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The National Theatre on the South Bank of the Thames in London (Matt Crossick/PA)

Campaigners have accused groups such as BP and Shell of obscuring their damaging environmental impact by supporting arts organisations.

Speaking on the red carpet at the Women of the Year awards lunch in London, she said: “It’s a statement about what is going on in the world. It is a way for companies to listen. I think that is important

“But the Government is the one that should be responsible for that as well, and I am thinking about this in every shape and form.

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Sir Mark Rylance quit the Royal Shakespeare Company (Ian West/PA)

“Buildings for instance. Building should be sustainable. Your space and insulation and solar panels.”

This summer, Oscar-winning actor Sir Mark Rylance, an associate artist with the RSC for 30 years, quit the theatre company over the issue.

Wanamaker also said that despite the Government’s push to involve children in Stem (Science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects, theatre would always have an important role.

She added: “Writers have to write. Actors have to act. There will always be that. There is a tradition of telling stories and that won’t change.”

PA

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