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CMS Cameron McKenna has begun a two-year partnership with Donmar Warehouse Theatre as part of its expanding corporate social responsibility (CSR) programme.
Camerons and Donmar have launched 'Creating a Scene', a project that aims to get young people from inner-London communities into theatre-devising workshops. The Donmar is based in London's West End.
Mark Nichols, partner and chairman of Camerons' community affairs committee, says: "This is the first stage in our plan to extend our CSR programme to include formal support for the arts."
Over the two-year partnership, the project will offer up to 200 students and schoolchildren from deprived communities in Camden and Hackney the chance to work with members of the theatre community. The children will devise short theatre performances based on current plays at The Donmar.
The first 100 students will get to work on scenes from The Cut, a new play at The Donmar written by Mark Ravenhill and starring Sir Ian McKellen.
Camerons was able to get involved in the project thanks to co-investment from the Arts & Business New Partners organisation. The firm became a member of Arts & Business in 2004 to benefit from help and advice in extending its community programme into the arts. It is also the first time the Donmar has been involved in a project such as this and it is hoped that the theatre will repeat the exercise when it is over.
Kate Mitchell, development director at The Donmar, said: "We're delighted to be embarking on this two-year relationship with CMS Cameron McKenna and Arts & Business.
"This project will enable us to engage with a large number of young people in the boroughs of Camden and Hackney who we haven't been able to reach before."
Two years ago, Camerons brought in Richard Brophy to coordinate its CSR programme. Nichols says this has led to a more coordinated approach to its community involvement and has resulted in link-ups with a number of organisations, including Arts & Business.
The partnership with The Donmar is the first time Camerons has chosen to support an arts-based project to help young people. However, it is involved in a number of other mentoring and volunteering programmes in London schools.
The firm supplies volunteers for the Hackney Schools Mentoring Programme and helps with literacy and numeracy at a local primary school.