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1953-54 Theatre Catalog, 11th Edition, Page 361 (323)

1953-54 Theatre Catalog, 11th Edition
1953-54 Theatre Catalog
1953-54 Theatre Catalog, 11th Edition, Page 361
Page 361

1953-54 Theatre Catalog, 11th Edition, Page 361


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cluding the store rooms and other places where the public is not supposed to go, to be sure no one remains inside. Seats and floors should be inspected to recover lost articles and to be sure no cigarettes are burning. Check to see that all water faucets are turned off, and finally, check to see that all lights, airconditioning or fans are off and all doors locked.

The Public

Thoughtfulness, common sense, and courtesy are your three most important tools. When in doubt as to how to handle any situations, simply let these courses of action solve it for you.

Never command a patron to do anything. Always request them to do what

you want. For example, if you want a patron to stop blocking an aisle, form your request like this: ffPardon me sir, would you mind stepping to one side please'P, When a patron has complied with any request you make of him, be certain to thank him.

In moving about you should carry yourself erect and walk briskly. The brisk walk does not apply, however, if you are seating people who are not inclined to walk briskly themselves. You should never run. Never step in any directions without first looking where you are going. Your standing position should be erect, but not stiff. Never lean on or against anything or otherwise effect a sloppy posture. Balance your weight on both feet for maximum comfort.

If asked a question, first make sure that you understand it. Then, if you know the answer, give the patron your undivided attention and look directly at him while answering. If you do not know the answer, excuse yourself and explain that you are going to find out.

Always regulate your voice in keeping with the part of the theatre you are in, and the duty you are performing. This ranges all the. way from a loud resonant voice when you are outside tfbarking," to a voice just above a whisper when you are near people watching the show. Speaking in a low voice in the auditorium also tends to make patrons do likewise.

Use of the proper phrases will help you fill the theatre with little difficulty. A good usher will not have people waiting for seats in the center when there are seats available on the side or down


front. Phrases like HThe second aisle on theleft, please" should be used instead of saying the "last aisle too the leftJ' Never say iitake seatsii and then indicate a section of the theatre. Advise them where the seats are, but do not command them to take them. Sometimes it takes salesmanship to itselllf certain seats. You may suggest taking seats temporarily down front or on the sides, and moving to other seats when they are available. If you talk to a patron in the correct manner you will have little difficulty, and the patron will often stay in the seat he first takes. If it is necessary to ask a couple to take single seats you should always try to get them seated together again as soon as possible.

Never say "Ssh" to a patron who is talking. Instead, when necessary, step up to him and inform him that he is disturbing others in the vicinity. Then thank him for anticipated cooperation, and leave.

When more than two ushers gather in one part of the theatre for a conversation it makes a bad impression on the public. Some special tasks, such as putting up a large display, do require a gathering of ushers, but this is understandable. Unnecessary conversation with friends or other employees should not take place while you are on duty. If you must talk at length to anyone, get permission to leave your post.

Special Situations

Fix-eeln spite of the fact that fire and panic may never be experienced by most theatre employees, it is very important to know what to do in an emergency. Always remember that your knowledge and behavior could result in the saving of patrons lives. Never mention the word ttfire" within hearing of a patron.

Panic itself is more dangerous than the actual fire. An orderly withdrawal can empty a theatre in a short time, but if the audience stampedes or panics, there is likely to be a jam-up at the exits SO that very few get out.

If there is smoke in the theatre, notify the manager or assistant immediately and then search for the cause of the smoke. Sometimes the ventilating system will pick up smoke from outside and this will make patrons nervous. Or a motor burning out can cause a great deal of smoke. In most instances there is no danger to the audience. When this is so, patrol the aisles carefully to make sure that no patron starts running out; this could cause the entire audience to start running. Appear calm and untroubled. If someone asks what is causing the smoke, give him a logical answer. If the smoke is very heavy you should make this announcement, on the managers authority, M'ery few paces, as you patrol the aisles: thindly remain seated. There is no danger." This must be said in a calm oven voice.

Should a serious fire develop, there is more need for calmness than over. The manager should appear on the stage and in a calm voice announce: tiAs a procziutionary measure, we should like to clear this theatre as quietly as possible.

AS PART of its goodwill program outdoor theatres may even go so {or as to change patrons' fires.
1953-54 Theatre Catalog, 11th Edition, Page 361