Stewarding for a Covid friendly performance
The Booking tent
If you have been to see us before you will know that our beautiful Booking tent is normally embedded in the fabric fence that surrounds the site so the public have to go through it to get in. For 2021, however, it will be standing quite separately from the ‘arena’.
The public will have to queue and go into the Booking tent first – one group at a time – to be booked in and then go to a separate Entrance gate in the fence where the booking tent usually is to enter the arena. To get out again they will have to leave by a separate Exit gate.
All this is to avoid the usual pinch point in the booking tent with everyone coming and going, which would force everyone to be too close to each other.
Your roles as stewards
These jobs are very straightforward. You just need to be polite, friendly and calm. We are only obliged to ‘strongly encourage’ them (Government wording in their guidelines) to social distance and wear masks. Never allow yourself to get in a conflict situation or feel emotionally vulnerable. Just let them go. There will be spare masks that you can offer people.
Steward 1 – Organising the queues into the booking tent
- People with tickets need to be guided to one queue and those hoping to pay on the door to the other. There will be signs marking which is which. You can explain to them that they will need a cheque or the exact money to pay.
- Let them in one group at a time (if the Ticket steward is ready) into the Booking tent where they need to hand in their ticket or pay if they haven’t got one. You could ask them to have their ticket ready.
- Paying in advance & the ‘backstop’ – It will be explained in our marketing that they need to pay in advance online or with a cheque at the local box office. However, there will be a backstop arrangement for people who haven’t seen this. We don’t want to turn people away.
- Explain that if they haven’t got a ticket they can queue but won’t be let in until most people with tickets are in and there’s room. This is likely to be about ten minutes before ‘curtain up’ (usually about 7.20) unless pre-sales are very low. Check with the Ticket steward when this can be done.
Dogs and high backed chairs
- Quiet dogs are allowed in but remind the owners that they must take them out if they constantly bark.
- If chairs look extremely high backed explain to customers that they are not permitted because they seriously hinder the view of people behind. There will be a few chairs for them to borrow in the Booking tent. This is clearly indicated in our marketing so they cannot object. Offer them a spare chair (if there are any left).
- During the interval take it in turn with other stewards to sell merchandise from the Booking tent.
And if you want to be really helpful!
- Help the Ticket steward set up at the beginning of the evening & put away at the end.
Steward 2 – Entrance gate steward
- It involves controlling the Entrance gate into the arena & checking hand stamps.
- If anyone tries to come out this way then politely direct them instead to the Exit gate. Obviously we don’t want to be ‘little Hitlers’. If there’s nobody coming the other way the sky isn’t going to fall if you do let them out! We do need to keep people safe, but we want it to be a good experience for everyone – not a parade ground.
- Note that you don’t have to see them to their seating area. The House Manager will come and collect them. Just stop them going in until he/she comes for them.
- You or someone else if you want to share the job needs to be present or very close by throughout the show including the interval, so put your seats close by
- At the interval take it in turns with the other stewards to sell merchandise from the Booking tent.
Steward 3 – controlling the Exit gate
What is involved
- This is probably the easiest job. Post yourself and your chair near the Exit gate. Make it clear to the public that it is a way out only & direct people round to the Entrance gate. But see the note above for Steward 2 (above) about ‘little Hitlers’.
- At the end of the show, however, both gates will be used for exiting to clear the site as quickly as possible
- At the interval take it in turn with the other stewards to sell merchandise from the Booking tent.
At the end of the show
- Stand by the gate & thank people for coming as they leave.
That’s it folks!
I can’t say how grateful I am to you for doing it.
If you have any questions email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you so much!
Pete Talbot, Director, The Rude Mechanical Theatre Co
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