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You Can Be an Usher!

Posted on November 29, 2018 by QCT

Did you know each performance requires 20 front of house volunteers—of which over half are Ushers?

Keep reading to learn why Ushers are vital to the success of our shows and how you can be an Usher too!

We want our patrons to have a wonderful experience from the moment they come in the doors. As an Usher, you can make a difference!

As QCT ambassadors, Ushers must be professional, attentive, and communicate effectively. Each Usher ensures our patrons’ experience is one that will bring them back again and again. Ushers are the calm welcome once our guests enter the theatre. Under the direction of a Head Usher, patrons are directed towards the appropriate Usher. Each Usher manages a specific section to help patrons locate their seats as smoothly as possible.

 

Usher 1

How many Ushers are needed for each show?

For General Admission shows—student matinees, sponsor preview nights, etc., four Ushers are needed as there are no assigned seats.

For all other shows, 10 Ushers are needed; five Ushers assist guests with seating on the north side and five Ushers assist with seating on the south side. A Head Usher is assigned to each side.

Can I still be an Usher if stairs are an issue for me?

Yes! Please let us know if you are unable to walk up and down stairs during the 30-minute Usher shift. If so, we will assign you to the Orchestra section with limited stairs.

Other volunteer opportunities require no stairs such as Scanning Tickets, Greeting, and Season Ticket Sales.

What should I wear?  

We want our guests to know their community theatre experience will be of the highest quality possible. To set the tone, we suggest our Ushers wear “business casual” or “going out” attire. Feel free to wear your favorite holiday outfit for Elf: The Musical! 

What time should I arrive? 

Arrive 45 minutes before curtain time. If the show is at 7:30 pm, be here at 6:45 pm. If the show is at 2:00 pm, be here at 1:15 pm. 

Exterior Theatre Shot (South Door)

Where do I go and what do I do when I arrive? 

  1. Arrive at the Box Office inside the Oakley-Lindsay Center lobby and report to the House Manager. You will then gather in the Board Room with other volunteers until shifts begin. This is a great opportunity to introduce yourself to other volunteers and ask questions! Our shows are a fun mix of new and experienced volunteers.  
  2. Please sign the volunteer log in the Board Room. All volunteer hours are recorded for your punch card. 10 volunteer punches equal a free show ticket. Punches may also be used toward QCT classes or donated to a specific or random student. The choice is yours for how to apply your punches! More details on punch cards are found below.
  3. You will have an Usher button. This button helps identify Ushers to our patrons. The House Manager will assign you to a specific section in the theatre. 
  4. Personal belongings may be stored in the Board Room. The theatre is not responsible for lost or stolen articles; therefore, please leave valuables at home.  
  5. If you arrive early, there may be tasks you could assist with such as stuffing inserts into programs. 
  6. Attend the Usher meeting approximately ten minutes before the house opens. The House Manager leads this meeting. 
  7. Be ready in your assigned section when the house opens. 

What does “house” mean? 

The “house” is the word given to the theatre. “House open” is when the doors to the theatre open. All Ushers will be in their assigned section by the time the house opens, which is 30 minutes before curtain time. The House Manager is the Ushers’ go-to person. The House Manager will welcome the Ushers and give instructions for that particular performance. If any issues are encountered while seating guests, find a Head Usher. If needed, the Head Ushers will refer to the House Manager for further resolution.   

What does “curtain time” mean? 

“Curtain” is the time the show begins. For QCT, the curtain time for evening shows is 7:30 pm and matinee curtain time is 2:00 pm.  

 Doris Usher 1

What do I do as an Usher? 

  1. Say “hello” and escort patrons to their seats.
  2. Distribute programs—one per single patron and one per couple; programs are not distributed to children unless requested.
  3. Offer assistance to anyone asking for help.
  4. Refer any seating disputes to a Head Usher or House Manager. 
  5. One Usher for each side (north and south) will be assigned to open and close the theatre doors at the following times: curtain call (close), the start of intermission (open), end of intermission (close), and end of the show (open). If you are assigned this task, open/close the theatre doors when signaled. 
  6. Seat late-comers at the appropriate time (the Head Usher or House Manager will advise so as not to disrupt the show and other patrons). 

What should I do if there’s an accident or problem? 

If an accident occurs, or any problem cannot be resolved, please contact the Head Usher or House Manager immediately. Never argue with a patron; always be polite and refer the dispute to the proper person. 

What about mobility-impaired seating? 

Seating for mobility-impaired patrons is located on the main floor in the cross aisle between Rows H and I. You will be informed if seats have been sold in this section. Select theatre seats are able to be removed to accommodate wheelchairs. Head Ushers and the House Manager will assist in this. If a change of seating is necessary, contact a Head Usher or the House Manager.  

Are Ushers needed during or after a performance? 

Though not required, we need volunteers to:

  1. During intermission, stand near the theatre doors and kindly instruct guests to finish any beverages or snacks before re-entering the house.
  2. Thank our guests for coming and encourage recycling of the stagebills, if they don’t wish to keep theirs.
  3. Walk the seat rows once the house is empty to collect stagebills, lost items, tickets, and any trash. This helps get everyone home quicker and gets the theatre tidy for the next performance!

What do I do when I finish ushering? 

The House Manager will collect your button if you are staying to watch the performance; otherwise, you may return the button to the Board Room. Be sure to sign the volunteer log before you leave and collect any of your personal belongings.

What if I can’t usher for a specific performance anymore? 

Our Ushers are a vital component of each performance. If something has come up and you can no longer Usher for a performance, please let us know as soon as possible so a replacement can be found. Call the Box Office at 217-222-2309. If it is after hours, please leave a voice message. 

Are there any perks to volunteering? 

Yes! All volunteers have a punch card. If this is your first time volunteering, check in with the House Manager to receive your card. The card will be punched each time you volunteer.  

You may use your volunteer punches toward: 

  1. Shows! Every 10 punches earn a free ticket to the QCT production of your choice.  
  2. Classes! Punches may be applied toward QCT classes. The total punches required to pay for a class depends on the total number of hours for each class.  Most spring and fall classes require 4-20 punches, Basic Training – 30 punches, and our weeklong Triple Threat Boot Camp – 80 punches. You may also use a combination of punches and monetary payment for classes.
  3. Paying it forward! You can gift a ticket to a friend to encourage his/her involvement with QCT, or you can donate your punches to pay for a theatre class for someone who needs a little assistance. Punches may be applied to a specific student card or to a random student card per your preference.  

How many punches will I earn for ushering?

Ushering earns one punch on your volunteer card.

Other useful information…

Late Seating

Each ticket is only valid until the curtain time printed on the front of the ticket. Empty seats at that time may be resold. No refund will be issued for late arrivals.

It is the policy of Quincy Community Theatre to seat latecomers at an appropriate break in the performance if there are still available seats. This break will be predetermined by the director of the production and will be announced during the “Usher briefing” prior to the house opening. 

Restrooms

Restrooms are located in the main lobby and upstairs. 

Refreshments

When a production has an intermission, refreshments are available for purchase at the concession stand. The proceeds support a local charity. Please be aware that food and drinks should be consumed in the lobby. No food or drink is allowed in the theatre. 

Drinking Fountains

The drinking fountain is located on the main floor by the OLC Exhibition Halls. A drinking fountain is also located upstairs by the Chamber of Commerce office.  

Telephone

If a patron needs to place a call, have him/her talk to the House Manager, who will direct the person to the phone in the Box Office. 

Where do I learn more?

http://www.1qct.org/volunteer/

How do I sign up to volunteer?

http://bit.ly/HelpELF

Who should I contact with questions?

Email: tressa.johnston@gmail.com or call 217-222-3209 x 107

Thank you for your interest in volunteering!