Rylance ‘inspired by Greta Thunberg’ to quit RSC over oil company ties

Actor Sir Mark Rylance has said his decision to resign from the Royal Shakespeare Company over its contract with BP was inspired by teenage climate change activist Greta Thunberg.

Sir Mark quit the company in June in protest over oil industry ties, which were ended on October 2.

He addressed crowds in the drizzling rain at the first day of the two-week long international climate change protests in London.

The actor told the PA news agency: "Greta created a major change in the atmosphere. The particular way she speaks really affected me.

"Individual actions can make a difference.

"Greta Thunberg, a girl who protested instead of going to school, is suddenly known all over the world – she has sparked a huge fire.

"She influenced my decision to resign from the RSC when I did."

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Swedish teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg attends a news conference at the SMILE meeting (Summer Meeting In Lausanne Europe), with other young climate strike activists from 37 European countries of the FridaysforFuture movement in Lausanne, Switzerland, August 5, 2019. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse
16-year-old Swedish Climate activist Greta Thunberg attends the 2019 United Nations Climate Action Summit at U.N. headquarters in New York City, New York, U.S., September 23, 2019. REUTERS/Yana Paskova
16-year-old Swedish Climate activist Greta Thunberg speaks at the 2019 United Nations Climate Action Summit at U.N. headquarters in New York City, New York, U.S., September 23, 2019.
Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg appears at the Youth Climate Summit at United Nations HQ in the Manhattan borough of New York, New York, U.S., September 21, 2019. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
Secretary-General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres shakes hands with Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg at the Youth Climate Summit at United Nations Headquarters in the Manhattan borough of New York, New York, U.S., September 21, 2019. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
Sixteen year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg speaks to a large crowd of demonstrators at the Global Climate Strike in lower Manhattan in New York, U.S., September 20, 2019. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
Sixteen year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg speaks to a large crowd of demonstrators at the Global Climate Strike in lower Manhattan in New York, U.S., September 20, 2019. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Sixteen year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg departs after attending a demonstration at the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, U.S., September 18, 2019. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
Swedish 16-year-old youth climate activist Greta Thunberg sits on the side amongst other youth climate activists at a news conference about the Green New Deal hosted by U.S. Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) on the Northeast lawn in front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., September 17, 2019. REUTERS/Sarah Silbiger TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Swedish activist Greta Thunberg participates in a youth climate change protest in front of the United Nations Headquarters in New York City, New York, U.S.,September 6, 2019. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
Swedish 16-year-old activist Greta Thunberg completes her trans-Atlantic crossing in order to attend a United Nations summit on climate change in New York, U.S., August 28, 2019. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly
Swedish 16-year-old activist Greta Thunberg sails on the Malizia II racing yacht in New York Harbor as she nears the completion of her trans-Atlantic crossing in order to attend a United Nations summit on climate change in New York, U.S., August 28, 2019. REUTERS/Mike Segar
Swedish 16-year-old activist Greta Thunberg sails on the Malizia II racing yacht in New York Harbor as she nears the completion of her trans-Atlantic crossing in order to attend a United Nations summit on climate change in New York, U.S., August 28, 2019. REUTERS/Mike Segar TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg holding signage reading "School strike for climate" sits aboard Team Malizia yacht that will transport Thunberg across the Atlantic for the UN Climate Action Conference in this recent undated photo released August 16, 2019. Team Malizia/Handout via REUTERS THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT.
Greta Thunberg, Swedish "Fridays for Future" climate activist, stands next to activists and a masked inhabitant of an illegal tree house in the Hambach Forest that is supposed to be chopped away for the nearby open-cast brown coal minr of German utility RWE, west of Cologne, Germany, August 10, 2019. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay
Greta Thunberg, Swedish "Fridays for Future" climate activist, stands next to climbing equipment that hangs from an illegal tree house in the Hambach Forest that is supposed to be chopped away for the nearby open-cast brown coal mine of German utility RWE, west of Cologne, Germany, August 10, 2019. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay
Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg, Adelaide Charlier and Alicia Arquetoux, French activists from the Youth for Climate movement, attend the questions to the government session at the National Assembly in Paris, France, July 23, 2019. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer
Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg leaves after a debate with French parliament members at the National Assembly in Paris, France, July 23, 2019. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer
Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg attends "Fridays for Future" protest, claiming for urgent measures to combat climate change, in Berlin, Germany, July 19, 2019. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch
Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg attends "Fridays for Future" protest, claiming for urgent measures to combat climate change, in Berlin, Germany, July 19, 2019. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch
Revellers walk past a Greta Thunberg mural at Glastonbury Festival at Worthy farm in Somerset, Britain June 26, 2019. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
Greta Thunberg attends a demonstration calling for action on climate change, during the "Fridays for Future" school strike in Vienna, Austria May 31, 2019. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger
Former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger reacts next to Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg and Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen during the R20 Austrian World Summit in Vienna, Austria, May 28, 2019. REUTERS/Lisi Niesner
Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg looks on next to the former leader of Britain's opposition Labour Party Ed Miliband at the House of Commons as guest of Caroline Lucas, in London, Britain April 23, 2019. REUTERS/Toby Melville
Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg joins Italian students to demand action on climate change, in Piazza del Popolo, Rome, Italy April 19, 2019. REUTERS/Yara Nardi
Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg speaks to the media, as she joins Italian students to demand action on climate change, in Piazza del Popolo, Rome, Italy April 19, 2019. REUTERS/Yara Nardi
"Fridays for Future" activist Greta Thunberg leaves after speaking at the Senate in Rome, Italy April 18, 2019. REUTERS/Remo Casilli
Climate activist Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg meets Pope Francis during the weekly audience at Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican, April 17, 2019. Vatican Media/Handout via REUTERS THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY.
Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg cries at the end of her a speech to the environment committee of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, April 16, 2019. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler
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One protester thanked the actor for resigning from the RSC and for "standing up for what you believe in".

Sir Mark told Extinction Rebellion protesters at St James' Park: "The collapse of society is certain.

"I have many friends in the entertainment industry who are struggling to come up with stories that match what is actually going on today.

"People have been saying to me, it doesn't make a difference having a celebrity joining the protests.

Protesters set up camp in St James' Park"But I want people to know climate change protesters aren't hippies.

"I am confident these protests are going to lead to a solid change.

"I have seen protests against apartheid, poll tax, and all sorts of things create a change.

"Extinction Rebellion isn't going to go away."

Sir Mark, who says he repairs his clothes and drives an electric car, encouraged cheering protesters to stay overnight so police could not remove their gazebos and makeshift wooden signs.

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