There are usually 3 volunteers required for front of house duties – A, B and C (manager). The front of house manager and assistants should arrive one hour prior to curtain.
- Have stage manager unlock foyer fridge.
- Place “No Parking” signs in front of theatre doors from the phone pole on the left to the small display window on the right. Place the handicapped sign further down the sidewalk towards the lane. Put cigarette bucket out at the east side of the theatre.
- In winter, ensure that snow has been removed from sidewalk in front of the theatre, and that ice-melting salt has been used and is working, if necessary. Snow shovel is kept under the stairs or in the scene shop. Sweep away snow or other debris from in front of doors. If snow continues to accumulate during the performance, make sure it is swept/shoveled before intermission and
before the end of the performance. Patrons must have a safe and clean walkway in front of our theatre.
- Unlock left front door by putting Allen key in the hole on the bar and turning while holding bar in so that it will stay in.
- Count out 125 programs and divide up for both doors. Extra programs are kept in the large seat box
- Plug in coffee machine (takes 15-20 minutes to warm up)
- Preset coffee (place new filter in basket, add one packet of coffee) making both regular and decaffeinated coffee.
- Put coat check donation container and sign on the top of coat check.
- Ensure hangers and tags match. Please try to keep hangers in numerical order.
Hearing Assist System
Headsets are kept in the sliding upright drawer on the right side of the fridge. The on/off switch is located below the right head phone. Turn the switch on before giving the headset to the patron. Show the patron the volume controls on the bottom of each ear piece. The headset may be worn with the patron’s hearing aid unless interference occurs in which case, they should remove their hearing aid. Please take car keys as a deposit on the headset. Be sure to turn the headset off when the set is returned. If new batteries are needed, extras are available in the sliding drawer. Installation directions are posted.
Opening the Theatre
Familiarize yourself with the theatre layout (seat numbers/rows) to direct patrons to their seats if necessary.
- Inquire of ticket agent if any wheelchair patrons are expected. If yes, inform Stage Manager and assist in removal of one or both wheelchair seat positions – Row A seat 1 and 2, Row A seat 15 and 16. Store one pair of seats in front of heater, across from janitor’s closet next to the handicapped washroom. The other set of seats is stored somewhere in the foyer.
- Any seats which are sold but empty when show is ready to begin cannot be resold. They belong to someone and should not be sold again. Should the people who purchased these seats show up late, it would provide us with a dilemma we don’t need. Also no audience member, whether related to the cast, crew or director is allowed to watch the show from anywhere but the auditorium in a purchased seat. In other words, there can be no chairs, stools or anyone sitting on the stairs. This is against fire regulations. So, please don’t ask the Stage Manager to sneak anyone in. All of these “rules” are for the SAFETY of our cast, crew and audience.
- Stay in communication with the Stage Manager/Assistant Stage Manager as to when to open the auditorium doors – very important – actors must have time to warm up, crew must have time to prepare the stage and pre-show music must be running before patrons enter the auditorium.
- Post one usher at each door with programs. Ushers collect small portion of ticket and the stubs are counted after the show begins. This is to determine the number of people in the audience in case of fire. Hand out programs encouraging sharing between couples.
- Stay in communication with Stage Manager or ASM – they will need to know if your patrons are nearly ready and you need to know if the cast and crew are ready. When the bell sounds invite the audience to please take their seats.
- Check outside for smokers and in the washrooms. Look up and down the street for latecomers.
- Ensure all patrons are seated.
- Close upper and lower auditorium door. The usher at the lower door will confirm with the Stage Manager or ASM that the house is in. Do this by going through the stage door and letting them know that the house is in.
Latecomers may only enter through the upper door. Ushers should wait until there is light and activity onstage before allowing latecomers to enter. Instruct latecomers to be quiet and discreet and to take whatever seats are available at the end of an isle until the intermission when they can find their assigned seat.
The light located over the lower auditorium doors is linked to the house lights in the auditorium. When the light over the door goes out, the performance has begun. Use this as your signal at intermission to open the doors – when the light is back on AT FULL, the intermission has begun and ushers may open the doors. OPENING THE DOORS BEFORE THE HOUSE LIGHTS ARE UP CAN SERIOUSLY DISRUPT THE PERFORMANCE. Do not rely on applause as your signal. Sometimes there is applause between scenes and sometimes there is no applause at the end of an act prior to intermission.
At least one usher should remain in the lobby during the performance to answer the telephone, direct latecomers to the upper doors and generally keep the peace in the lobby. One usher will sit in row Q seat 1during the performance to deal with any problems that may arise (unruly patron, illness, crying baby etc.). Ushers should use their discretion as to when to intervene in a disruptive situation.
Once the Performance has Begun
Speak quietly while working in the foyer because voices can be heard in the auditorium.
- Count ticket stubs to determine number of people in theatre (in case of fire)
- Count out float which is kept in the fridge
- If you haven’t already plugged in coffee maker do so now. It takes 15 to 20 minutes for the water to reach the boiling point.
- Put out cream, sugar, stir sticks napkins.
- Put out pop and juice, displaying what is available on the counter top.
- About 15 minutes before intermission make pots of coffee, one regular and one decaffeinated.
Wait until applause has died down and house lights go up, and then open the auditorium doors. Two people should work at the concession. The other person should stand at the lower auditorium door to make sure no one takes any drinks into the theatre. When the bell sounds usher the patrons back into the theatre. Check washrooms, outside the theatre and in the green room to make sure everyone is in the house. Close upper door, then stage front door and notify the stage manager or ASM the house is in.
As soon as the second act starts begin closing down duties.
- Count the float and put aside for the next night leaving as much change and small bills as possible. Count the profit for the night including any monies donated for the coat check. Put the profit in an envelope with the date and the amount on the front. Seal the envelope and place it in the cash box in the fridge.
- Clean up any cans and juice boxes and place them in flats and store in the downstairs bar. Restock fridge with drinks from downstairs bar.
- Put away cream and sugar in the fridge. Lock fridge. Clean up coffee pots and unplug coffee maker.
At the End of the Performance
Open the auditorium door when the light comes on full at the lower door and signal to usher at the top door to do the same. Have coat check person in place to return coats, if necessary. Collect all hearing assistance headsets and return patron’s keys. Ensure that the headsets are turned off before putting them away.
Theatre Incident Report
If a patron sustains an injury while in the theatre an incident report form must be filled out. Copies of the form can be found at the back of the procedure booklet. Advise the House Manager.
Theatre Clean Up
When the audience has left turn up all seats, retrieve all discarded programs and pick up any garbage. Programs can be recycled if still in good condition. Close the front doors and make sure the one door (coat check side) is locked by inserting the Allen key into the bar and release. The stage manager will lock the other door when leaving. Return the fridge keys to the stage manager after locking both fridges. Turn off the washroom lights. Notify the stage manager that you are leaving. The stage manager will lock up the theatre.
Notify House or Bar Manager of any shortages before the next performance.
Revised September 17, 2007