The Ticket steward role
- This is such an important job and can be complicated if you haven’t done it before, but you are not alone. There will be a House manager around who will say hello, give you the BBB (See below) and assist you if you are unsure. There will also be a member of the acting team, the Actor FOH Manager who has responsibility for front of house and he/she will say hello and answer your questions, or you can just go backstage and ask them any questions (but only before the House is open. They’ll be changing into costume later).
- Assistance – Steward 1 will help you whenever he or she has time because there’s a lot to do.
- The Booking tent – First of all if you have done this before you might be surprised to discover that the Booking tent will be standing on its own in 2021 not embedded in the arena fence as it normally is. This is to avoid it being a pinch point with loads of people coming & going.
- Things you have to do – You will be based in the Booking tent checking, collecting and selling tickets, programmes & merchandise , stamping hands and directing people to the separate Entrance gate to the arena. This job is the normal job that front of house teams do & is a little bit complicated, mainly because of the range of ticket types we sell.
- Lots of people love the responsibility of it and it’s probably best suited to people who have done it before, but we were going to need new people anyway to do it, even before the virus struck. It’s genuinely fun if you are that type of person.
The Big Black Box (‘BBB’)
- Almost everything you need is in the BBB: a cash box, record sheets, passes, pens, gloves & a Colt Paterson revolver if customers get too stroppy.
- Gloves – Wear gloves. There will be surgical type gloves in the BBB. Avoid touching cash or cheques at all if possible. Just tell them to put it directly into the cash box.
- The record sheets (See below) – will be in a green zip up bag inside the BBB with the name of the venue on the front
- When you arrive – get it from the Actor FOH Manager, who will be backstage (Wear a mask), or the House Manager will give it to you. Keep it with you all evening or leave it with a trusted friend if you need to go to the loo (the BBB that is, not the revolver).
- No float – There will be no float. People will be strongly encouraged to buy tickets & programmes in advance. However, some people do not like the internet and/or Paypal so we must provide a simple backstop arrangement.
- Ticket & programme sales backstop arrangement – People will be able to buy on the night once most people are in but will need to use either a cheque or the exact money. Cards are not permitted. The machines are usually too slow in rural areas to be practical.
- No change will be given. This is to minimise hand contamination.
- At the end of the evening – put everything back in the BBB and take it back to the Actor FOH Manager or give it to the House Manager. See final paragraph below for details.
Here are the ticket prices for 2021:
- Adults (Aged 18 – 64) – £19.00 Note it’s cheaper to come in groups!
- Seniors (Aged 65+ & retired) – £18.00 Note it’s cheaper to come small groups!
- Small groups (a group of any four or more adults or seniors in a Covid bubble, booking, arriving & sitting together) – £17.00 a head! This is a special Covid deal to encourage people to come in groups which will save space not used because of social distancing arrangements. The smaller the group the greater the wasted space.
- Students (17+ & in full time education) – £13.00
- Children (Aged 7 to 16) – £10
- Families (any two adults or seniors + two children in a Covid bubble) – £45 (ie one child comes free)
The record sheets & what to do with them
Have a really good look at these before you start! They will be in a green zip up bag in the BBB. You will have a group of sheets stapled together:
- A PINK PAGE for ‘On the Night Sales & reservations’ (ie people buying tickets that night or people paying for reserved tickets). Fill in the name of the person or just the leader if there is more than one. If you can get their email address as well then try. There’s a column for each.
- Don’t touch cheques or cash – Ask them to put cheques and/or cash directly into the cash box. You don’t have to issue them with a ticket as long as you have their name. The prices are at the top of the column. There may be some names there with a red R in in the left hand column. They have reserved and need to pay. Everyone on this page needs to pay!
- A BLUE PAGE for ‘Online Box Office Tickets’ (ie a list of people who have booked & paid online). There will be a list of names. They have all paid! Just tick them off from the list. NOTE: This year to avoid hand contamination DON’T take their tickets. If their ticket is on their phone that’s fine.
- A GREEN PAGE for ‘Central Box Office paper tickets’ (ie people who have booked & paid directly into our bank account). There will again be a list of names. The only difference from blue is that they booked by contacting the Central box office ie. not online. Tick them off from the list. They have all paid already.
- A WHITE PAGE for summarising key information that needs to be filled in at the end of the evening. All you need to fill in is merchandise & programme sales. We’ll fill in the rest.
Local box office tickets
- Some people may have booked and paid at a local box office and will have a small ticket.
- Collect these. Ask the customer to put them in the bag provided – & put that in the BBB, stamp the customers’ hands and let them in.
- No need to record anything.
- Money from local box office sales needs to be collected by the local organiser from the shop, post office, etc. and given with the ticket stubs to the Actor FOH Manager. It can also go in the BBB but kept separate.
- People will be encouraged to buy them in advance. This will be recorded on the Programme sales sheet on a clipboard in the programme box. Just ask people to take as many as they’ve paid for directly from the box. Avoid handing them to them.
- If they haven’t paid for them they can still buy them but must use the exact money & put it into the cash box themselves. Don’t give change. Add new sales to the list with a simple line & dot such as – l.l.l.l.l. etc.
Merchandise – NOTE – Only available once Covid measures allow
- When you arrive you will find two Really Useful boxes in the Booking tent with ‘Merchandise’ written on: one ‘FOR DISPLAY’ & one ‘FOR SALE’.
- They will only be there if Covid measures allow us to sell it.
- Hang up from the display box a few t-shirts & bags on hangers & put the rest for display on the table. Sell from the ‘FOR SALE’ box, but you can use display items if we need to ie because we’ve run out otherwise.
- People will usually ask if they want to buy something.
- Take the money & put it in the cash box. If Covid measures allow this to happen at all then you will be able to give change from the cash box.
- Record the sales on the back white page of the record sheets
- Interval sales – See below!
- If you have done ticket stewarding before, then this is new!
- Stamp the hand of everyone in the group before you let them in. Stamping the hand so people have proof that they have paid when moving around the site is new to us, but is very common at outdoor events and festivals like Glastonbury.
- If people have an aversion to it, then there will be passes available as well, but don’t give them the option until they start getting worried about it! There’s a limited number of passes. Ask people to hand the passes in at the end of the evening.
Entrance and Exit gates
- Point out the Entrance gate where they have to go and mention that people need to go out via the Exit gate, except at the end of the show when they will be let out through both gates.
During the show
- Cover merchandise up with the sheet provided, fasten up both doors of the tent and take the BBB with you to your seat.
The interval – Merchandise & programme sales
- At the interval you will need to be available to sell merchandise along with one of the other stewards. You can take it in turn so you get a break.
At the end of the show
- Open the Booking tent again, fill in the back page of the record sheets and be available to sell merchandise.
Finally at the end of hopefully a brilliant evening
- Merchandise – Put the merchandise back into the Really Useful boxes & leave in the Booking tent
- Programmes – Make sure the sales sheet adds up, put it back in the box & put the lid back on.
- Cash – Using gloves put the cash box back into the BBB
- The record sheets – Put the record sheets into the green zip up bag
- Tickets – Put the local box office tickets in their bag, put that in the green zip up bag & put that in the BBB
- Bibs & bell – Ask the other stewards to give you their bibs & put them in the Really Useful box with the bell
- Other stuff – Put the hand stamps, the pens, the sheet to cover the merchandise in the BBB
- Finally – Hand the BBB either to the Actor FOH Manager or House Manager
And thank you VERY much!!
If you have any questions email me, Pete Talbot, on email@example.com
Pete Talbot, Artistic Director, The Rude Mechanical Theatre Co
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