FOH Staff at the Shaftesbury
Foyer merchandise stall
Could you tell us a bit about your job at the Shaftesbury Theatre? What does a House Manager do, both during a performance and during the rest of the day?
During a performance it is my job to ensure the smooth running of the entire front of house operation with a lot of help from my staff and other departments. This starts with staff briefing notes for the front of house and security staff from information provided to me by our lovely Box Office staff. This way we know who is coming into our house and who may need our assistance be it someone with access needs, perhaps a school party or someone with a hospitality booking as we want to ensure that all of our customers feel cared for and have the best possible experience when at our venue.
It is my job to make sure that any issues or disputes that might arise on the night are dealt with in a timely manner. This can be anything from a ticketing issue to a first aid situation or licensing problem. No two shows are ever the same hence the appeal of the job. The shows tend to fly by as l am kept busy with admin, banking or touching base with my staff.
The day times at the theatre are quite different and my role is much more admin based. I have the largest number of staff in the theatre so my days are spent picking up issues with housekeeping or maintenance that they will have flagged the day before as well as administrating the needs of my department and ensuring that the other members of my management team are looking after our suppliers and accounts.
Your job involves a lot of interacting with our audiences. Do you have any interesting or funny stories about your experiences with audience members?
There have been a lot of genuinely heartfelt and pretty bonkers moments shared with members of our audience over the years – from the groups of goths who came to watch Batboy and kept telling me this was the first venue where they had felt accepted and not judged for how they looked, to the elderly gentleman who used to come and see all of our shows after his wife passed away, who would then send me a cartoon which he would have drawn of me as a super hero as a thank you for the shared evening and a little bit of human interaction, to the drunken customer who put a gypsy curse on one of my colleagues only to have her husband come back to remove it.