IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Climate protesters disrupt play starring Jeremy Strong

"An Enemy of the People," also starring Michael Imperioli, follows a doctor who finds his town's bathhouse is contaminated.

Three protesters from the climate justice group Extinction Rebellion interrupted the Broadway play "An Enemy of the People" on Thursday.

The first interruption came during a town hall scene featuring actor Jeremy Strong's character, according to a video the group posted on X.

“There is no Broadway on a dead planet,” the activist is heard saying in the video. The activist is then seen being escorted out of the theater by some cast members, including Michael Imperioli.

Two other protesters later also disrupted the play, which began its preview run at the Circle in the Square Theatre in New York last month.

Extinction Rebellion uses nonviolent civil disobedience to draw attention to climate change. Activists with the group have blocked roads, glued themselves together and shut down airports for their cause.

In a news release, the group said that the protesters were “warning there is ‘no theater on a dead planet,’ and demanding the right to peacefully protest against the use of fossil fuels.”

The play, a Henrik Ibsen revival, follows a doctor (Strong) who discovers that his town’s bathhouse is contaminated with a deadly disease. When he tries to speak out, the doctor faces opposition from his brother (Imperioli), who is the mayor of their town.

A member of the climate justice group Extinction Rebellion interrupting a performance of "An Enemy of the People"
A member of the climate justice group Extinction Rebellion seen here interrupting a performance of "An Enemy of the People" at Circle in the Square Theatre in New York on Thursday. Extinction Rebellion NYC

A spokesperson for Extinction Rebellion did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

“This play highlights that climate activists are not the enemy," Laura Robinson, a spokesperson for Extinction Rebellion, said in the news release. "But why are we being treated as such? Non-violent climate protestors are being charged as if they have committed very violent acts. This is not sustainable and this is unacceptable."

Extinction Rebellion identified Lydia Woolley, Nate Smith and Kyle Butler as the activists. All three echoed Robinson in the group's statement.

"We’re not protesting the event itself; we are not protesting theater; we are not protesting the emissions that brought spectators to get here," Woolley said. "That’s not the point. We are here because we have to disrupt this public event as our last resort to draw public attention to the climate emergency we are facing today."

Several theatergoers, including a journalist, posted about the disruption on X.

"It was jarring but that was the point," said Moises Mendez II, a culture writer at Time magazine who was at the show. Mendez said that the audience initially "thought this was a part of the show," but that the room had an "uneasy tension" after the subsequent disruptions.

Theatergoers online noted that Strong and Imperioli appeared to stay in character throughout the demonstration.

Imperioli uploaded an Instagram post about the protest with the caption, "tonight was wild … no hard feelings extinction rebellion crew. michael is on your side but mayor stockmann is not. much love."

Representatives for Strong and Imperioli did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Representatives for “An Enemy of the People” declined to comment.