Ushers play a vital role in the smooth functioning of a theater. They are the first point of contact for guests and play an essential part in providing a comfortable and enjoyable experience. They’re responsible for greeting guests, helping them find their seats, answering their questions, and ensuring they adhere to theater policies. Without them, theater production would be chaotic, and guests would have a difficult time enjoying the performance. In this article, we’ll explore what ushers do, what skills it takes to become an usher, and the history of ushers in the theater industry.

The Top Duties of Ushers in a Theater

Usher duties vary from ensuring everyone is seated comfortably to responding to emergencies. Here are the top duties that ushers perform in a theater.

Seating guests

One of the primary responsibilities of an usher is to direct guests to their seats. Ushers guide guests to their designated areas, check their tickets, and show them to their seats. If the theater is not at full capacity, they may suggest alternative seating options. During intermission, ushers may help direct guests to the restroom or concession stands, ensuring they have enough time to get back to their seats.

Selling tickets

Ushers may also sell tickets directly to guests in some theaters. They may be stationed at a separate booth or at the entrance of the theater lobby.

Responding to emergencies

Ushers are trained to respond to emergencies and are often the first line of defense when it comes to ensuring the safety of guests. They may respond to medical emergencies, fire alarms, and natural calamities to help guests evacuate the building quickly and safely.

Distributing programs

Ushers may also distribute programs before a performance. These programs contain valuable information about the play, actors, and director, among other details. They help build anticipation and provide guests with something exciting to read before the performance begins.

Providing information

Ushers are the go-to people for any questions or concerns guests may have. They’re often well-informed about the production and can answer queries related to seating, parking, and other theater policies. They may also be able to recommend restaurants and other activities in the nearby area to guests.

Brief explanation of each duty

Ushers have a significant role to play in ensuring a smooth experience for theater-goers. From providing information to maintaining safety, they are responsible for many critical tasks.

Interview with an Usher

To understand the world of ushering better, we reached out to a theater usher and spoke with them about their role.

Introduction to the usher being interviewed

We spoke with John, an experienced theater usher of six years.

Questions asked during the interview

1. What does your job entail?
2. What do you like/dislike about your work?
3. Any memorable experiences you’ve had?

Interesting or noteworthy responses

When asked about his job, John said that the most challenging part is dealing with rowdy guests. During busy shows, there are often guests who get drunk and create a nuisance, making it difficult for John to perform his job efficiently.

One of John’s most memorable experiences was when he had to evacuate the theater due to a fire alarm. His team was able to guide guests out of the building safely, and there were no injuries.

Day in the Life of an Usher

To provide a more in-depth understanding of what it’s like to be an usher, let’s follow John through one of his workdays.

Introduction to the usher being followed

We followed John through his workday at a local theater in downtown.

Description of their workday

John’s workday begins a few hours before a show begins. He and his team inspect the theater, checking to see if any repairs or changes are necessary. Once the theater is ready, he starts his shift, getting his station set up. During this time, he and his team take a moment to review any changes in the theater layout or show policies.

Once the theater opens, John begins seating guests, checking their tickets and directing them to their assigned seats. Throughout the show, he and his team monitor the crowd, ensuring everyone is following the policies. After the show, John helps direct guests to exits, closing down the theater and ensuring that everything is in order before leaving.

Skills and qualities necessary to be a successful usher

To be a successful usher, one must have excellent communication skills, be highly organized, and have excellent customer service skills. Ushers should be able to handle a fast-paced work environment and have the ability to multitask. A knack for problem-solving is also essential, as ushers may encounter unique situations during performances.

Historical Overview: How Ushers Have Evolved Over Time

Ushers have played a significant role in the theater industry for many centuries.

Introduction to the history of ushers

In ancient Greek and Roman theaters, ushers were responsible for seating guests according to their social status. During the medieval period, ushers were used as messengers between different groups of the audience, helping create a more organized experience. During the Renaissance period, ushers were responsible for checking the quality of the stage performances and were known to act as amanuenses.

Explanation of how ushers were used in different eras

During the 18th and 19th centuries, ushers began to take on a more prominent role in the theater industry, becoming responsible for distributing hot water, cushions, and other facilities to patrons. During the 20th century, ushers evolved into a more customer-service driven position, responsible for providing information, supplying programs, and guiding guests to their seats.

Discussion on how their role may continue to change

As theater production continues to shift and evolve, the role of ushers is also likely to change. In modern theaters, ushers may have to operate in a digital world, using apps and online systems to book tickets and direct guests to their seats.

Behind the Scenes: The Hiring Process for Ushers

If you’re interested in becoming an usher, it’s essential to understand the hiring process.

Introduction to the hiring process

Many theaters require applicants to complete an online application and submit a resume. Applicants may also be required to attend an interview to determine their qualifications and suitability for the position.

Screening process

Background checks and screening processes are standard before an ushering position is offered. This is done to ensure that the candidate does not have a criminal record and is trustworthy.

Training process

Ushers must complete training and orientation sessions before they can begin working. This often involves learning about theater policies, emergency procedures, and customer service skills.

Standards applicants need to meet

Applicants must be over 18 and have excellent communication skills, customer service skills and have a presentable appearance. They must be well-organized and have the ability to work in a fast-paced environment.


Ushers play a vital role in the theater industry, ensuring that guests have a comfortable and enjoyable experience. They’re responsible for directing guests to their seats, responding to emergencies, and providing information. To be a successful usher, one must have excellent customer service skills, be highly organized, and have the ability to work in a fast-paced environment. By understanding the history of ushers and their vital role, we can appreciate and value their contribution to the theater industry.

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By Happy Sharer

Hi, I'm Happy Sharer and I love sharing interesting and useful knowledge with others. I have a passion for learning and enjoy explaining complex concepts in a simple way.

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