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We have to have an usher sitting in every performance, on every level of the auditorium.
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In London you are entitled to student Equity membership whilst you're training and a subsequent two years' membership whilst you look for work. Graduating from a conservatoire entitles you to full membership on graduation.
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I'm a second year musical theatre student and also work FoH in a West End theatre. My first issue is all the jukebox musicals. I get that they have a place in contemporary theatre with a target audience that they effectively reach. It pains me though to see shows such as Avenue Q (which was selling well!) close and Dirty Dancing and Dreamboats and Petticoats stay open. With the reality tv show culture building up around theatre in London there is a new group of audiences that I have no doubt would continue to visit the theatre were these "stock" shows closed. Second issue, as an usher at one of these jukebox shows, is the sheer stupidity of the general public! Why show up to the theatre drunk and loud only to be thrown out? That's a decent amount of money wasted and not only have they ruined the show for themselves but everyone around them. Third, creepy fans. I will happily admit to being a fangirl of certain shows when I was about 16, but I always treated the performers with respect and knew when to keep my distance; the hyperness came when I was home with my friends. I've grown out of that phase and now maintain a healthy enthusiasm for all things theatre. It scares me that there are grown adults effectively stalking performers. Finally something positive... New York has always been a hub for new writing and it is so refreshing to now see so much new work appearing in London. The only problem is lack of advertising! If someone were willing to sponsor the distribution of posters or flyers, a new audience could be reached. Tickets are not expensive and the performances are always top notch. They often have even cheaper public dress rehearsals as well! I could easily have an endless rant about working FoH, but I think that's going a bit off-topic!
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Jan 17, 2011