Guidance for House Managers
What’s involved in being the House Manager?
Why do we need one? – As we perform in so many venues right across the South of England it is impossible to take a House Manager with us. A small scale touring company like ours just can’t afford to pay someone to do it. Besides we have some fantastic supporters who like to help their communities and have great theatre come to their villages.
You will be in charge front of house, that is ‘audience side’ but you aren’t on your own. The Tour Manager for the company will be on site. When you arrive go back stage and find a member of the team, they will introduce you to the Tour Manger. Your main job will be arranging where people sit in the arena. This will involve suggesting where they can place their chairs and keeping them packed tightly together. Ensuring people don't spread out too much and asking people to pack away tables and picnics at the correct time. Seating, or a place to put chairs, isn't numbered or allocated and is on a first come first served basis. If people arrive before the arena opens at 6.00pm they will have to cue outside. As House Manger you are welcome to save your spot before the arena opens, this also applies to stewards. There will also be three or four other stewards with the following roles:
This job involves checking the bookings and getting the paperwork right. You don’t need to know all that yourself unless you want to.
Click here for Ticket Steward guidance:
Site Stewards help guide people around the site, suggest where they place their chairs, maximise our arena capacity by keeping the audience close together and sell programmes (lots of them hopefully!). During the Covid pandemic site stewards were also responsible for maintaining social distancing in line with Government protocols; this is not a current requirement but is always subject to change. There will be two or three Site Stewards on the night.
Click here for Site Steward guidance:
what do you get?
A free ticket to the show and the chance to get your chairs for you and your group near the front!
The routine on the night
1. You need to get there at 5.15, that is 45 minutes before the public are let in, but some venues start earlier. Check our marketing for times or with the local organiser (who might be you!)
2. Check in backstage with the Tour Manger who will give you the ‘Big Black Box’ (ticket box) and paperwork. You'll need to give this to your Ticketing Steward.
3. Check with the Tour Manger when you can open the House to let the audience into the arena, when the show is about to begin, when the second half is about to begin and when you are ready to leave at the end of the evening.
4. Please make sure the Ticket Box is kept safe during the performance (either keep it with you or give it to the Tour Manager to be locked away).
5. Check the entrance to the arena is closed (Box Office Tent) until it is time to let the audience in.
6. Meet with your team give them their ‘bibs’ and tell them what to do.
when the public arrive
1. Seat them in groups from the front to the back, from the middle outwards and each side of the aisle in the order they come. It could be left or right first; give them a choice.
2. If people want to sit at the front they’ll need to come early and be at the front of the queue. If people want to leave their chairs in place and come back later that's fine once the house is open but not before.
3. You are in charge! And will need confidence, calm and an air of authority – ‘an obvious presence’ in the arena.
4. The Ticket Steward can stay in the Box Office tent and deal with tickets. Any additional stewards can either help with seating audience members or selling programmes.
5. People sometimes want to sit on the floor. This is allowed, however, we don't reserve any space near the front for people to do this. Therefore, if they do want to sit on the floor they will need to arrive early.
Tables and picnic blankets
Small tables and picnic blankets are allowed in the arena until 7.00pm. After that they must be packed away. These take up lots of space and can make it difficult to seat people during the last half an hour. This rule is in the T&C's when they buy their tickets. People are free to continue eating or drinking from their laps after 7.00pm.
High backed chairs
Some people bring chairs that have very high backs making it impossible for the people behind to see. They are not allowed! This is also in the T & C's. If they don't have an alternative we may have some spares, ask the Tour Manager. If we don't have any spares then they can be moved to a different spot where they will not be blocking anyone's view.
Once the show has started please feel free to take your seats in the audience and enjoy the show. Please make sure the Ticket Box is safe and that anything of value in the Box Office tent is out of site as it will be unattended.
The first half is usually about and hour and ten minutes but this can vary year to year. When the first half comes to an end we may ask you to announce that there will be an interval of twenty minutes although this isn't always needed. During the interval please keep the tour manager up to date on progress with queues for the toilets - sometimes we'll extend the interval if needed. Three minutes before the second half starts please ring the bell to indicate the second half is about to start.
end of the show
At the end of the show please can you turn on the flood lights by the Box Office tent. The Tour Manger will show you how before the show starts. Make sure the Ticket Box has been handed over to the Tour Manger and put away any merchandise and programmes.
It might be worth having a look through our audience information section and our Terms & Conditions section so you are clued up if anyone asks any questions! Click on the links below.
If you have any questions then please feel free to ask any member of the team on the night. Alternatively you can email us at email@example.com.
Thank you so much we really appreciate your help!