Why volunteer at the Newport Opera House?

When you volunteer to usher at the Newport Opera House you become involved in one of the most vital organizations in the community.  You have the opportunity to see a wide variety of programs and meet interesting people.  As a volunteer you are a behind-the-scenes participant in plays, musicals, concerts, dances, variety shows and other entertainments produced in the historic Newport Opera House.  Once you usher, you may find that you want to become more involved and work on one of the theatrical productions either on stage or behind the scenes.

In order to usher you need to fill out one of the Volunteer Information Forms.  They can be downloaded from the Opera House website or picked up in the Opera House office.  Once the form is in our files you will be put in the mix for upcoming events.

You will be called by the Volunteer Coordinator when ushers are needed for a specific event.  If you accept a position please show up as you are being counted on.  Should a problem arise and you are unable to attend please contact the Coordinator as soon as you know there is a problem.

We do not have an usher uniform, however we do like all of our ushers to dress in black and white.  For the guys this could be a white shirt and black slacks. For the women it could be a white blouse with blacks slacks or a black skirt.  We want you to look good as you are representing the organization, but we also want you to be comfortable.

Once you arrive you will be given a volunteer name badge.  We like for all of our ushers to have a name, as they are there to assist our patrons.  We are all in the same community. At the end of the evening return the name badge to the collection area at the rear of the main floor.

All ushers should arrive at the Opera House at least one hour before the event.  (In the case of a play the show starts at 8:00 and the doors to the auditorium open at 7:30.)  The Volunteer Coordinator will go through the game plan for the evening at the rear of the main hall.  At this time assignments will be made and everyone will become familiar with the floor plan and any specific instructions necessary for the event.  It is best to enter the Opera House through the ramp at the rear of the building.  The front door is often not unlocked until an hour before the show.

The doors to the auditorium will open thirty minutes before the show.  All doors are to remain closed until that time.  The “open the house” call will be made by the Executive Director.  The house remains closed for the cast and crew to pre-set props, costumes and warm up vocally.  Once the “all clear” call is given the doors are opened and the patrons start to enter.

If you are assigned to tear tickets at the door you should remember the following:

Check the ticket to be sure they have entered the right part of the theatre.

(If the ticket says balcony, are they in the balcony?)

You can tell if it is the right night by the color of the ticket.

(On Friday the tickets might be blue and on Saturday they might be red.)

Tear the ticket, keep the small end, and give the large end to the usher for the    patron to keep.

The usher will use the information on the ticket to take the patron to their seat. Give the ticket stub to the patron to keep.

This process is repeated until all of the theatergoers are seated.

If there is a ticket mix-up send the ticket holder to the box office or find the Executive Director.

Once the house lights dim and the Executive Director takes the stage for his opening remarks it is time to close the doors.

Remain by the door in case there are latecomers.  Once the show starts no one should be ushered to his or her seats.  Have an usher take them to a seat at the rear of the auditorium and instruct them to wait for a scene break or intermission to find their assigned seat.

If there are tickets that have not been picked up the box office may choose to leave them with the person at the door.  Look out for late arrivals that do not have tickets.

All collected tickets should be left in the basket in the rear of the hall.

Enjoy the show.  If there is an empty seat feel free to take it.

Thank you for taking part in the Newport Opera House Association event.

If you are assigned to usher patrons to their seats remember the following:

Be stationed by the doors and ready for the ticket taker to hand you the ticket stub.

If you see cell phones or cameras please remind the patrons to turn on phones and pagers and that cameras and recording devices are not allowed in the theatre.

Examine the ticket stub and determine where the patron is to be seated.

Take the patron to the seat.  Be aware of traffic patterns that may be caused by someone having to cross over people who are already seated.

Remember that the rows are numbered on the ends and the seat numbers are located on the back of the seats.

Once the patron is secure in where they are to sit you should return to the door location and be ready for your next assignment.

If anyone has a problem seeing or feels that their seat is wrong you should contact the box office or the Executive Director.  It is our job to make everyone comfortable and happy.  As they say in business, “the customer is always right.”

Be ready to answer questions like “Where is the bathroom?” or “How long is the show?”

If someone is in a wheelchair you may need to adjust seats.  These patrons are usually placed near the ramp entrance and someone at that door is aware of the situation.

Once people are seated and the show has started try to find an empty seat near the back and enjoy the show.  Someone will have to remain on command till the latecomers are seated.

At the end of the evening you will be asked to help collect cushions and pack them in the containers at the rear of the auditorium.

As you collect cushions you should also look for programs that can be used again.  Place them in a pile at the back of the auditorium.  Believe it or not, each program costs us about $1.00 for a play and $1.75 for a musical.

Turn in your name badge before you leave the Opera House.

Anyone interested in volunteering for Opera House events should call the office of the NOHA at (603) 863-2412.  A full list of upcoming events is listed on the Calendar page of the Upcoming section of the website.