The recent collaboration between Doyle Shipping Group (Belfast) Ltd and the c21 Theatre Company is a perfect example of business and the arts working together in harmony. In addition to the two organisations involved, it has also benefited the wider community.
The relationship between the two Belfast-based organisations grew out of a casual conversation at a fund-raising event over four years ago. Sean McCready, a director of Doyle Shipping and supporter of the arts, was searching for a new project. Meanwhile, Stephen Kelly, a founder member of c21, was hoping to find a new business partner and sponsor to help develop the scale and scope of the theatre company. The two organisations have collaborated on a variety of projects since, with McCready even becoming a member of c21’s board.
The latest venture, ‘Man Overboard’ which was shortlisted for an Allianz Arts & Business NI Award in the Employee Engagement category, is a short educational film looking at the perils of not wearing a life jacket in designated areas around Belfast Port where the Northern Irish arm of Doyle Shipping is based. “We wanted to create something that would both showcase our commitment to health and safety to our customers and could also be used to train new employees as part of our ‘Tool Box Talk’ induction series,” McCready explains.
“We wanted to get as many of our staff involved as possible as we felt that would be a good way of reinforcing the message.”
The two teams worked closely to develop a real-life concept with Doyle Shipping personnel playing roles in the film. The services of the director and camera man as well as the hire of technical equipment were secured via an Arts & Business NI investment.
The result was well received by Doyle Shipping staff and created a buzz on social media. Indeed, such was the level of engagement from the Doyle Shipping employees involved in the film that two of them went on to train in first aid with Lagan Search and Rescue and are now part of the voluntary response team that keeps the port and city waterways safe.
Kelly says: “This was a great experience for us as a small company to be involved in a production like this. We are very grateful for the continued support, both creative and practical, of Sean and Doyle Shipping, which was has been a massive bonus for us over the past four years.”
Arts & Business is generously supported by The Arts Council of Northern Ireland.