It costs nothing but time to become a volunteer usher at Berkeley Rep! Ushering is a fun and easy way to get more involved with arts and culture in the Bay Area and to see Tony Award-winning theatre for free!
Berkeley Rep is proud to have a wonderful community of volunteers that works with us regularly each season. Our ushers come from all over the greater Bay Area and are a valued and important part of Berkeley Rep’s staff. In return for their services, ushers are seated just before the curtain rises to enjoy the performance. On rare occasions, a performance is sold out and no seats are available. In those cases, the Roda Theatre has a standing room section and Thrust ushers will be asked to watch the first act from the lobby or green room. They may be seated in the Thrust after intermission as available. Every effort is made to maintain a roster of 15 ushers per performance.
All of Berkeley Rep’s ushers are volunteers. They are trained and supervised by a house manager. Familiarity with, and access to, a computer and email is required.
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If you are a current usher and wish to view the Season 2012/13 usher series chart, log in to the Berkeley Rep Yahoo group site. If you have questions or concerns, please contact the house manager by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Complimentary theatre seating when pre-show ushering shift is complete (standing room, lobby or green room in the extreme case of a sold out performance)
20% discount at Berkeley Rep Theatre Store
50% discount at Berkeley Rep concessions bar
Invitations to special events, parties, orientations and presentations
Berkeley Rep’s volunteer ushers are the most visible part of the front-of-house staff and are responsible for the welcoming, guidance, safety and comfort of all patrons. You will be personally contributing to Berkeley Rep’s reputation for professionalism and quality by assuring that our patrons feel welcome. A positive attitude is essential, and a dress code is enforced (see below).
The house manager will provide a brief orientation before each performance, answer any questions and assign usher posts for the event. He or she will be available to answer questions throughout the event. Don’t feel that you have to answer every question a patron asks, or solve every problem. Ushers are occasionally asked to stuff programs before the doors open to patrons. Familiarity with seating is essential for most positions. Individual training will be provided as needed. Matinee and evening series are available during the regular theatre season, with varying call times and early curtains on Wednesday and Sunday evenings. A call time is the time that you are expected to arrive at the Theatre to sign in, while curtain time marks the time the performance begins. Promptness is essential.
Are you a new volunteer interested in becoming an usher for the 2012/13 Season at Berkeley Rep? Contact the house manager at email@example.com (please put “NEW USHER” in the subject line) and if the program is open we will email you the dates for our usher training sessions. All aspiring volunteer ushers must attend an usher training session before they can be scheduled as an usher. Your questions about Berkeley Rep’s usher program will be answered at that time. The volunteer usher guidebook includes a link to the Yahoo group. Please return your signed usher agreement letter at orientation; that’s how we’ll take attendance.
Almost all communication between the house managers, volunteer coordinator and other ushers is handled via email. Access to a computer and email are essential if you are a newcomer to our program.
Training is held at Berkeley Rep, located at 2025 Addison Street in downtown Berkeley, in either the Roda Theatre or on the Thrust Stage (directions)
Q: Can I work as an usher before I attend a training session?
A: NO! NEW USHERS WILL NOT BE SCHEDULED TO WORK WITHOUT FIRST RECEIVING THIS TRAINING. The training is mandatory for all ushers.
Q: Do you have a dress code?
A: Yes. Read our dress code requirements below.
Q: Is parking provided for ushers?
A: No. Berkeley Repertory Theatre is located in busy downtown Berkeley—there are parking facilities (including validated parking at Allston Way Garage), metered parking and one-hour zones in the area, but there are no special parking areas for our volunteers or staff. You should allow ample time to find parking before you arrive at the Theatre. If you arrive late to the training session, you will not be permitted to participate and will have to attend a later training session. If you arrive late to a scheduled ushering shift, you may not be permitted to work and it will constitute a no-show. Two no-shows bar you from ushering at Berkeley Rep for a season.
Q: Can I get my schedule at the training session? Should I bring my datebook and calendar for scheduling?
A: No. You will be notified individually by email regarding your new schedule well in advance of the new season.
Q: Do I need to attend the orientation session in ushering attire?
A: No. Dress comfortably and any way you wish.
Q: What is the usher guidebook and what do I do with it?
A: This guidebook, which is updated each season, is an essential reference for you. In order to begin your work as an usher, you are required to read it thoroughly and sign a document indicating that you agree to the conditions set forth by the Theatre. When you sign up to be an usher, you are committing to an entire season; very often, details are forgotten after a couple of months. You will find it desirable to refer to this guidebook from time to time to refresh your memory.
Q: After the curtain goes up, is my job for the night done?
A: No. All ushers have jobs before the show, at intermission and after the show is over. If you need to leave early, you must get the house manager’s approval.
The purpose of having a dress code is to ensure that our usher staff is both professionally and distinctively dressed. It is important to be easily identifiable as representing the Theatre. The dress code is solid black dress slacks or a solid black dress skirt, and a solid white blouse or shirt with sleeves. Please keep accessories such as scarves and large jewelry to a minimum. On cold days, a professional plain black or white jacket or sweater may be worn. Ties are optional, and must be appropriate for work. All ushers are expected to wear plain black dress shoes. No sneakers, flip-flops, sandals or boots allowed! Shoes must cover and protect your toes. Wear shoes that you can stand in for four hours and do a lot of walking up and down the aisles. All clothing must be clean and ironed. Mini-skirts, t-shirts and jeans are not appropriate work attire, even if they are the right color. If you’re not in proper dress, you will not be permitted to usher—and will be noted as a no-show on your record.
Thank you for your interest in assisting Berkeley Repertory Theatre as an usher. We look forward to meeting you!
Email the house manager at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information! Thank you!