Spotlight on… is a new series focusing on our brilliant Volunteer Ushers at Swindon Theatres. We are lucky to have around 150 Ushers who work for the Wyvern Theatre and Swindon Arts Centre and who help the Duty Manager with the smooth running of our shows. Their duties can include helping direct patrons to seats and venue facilities, selling programmes and merchandise, checking tickets and more. Our Ushers can often be the first point of contact for visiting patrons and their contribution to theatre life is really invaluable to us as a team. This is their chance to take centre stage and tell us about their experiences!
Today’s Spotlight On is with Ian Bell.
What’s your favourite thing about ushering at Swindon Theatres?
I am able to draw upon 40 years of work experience. I also volunteer as a counsellor so I love working with people. Each usher has a unique background of knowledge and life skills to bring to the role. I first visited the Wyvern in 1980. Each shift is different and being able to offer a great service on a consistent basis appeals to me. I love responding and resolving issues that crop up but also knowing how to escalate any issues.
What has been your personal highlight of ushering a show at Swindon Theatres?
The 2017 panto season: I attended the dress rehearsal and was hooked! I volunteered for a large number of school shows and was fascinated the way the audiences experienced the panto; the children are the future customers. In December I loved distributing the “rocks” and seeing the excitement that brought, and felt privileged to be part of creating great memories. It reminded me of going to the Liverpool Empire panto as a child.
Why do you enjoy ushering?
I love being part of a great team in a customer facing role. I was trained to be a volunteer at the London 2012 Olympic Games and the 2017 Para Athletic Games and this was good preparation for working at the Wyvern. I feel supported by the Duty Managers and they help engender a “team spirit”. The variety of roles and people you are on shift with help to enable the creation of great customer service. It doesn’t just happen and it takes effort and skills from all of the team to maximise a positive customer experience. I like to think that I can give the level of service that I would expect to see as a paying customer.
Are you a Swindon Theatres usher and want to contribute to the Spotlight On Series? Contact Marcus Lilley, email@example.com
Find out more about Ushering at Swindon Theatres here.