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The top of the Stormont Mile was today (Thursday 8 November 2012) taken over by a troupe of "actorvists" using drama to campaign for transparent political funding.

They staged a performance in support of Friends of the Earth’s Who Pulls the Strings [1] campaign to end political donor secrecy in Northern Ireland.

The campaigning actors interacted with a 10ft high cut-out of a fat cat, designed and built by Irish News and Hearts and Minds cartoonist, Ian Knox, which dangled a puppet politician from one of its arms.

This isn’t the first venture into performance campaigning by the environmental pressure group.

In June the Who Pulls the Strings campaign was launched with a YouTube video [2] involving a stilt-walking puppeteer and a gang of prancing polluters.

Then in September a play about the campaign was performed as part of Belfast Culture Night.

Friends of the Earth Activism Co-ordinator Niall Bakewell said:

“It is getting increasingly difficult for organisations like ours to get our message heard, and at the same time our activists want to experiment with more creative ways of campaigning.  Branching out into theatre and performance art has helped us to recruit new volunteers and involved them in developing how we bring our message on this issue to the Northern Ireland public.”

Mr Bakewell went on to say:

“We believe that allowing public access to the list of major donors to political parties is vital for a healthy, transparent democracy, and the Secretary of State has the opportunity to let us do that when a temporary ban on seeing the donor register is up for renewal or expiry in 2013.  Our troupe of actorvists is helping us reach new audiences, and adding humour and humanity to what could otherwise be perceived as a rather dry subject.”

Over 4000 people have already signed Friends of the Earth’s petition [3] calling for an end to donor secrecy.  Anyone who wants to take this action should go to

The Secretary of State is must decide by February 2013 whether or not to renew the ban on access to the donor register.







For further information, please contact Friends of the Earth Northern Ireland on 028 9023 3488.


Published by Friends of the Earth Ltd