SAP takes centre stage at Donmar Warehouse

signs £500,000 arts and business sponsorship deal

LondonSAP has joined forces with one of the West End’s most influential theatres in a groundbreaking sponsorship deal.

The exciting new venture is the first time the global software company has made a long-term investment in the arts world, and follows SAP’s successful backing of the Donmar’s triple Olivier award-winning production of ‘Merrily We Roll Along’ earlier this year.

SAP is linking up with the theatre, where Academy award-winner Sam Mendes is artistic director, to become its principal sponsor as it moves into its second decade as an independent producing venue.

SAP has signed a three-year deal worth £500,000, with £200,000 of funding being made available to the 250-seat theatre in the first year.

The innovative partnership extends far beyond a traditional sponsorship, and the strength of the relationship has been recognised with an investment from Arts & Business through their ‘new partners’ scheme. The New Partners award significantly enhances SAP’s funding of the theatre with an additional investment of £45,000.

The money has helped to create an SAP ‘Arts Club’ at the Covent Garden-based theatre which will offer SAP’s employees, business partners and their families the chance to attend dress rehearsals as well as playwriting and technical workshops run by Donmar artists and staff at SAP. They will also be provided with membership cards offering discounts at the Donmar and shops and restaurants in its vicinity.

“This will be a complete partnership in every sense of the word. It is envisaged that the whole SAP community, including its 700 UK employees, the 6,000 business partner consultants and 800 UK customers, will get involved in the work of the Donmar,” said Peter Robertshaw, director of marketing, innovation and thought leadership at SAP.

“The partnership will feature the traditional hospitality elements, but we intend to go beyond this with programmes to educate both our staff and the local community about all aspects of the theatre and playwriting. We’re also aiming to improve the work/life balance for the SAP community and to open up new audiences for the Donmar. The theatre will also benefit from our technological expertise,” he added.

“The funding from SAP is crucial to the theatre’s financial security and gives us the opportunity to undertake some long-term strategic planning. It will also enable us to kick off some innovative educational and audience development initiatives, including a student arts marketers scheme, aimed at attracting and encouraging young people’s attendance of the theatre,” said Rachel Weinstein, development director at Donmar Warehouse.

Over the last ten years the Donmar Warehouse, under the artistic directorship of Sam Mendes, has acquired an international reputation as a theatrical powerhouse. Having earned 15 Laurence Olivier Awards as well as seven Tony Awards from its five Broadway transfers, the theatre’s many hits have included Sam Mendes’ production of Cabaret, Tom Stoppard’s multi-award winning The Real Thing and The Blue Room starring Nicole Kidman.

SAP’s sponsorship is scheduled to kick off on November 30 with the Donmar’s production of Peter Nichol’s ‘Privates on Parade’.