“The show can’t go on”- Just Stop Oil supporters interrupt ‘Les Mis’

This evening, five Just Stop Oil supporters have disrupted a staging of the iconic musical ‘Les Misérables’ at the Sondheim Theatre in Westminster. Just like revolutionaries featured in the story, they are calling on everyone to take a stand against the government’s criminal plans to “max out our oil and gas reserves” and to join in civil resistance against new fossil fuels. [1]

During the performance of ‘Do You Hear The People Sing?’, five Just Stop Oil supporters entered the stage carrying orange banners reading ‘Just Stop Oil’ and ‘The Show Can’t Go On’. They emerged during the song’s crescendo, amongst actors bearing revolutionary red flags. At around 8:50pm they locked themselves to the set using flexible bicycle locks, which theatre technicians were unable to remove. The performance was halted, and the theatre was evacuated by 9:10pm.

23 year old community worker Hannah Taylor is one of those who took action today. They said:

“The show starts with Jean Valjean stealing a loaf of bread to feed his sister’s starving child. How long before we are all forced to steal loaves of bread? How long before there are riots on the streets? The show cannot go on. We are facing catastrophe. New oil and gas means crop failure, starvation and death. It is an act of war on the global south and an utter betrayal of young people.”

“Rishi Sunak has just approved Rosebank, a new oil project in the north sea which will produce as much carbon as the annual emissions of the 28 lowest-income countries combined. It will lead to hundreds of thousands of deaths due to starvation as crops fail in the increasingly extreme weather conditions.”

“Am I not, like Jean Valjean, justified in breaking the law to oppose this criminal government and its murderous policies? Ask yourself, will you, like the citizens of Paris in the play, stand by and watch, or will you stand up against our governments’ criminal plans and call for an end to new oil and gas?”

‘Les Misérables’ depicts a society where hardworking people struggle to afford food, and they’re ruled by widely-despised unelected leaders who repress democracy, while amassing wealth for themselves and their cronies. This could describe the United Kingdom under Rishi Sunak and his reign of climate chaos. On the 20th of September, Sunak announced a staggering rowback on green policies, hot on the heels of his promise to licence 100 new fossil fuel projects in the United Kingdom. These decisions, made without a democratic mandate, are genocidal. [2]

Another of those taking action today was Poppy Bliss, 19, a student from Nottingham. She said:

“I am taking action with Just Stop Oil because I am absolutely terrified for my future. I don’t want to be disrupting people’s evenings out, but I have been left with no other choice. Our government is betraying the young and putting everyone’s futures on the line for the sake of a few votes. I am doing this because I am desperate.”

“We are frighteningly close to losing everything we love. Everything we know will be destroyed by climate collapse. I cannot do nothing and just watch that happen. I want a liveable future for my generation and the generations to come. The show cannot go on.”

We are not prepared to stand by and watch while the government plans for millions to die and destroys everything we love.  It’s up to all of us now to come together and resist. We cannot let them divide us. Together we can be the real opposition this country needs and we will win. We will stop new oil and gas. People are coming together from all over the UK to march day after day in London from 29th October. Its People vs Oil!  Sign up for action here: https://actionnetwork.org/forms/take-action-with-just-stop-oil/


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Notes to Editors:

[1] Just Stop Oil is a coalition of groups working together to demand that the government immediately halt all future licensing and consents for the exploration, development and production of fossil fuels in the UK. Just Stop Oil is a member of the A22 Network of civil resistance projects. Climate Emergency Fund is Just Stop Oil’s primary funder for recruitment, training, and capacity building.

Just Stop Oil ‘Blue Lights’ policy: our policy is, and has always been, to move out of the way for emergency vehicles with siren sounding and ‘blue lights’ on.

[2] https://www.theguardian.com/politics/live/2023/sep/20/rishi-sunak-net-zero-targets-car-industry-uk-politics-live