According to Delfont Mackintosh Theatres, the October 4 evening performance of Les Misérables in London was interrupted by a demonstration from the civil resistance group Just Stop Oil. The disruption caused the cancellation of the remainder of the performance.
"During the first half of our performance of Les Misérables, individuals from Just Stop Oil invaded the stage, abruptly stopping the show," says William Village, Chief Executive of Delfont Mackintosh Theatres in a statement provided to Playbill. "Following our safety protocols, the audience were asked to leave the auditorium and the Met Police attended. Regrettably, there was insufficient time to enable us to complete the rest of the performance. Whilst we recognise the importance of free expression, we must also respect our audience's right to enjoy the event for which they have paid."
Just Stop Oil shared a video in which the group of protesters climb onstage as the company is performing the number “Do You Hear the People Sing,” appearing to tie themselves to their spots. The protesters carried signs and wore shirts emblazoned with "Just Stop Oil," "The show can't go on," and a skull logo. Social media videos captured responses from audience members, several of whom booed the protesters.
According to their website, Just Stop Oil is dedicated to demanding the U.K. government stops licensing all new oil, gas, and coal projects by using nonviolent civil resistance tactics. The group has staged several protests in the U.K., including marches, picketing, and painting.
"[Les Misérables] 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?," one of the protesters said in a statement. "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.”
Cameron Mackintosh's London production of Les Misérables officially opened January 16, 2020 at the Sondheim Theatre, following previews that began December 18, 2019. Performances resumed after a break due to the pandemic September 25, 2021.
The current cast features Josh Piterman as Jean Valjean, Stewart Clarke as Javert, Katie Hall as Fantine, Will Callan as Marius, Amena El-Kindy as Éponine, Luke Kempner as Thénardier, Claire Machin as Madame Thénardier, Lulu-Mae Pears as Cosette, and Djavan van de Fliert as Enjolras.
The company is completed by Annabelle Aquino, Hazel Baldwin, Brad Barnley, Michael Baxter, Emily Olive Boyd, Rosy Church, Ben Culleton, Matthew Dale, Matt Dempsey, Sophie-May Feek, Matt Hayden, Tom Hext, Christopher Jacobsen, Jessica Johns-Parsons, Yazmin King, Sam Kipling, Anouk van Laake, Harry Lake, Sarah Lark, Ellie Ann Lowe, Ben Oatley, Adam Pearce, Jordan Simon Pollard, Jonathan Stevens, Phoebe Williams, and Ollie Wray.
Les Misérables is written by Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg and is based on the novel by Victor Hugo. It has music by Schönberg, lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer and original French text by Boublil and Jean-Marc Natel, additional material by James Fenton, and an adaptation by Trevor Nunn and John Caird.
Directed by James Powell and Laurence Connor, the Cameron Mackintosh production also features orchestrations by Stephen Metcalfe, Christopher Jahnke, and Stephen Brooker with original orchestrations by John Cameron, designs by Matt Kinley (inspired by the paintings of Victor Hugo), costumes by Andreane Neofitou and Christine Rowland, lighting by Paule Constable, sound by Mick Potter, musical staging by Michael Ashcroft and Geoffrey Garratt, and music supervision by Stephen Brooker and Alfonso Casado Trigo.