Usher Program Training
Ushering at Paramount
Thank you for volunteering your time and energies to be a Paramount Theater usher! Not only is the usher a very visible job but it is an extremely important one. Ushers, as well as all staff members, are here to enhance our patrons’ theater experience. To that end, our approach to customer service is to treat our patrons with every possible courtesy.
During this training, you’ll:
- Watch a training video
- Learn the usher guidelines from the Usher Handbook
- Log onto the Usher Portal to update your qualifications
- Wait to be approved as an usher!
(As of 1/2018)
To start your training, please watch this 4-minute usher video.
Then, read through the tabs on this page to learn about specific usher rules and guidelines.
Box Office and Front of House Staff are the most important people in the theater’s operation as they are the first contact our patrons have with our theater. How the patron is treated from the moment he or she enters the theater will affect their attitude to the performance inside. A friendly greeting, a smile and “May I help you?” will go a long way to create a positive experience. It is important that ushers maintain a professional attitude at all times.
The scope of usher duties cannot be strictly defined. We are all here to do what needs to be done to operate the theater smoothly. Our job is to do everything possible to make the patrons feel welcome and to ease their access to the auditorium. This demands a respectful, open, and friendly demeanor. You as an usher may be the patrons’ only means of forming his or her impression of the Paramount and its staff. Always maintain a positive attitude about the Paramount, its programs, your position, and your fellow ushers. Never forget to treat patrons with respect and courtesy.
All Ushers must:
- At the Paramount, arrive 90 minutes before start of performance. For Copley shows, arrive 60 minutes prior to the start of the performance. For Movie Monday’s, arrive 60 minutes prior to the start of the movie.
- At the Paramount, Check in with the Head Usher and receive your position for the performance. They will check you in on sign-up sheet in coat room. Check in with the House Manager at a Copley show or a Movie Monday.
- Inform House Manager immediately if you need to leave early or require any duty exceptions.
- Before, during and after the performance, be alert for anything that might diminish the patrons’ Paramount experience (e.g. temperature, noise, cell phones, disruptive patrons etc.).
The Paramount depends on you and your commitment. If for any reason you cannot work at an assigned performance, it would be helpful if you could secure your own replacement. If you cannot find a replacement, or need to notify the Front of House Manager of any other usher matter, please call the Usher Hotline ASAP. If you are unavailable the day of your assigned show, please call the box office, and they will notify FOH Management.
Call until the day of your shift
Call on the the day of your shift
To remain an usher in good standing, you must follow these criteria:
- You must volunteer to usher for 16 BROADWAY SEASON performances in a calendar year. This ensures your invitation to the Holiday Party.
- You must sign up for at least 2 “off peak” shows. These include: Saturday Evening Broadway Shows, Children’s Shows, Movie Mondays, Dance Recitals, and Graduations.
- You must volunteer to usher for 25 performances before you are eligible to submit a complementary ticket request for 2 tickets to one of our Broadway Season Performances.
It is important that the ushers present a well dressed, neat and dignified image for the Paramount. Therefore the dress code will be strictly enforced.
- White dress shirt/blouse with long or ¾ length sleeves and collar – tucked in. A turtle neck is also acceptable. Tee shirts or any clothing worn under the shirt/blouse must be white.
- Black dress pants (or skirt). No shorts or Capri’s.
- Black socks. Nylons are also acceptable.
- Black dress shoes. No sandals or open-toed shoes.
- Paramount Usher vest – buttoned.
- No Jeans – blue or black. No Hats.
- Please have a working flashlight.
General Usher Rules
It is important that all ushers be familiar with the entire theater operation. While you may prefer a specific position, it may be necessary to cover for one another at times. Teamwork is essential for the success of the Paramount. Always remember that patrons come first so be alert for anyone that may need assistance. Personal conversations etc. do NOT take precedence over taking care of patrons.
- Usher minimum age is 16.
- For most shows the theater will open to patrons one hour prior to show time. You are to be at your assigned posts immediately following the usher meeting.
- Aisle doors will open approximately 30 minutes before the show. This is at the discretion of the performer/back stage management. Doors are NOT to be opened until House Manger has instructed you to do so by either the over head announcement or personal instruction.
- Be knowledgeable about your daily position. Be familiar with the seating in the entire auditorium.
- Take your assigned posts immediately after pre-show usher meeting. Be prepared to be flexible with assigned posts!
- If you are scheduled to work at a performance and are not needed, you may leave or stay for the performance if space permits. If you are not scheduled for a one-off show, you will be sent home.
- Ushers assigned to work should remain at the doors until at least 15 minutes after the scheduled show time to help seat latecomers. If a show starts at 7:00, 7:15 will be dismissal time. If we start the show ten mins late at 7:10, you’re dismissal time is 7:15, unless we are aware of VERY late comers.
- Ushers assigned to work at the ‘break’ should move to Aisle Doors at the start of the show to assist with seating of latecomers.
- Ushers are entitled to a free soft drink after the 15 minute late seating mark and the show has started as well as a discount on food (The same rules pertaining to food in the theater applies to ushers as well as patrons). The bartenders WILL NOT serve you before the 15 minute mark.
- Ushers are entitled to 15% discount on tickets. Some restrictions may apply.
- Usher seating for shows is at the back of the theater. We are to sit behind paying patrons. Note: There is no guarantee that there will be available seating for all ushers at every event.
- In the event of an emergency, ushers must be visible to patrons and be able to effectively facilitate the guidelines for our Emergency Evacuation Procedures.
- Do not walk through the theater once the show has started. Patrons are held in the back or even in the lobby until intermission or an appropriate break, so ushers should not be roaming the theater either. It is very distracting to patrons to have people walking around and to have the light from open doors shining into the darkened auditorium. This is a source of frequent complaints by patrons.
- Our job is not done once the performance begins. We should still cater to patrons who need assistance DURING the show. For example: Opening doors, assisting the elderly with canes and or walkers, helping late patrons even AFTER the 15 minute mark. Etc.
- At the end of the performance, open the aisle doors AFTER house lights have come up and take a position outside the doors and thank patrons for coming.
- After patrons have left the auditorium, cleanup may begin. Please procure clear bags and gloves from the coat room. Seats need to be left in the upright position to ensure over all cleanliness of the theatre. Bags are placed outside of the double doors on the top of Aisle 5.
- The consumption of alcoholic beverages while performing the duties of an Usher is absolutely prohibited.
Things to Know
Know the location of:
- Bathrooms (including Accessible facilities)
- Drinking fountain
- Coat check (hearing devices, booster seats, first-aid kit, lost and found, sign-in sheets)
- Open Bar Locations
- Manager’s office
- Will Call
- Emergency Exits
Miscellaneous information to know
Whatever your post, you may be asked a wide range of questions. Familiarize yourself as thoroughly as possible with the operation of the theater and all its aspects. Answer questions to the best of your ability or say you will find the answer and get back to the patron as soon as possible. “I don’t know” is not an acceptable answer.
- History of Paramount.
- Length of performance.
- Whether or not there is an intermission and if so, how long.
- Be aware of any events taking place in the lobby – raffles, give-aways, pre-show parties, etc.
- NO liquor is permitted outside of the Paramount or North Island Center buildings. It is unlawful to do so.
- 90 min. parking spots are free weekdays after 8:00p.m, Saturday after 2:00pm, and there are no restrictions on Sunday’s.
- Valet is available for most shows
- Parking Garages and Parking Lots are located within walking distance of the Paramount
- Know location of local restaurants. Please visit our website to familiarize yourself with options.
- Drinks are allowed in the seating area for most performances.
- Food is typically not allowed in seating area. The only exception is popcorn and candy during Movie Monday’s.
- Audio/video/photo policy is determined by the production or performer. This will be announced at the pre-show ushers’ meeting.
- ALL Broadway Season shows have a “NO PHOTO OR VIDEO OF THE STAGE” policy.
- Start of Show warnings – five and two minutes prior to show time the lobby lights will flash. An announcement will be made telling patrons that the show will be starting soon.
- Patrons will not be allowed to exit at the front of the theater by Aisles 1 and 5, except in the case of an emergency. (Usher Blockade)
- Patrons will not be allowed backstage for any reason. (Usher Blockade)
- Patrons must get to the Balcony from the orchestra by the Grand Gallery staircase, the Original Lobby staircase, or the elevator.
Seating (including balcony)
It is of the utmost importance that we seat patrons correctly the first time. Miss-seating can be difficult to correct with out disrupting both patrons and performers.
It is imperative that we strive for accuracy in ticket checking and correct seating.
- No patrons are to enter the seating area until the “OK” is given from the manager or head usher.
- Welcome patrons.
- Check tickets for correct date, time, show, aisle, row, and seat numbers.
- If patrons are seated in front section (Rows A-W) direct them to proceed to the ushers at the ‘break’ who will show them to their individual seats.
- If patrons are seated in the back section, show them to their individual seats.
- Distribute programs.
- Balcony- Please keep balcony ledge clear
- For ushers stationed at the break and doors:
- Greet patron, look at their ticket and verify date, time, show and seat.
- Escort patron to the correct seat.
- Distribute programs.
- After the performance, return to your post and thank patrons for coming.
Season ticket holders and frequent visitors may know their seat locations and prefer to seat themselves. Aside from these exceptions, ushers must seats all patrons. Please use common sense if a patron insists on seating themselves.
- Greet each patron with a smile and verbal welcome, such as “Welcome to the Paramount.”
- Be prepared to answer any questions. If you do not have the information requested, contact the closest head usher or manager. Do not leave any question or request unresolved.
- You are the first people our patrons will come in contact with. Be a beacon of information! If time permits, direct them to the correct level (A & AA are on the main floor, AAA is in the Balcony). Inform them of our bar locations as well as washroom, elevator, and ATM locations.
- This is the responsibility of all ushers, not just those assigned to the doors.
- After the start of the performance, all ushers must post themselves at the doors to assist in seating latecomers.
- Ushers must remain at the doors for at least 15 minutes after the start of the show.
- Late seating policy is at the discretion of the performer and will be announced at the pre-show ushers’ meeting. Latecomers will be seated in the back of the theater (if seating is available) until intermission so that the performance is not disrupted. At intermission the latecomers will be seated in their designated seats. Latecomers will be brought to their actual seats when they arrive if, and only if, it is a SOLD OUT performance.
- If there is a hold for any particular performance, ushers are not permitted to enter or exit along with the patrons. If you are caught inside during the hold- DO NOT EXIT. After the hold is over, be prepared to continue seating late comers.
- Look at their tickets prior to the end of the hold so you know where you are headed with those late patrons.
Pre-show & Intermission
- Please assist with stuffing programs if a show calls for stuffers. Everyone should take their turn stuffing programs.
- At intermission- Break Ushers, please post yourself at the orchestra pit to deter patrons from leaning over the side of the pit or touching the lighting or sound equipment. Also, watch for photos. Door Ushers, please post yourself at your respected door and watch for photos from the back of the theatre, as well as answer patron questions.
- Prior to the beginning of the show, we will designate washroom ushers for intermission. It is immensely helpful to have washroom attendants to help guide patrons to open stalls.
- The Break Ushers are the designated Blockade Ushers. Please head down to the emergency exit doors at the bottom of Aisle 1 & 5. These are designated as emergency doors and patrons will not be allowed to exit through them.
- Please go to these positions during the curtain call. If you head down prior to curtain call, this could be distracting to patrons.
- ALL USHERS are expected to help clean the theater after each show.
- Gloves and clear trash bags for recycling are available in the coat room
- Do not begin clean-up until patrons have left the auditorium
- Put seats in the up position and pick up trash
- Bags of trash are placed outside the Exit door by Aisle 5
Most problems are related to ticketing/seating. That is why it is important to verify event, date, time, level, row and seat number when seating patrons.
- If there is a problem with ticket, seat placement etc. contact Head Usher or House Manager. Always remember to remain calm and polite .
- If you are aware of an incident or accident in the theater, immediately contact a Head Usher or the House Manager. The House Manager must be informed and an Incident report must be filled out immediately.
- If a patron becomes unruly, DO NOT challenge the person. Obtain assistance from management or local authorities. Protect yourself and others. Remain calm and as helpful as possible.
Sign Up to Usher
You’ve watched the video and completed the Usher Handbook. Now, update your qualifications on the Usher Portal. Then, we’ll review your application and be in touch within 1-3 weeks to approve your application.
Sign in to the Usher Volunteer Portal
1. Click the button above and sign in with the email address and password created when you applied. Reminder: Your username should be the same as your email address.
2. <strong>Bookmark the page and save the password</strong> – you’ll use this page to sign up for usher shifts.
3. Hover over the tab that says “MY PROFILE” in the top right of the screen, then click on “Qualifications.”
4. Next to “I have read and agree to the terms of the 2016-2017 Paramount Theater Usher Program Guide,” select “I agree.”
5. Under “Expiry Date,” choose one year from the date you finished training. For example, if you finished training on May 1, 2018, your training would expire on May 1, 2019.
6. Finally, click “Save” to save your qualification.
Once you’ve completed training and submitted your qualification, we will review your application and be in touch within 1-3 weeks to approve your application.
After you’ve been approved as an usher, you will be able to enter your availability and request shifts through MyVolunteerPage.com.
Thank you again for applying to be an usher, and for your support of the Paramount Theater.