Project Theater – or how we disrupted the Polish arts scene

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Welcome to the magical world of Project Theater – one of Capgemini Poland’s flagship Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability (CR&S) programs.

Being a socially responsible company means not only caring for the environment, your employees, and their families – but also the society you live, work, and operate in. Capgemini Poland’s Project Theater is a successful CR&S project that helps our people to do something important and meaningful for the local community, while developing their skills and confidence.

The one thing you don’t expect from a business professional is for them to dress up as an animal or as another brightly costumed character, put on their make up, and walk out onto the stage with head held high. But this is exactly what our people at Capgemini Poland do on a regular basis … and we ’ve been doing it for the last 10 years.

Interested? Welcome to the magical world of Project Theater – one of Capgemini Poland’s flagship Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability (CR&S) programs.

From humble beginnings …

In 2008, Capgemini Poland’s CR&S team sent out a short email to our employees asking whether they would be interested in putting on a theatrical performance to raise money for a local NGO.

The response couldn’t have been better – we received loads of enthusiastic replies from people across the organization, many of which came to our first rehearsal. We engaged a professional director and rented a theater. Preparation costs were covered by Capgemini Poland, while our people “donated” their evenings and weekends.

Rehearsals started in September – four hours a week in the evenings by ourselves, and two weekends a month rehearsing with our director. Although some of our actors had been in amateur theater groups, our director was on a mission to make us professionals.

In December 2008, “Corpo-Troupe,” as we called ourselves, presented our first ever play entitled Snow White Ltd. Tickets sold out in less than a week and all the money raised was donated to SIEMACHA, a Polish NGO that supports children and young people from underprivileged families, who we also invited to the performance.

 … and a whole lot of collaboration …

The extremely positive feedback we received from both the audience and theater itself helped us shape we worked together. We designed a collaboration model where all three partners – the NGO, Capgemini, and the theater – have benefited from the project, including:

The NGO benefits through providing a night of entertainment to their children, money raised from selling tickets, and awareness of their cause and mission.

The theater benefits from promotion among Capgemini Poland employees, their friends, and families, as well as people who follow the project on social media.

And Capgemini benefits through employee development (Project Theater performers have developed new skills such as public speaking, people and time management, and project management), employee retention (Project Theater is one of the reasons our people stay with Capgemini), employer branding (prospective employees often ask about Project Theater during recruitment), local perception (Project Theater gives Capgemini great visibility in the media), and high CR&S ratings.

Over the years, our collaboration model has enabled us to lower production costs, as directors and theaters see the value and importance of working with us; gain sponsors and media partners, which translates into higher visibility and better promotion; and achieve a wider reach and sell more tickets through collaborating on the advertisement campaign.

In a nutshell, Project Theater has contributed greatly to the way all three partners are seen as responsible citizens that care for the needs of the local community.

… come greater things

In the last 10 years, we’ve built a cast and crew of over 200 volunteers who are involved in Project Theater, put on more and more ambitious productions, including a musical, and for the last three years prepared an audio-description for our performances, so that people with impaired sight can also enjoy them.

We’ve raised over €33,000 to support a variety of NGOs, and brought smiles to over 10,000 people; we’ve received a number of awards, including Capgemini’s Global Community Engagement People’s Choice Award, and have inspired other organizations in Poland to put on their own performances now.

Today, 10 years on and just one step away from our 10th performance, we couldn’t be prouder of what we’ve achieved. It’s amazing how a simple idea can grow into an important initiative, how its universal goal of gathering people around common values has become fully embedded in the culture of Capgemini Poland and spread across the organization, the city, and the country.

So if you ever find yourself in Krakow in December, check whether there’s a play on – and if you fancy getting involved, get in touch!

To learn more about Project Theater contact: katarzyna.zolna-boron@capgemini.com

Kasia Zolna-Boron works for Capgemini’s Business Services Marketing and Communication team and is responsible for marketing campaigns across the function. She is the initiator of Project Theater and has starred in eight out of its nine plays, where she has brought to life various animals including a frog, lion, cow, and more recently a snake. Kasia is still waiting to be cast as a princess.

 “All photos by Tomasz Ćwikliński, taken at the December 2017 production in Małopolski Ogród Sztuki, Krakow”.

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