Recently I was on the musical theatre society page on facebook and I came across a post that contained a poem about theatre etiquette. Clicking on it I was ready to read about the frustrations this person had had at the theatre or what they thought was the right thing to do when watching a show. Upon reading this I found myself getting mad and this is why.
I am a theatre usher. For Six days a week and 8 shows a week I help the general public who are attending my theatre. I guide them to there seats, I tell them where the bathrooms are, I rip there tickets stubs so they can enter the theatre, I acquire booster seats for those who cannot see the stage as well as they would like, I make sure patrons have plastic cups not glass cups, I politely remind people that photography of the stage is not allowed and neither is snap chatting, I sell programmes and I ask people to not put there drinks on the ledge and again remind them that photography of the stage is not allowed. I contact box office to switch people’s seats if they are un happy with them and then I try my best to get the girl in the middle of the rows attention beause she is TAKING PHOTOS OF THE STAGE AND SNAP CHATTING!!!
That is my job and although not every usher in the whole of theatre land does this or tries to do this during there shift a lot of us do.
The poem in question was bashing ushers for not doing enough during the show when people were getting there phones out and talking loudly etc and said they had to ask them themselves. Now I’m not sure what theatre they were at nor do I know where they were siting but I can tell you this.
There are numerous factors that go into an usher dealing with these annoying situations.
Is the person easy to get to? If there in the middle of a row I’m sorry but there is nothing I can do unless you want me to climb over 15 people to get to them and disturb the entire dress circle whilst I’m at it. I’ll also probably stand on some one fall on some one and completely ruin there evening.
Ushers do have eyes and we see a lot of things, we also have radios and for all you know we have reported the situation and we are waiting for the interval to address it properly.
We have torches and yes we could flash our tourch in the culprits face but again that will disturb a good third of the audience And make us look like loonatics flashing our tourches and waving and making hand signals that they probably won’t understand.
If there are people talking we do try to ask them to stop but depending on the people and the situation this can cause more harm than good. I cannot tell you how many times I have witnessed and heard of people getting rude and shouting at the usher and causing a scene during he show. Trust me it is not worth taking the risk.
Sometime it’s better for another audience member to diffuse the situation rather than an usher.
We do our best to remind people of the rules of the theatre but unfortunately a lot of the time we are ignored and now there are things like snap chat it’s a lot harder to keep people from ruining the show. I don’t know when it became okay to film performances or take photos during the show or when it was okay to talk the whole way throughout either.
Any way the point is is that it is frustrating and annoying and tedious. Alot of people don’t follow the rules that are put in place at a theatre and a lot of people do not concidering other audience members or the performers when they check there phones and take photos and talk loudly and Russel there sweets through the entire performance and this is not the ushers fault.