A guide to Front of House Assistant Jobs
What do usher, host, and ambassador all have in common? They’re different job titles referring to a front of house assistant. It’s a fairly common job in London, due to the high number of theatres, cultural centres, cinemas, and art galleries.
Front of house assistants are often required to do “shiftwork”, which includes working evenings and weekends, and any are employed on a part-time or casual basis, making flexibility the most important characteristic of this job. On the one hand, you are required to be flexible to work at different hours; on the other hand, the job itself is flexible, meaning the role aligns with skills needed for other jobs.
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The responsibilities of this job definitely vary by the size of theatre. However, in general front of house assistants check tickets and assist customers to find their seats, answer a wide range of queries about the place or the performance, sell programmes/merchandise, manage queues, manage complaints, assist with security, make sure that the venue is clean, and check for lost property after people have left.
To be successful in the role you’ll need to possess certain personal requirements: enjoy working with people, good communication and customer service skills, neat personal appearance, able to work as part of a team, able to handle cash and calculate figures, flexibility. Anyway, these requirements are typical of all the job descriptions you will apply in your life. In other words, you do not need to have any particular skill in order to work as a front of house assistant. Just avoid this job in case you are a true misanthrope.
Working with crazy customers
If you have ever got the chance to work as an usher, you’ll already have an understanding of the level of customer service needed. Because you are constantly in touch with a great variety of different people, coming from all over the world, covering all age ranges, with different social status, at the same time you can discover yourself speculating on issues as a sociologist or an anthropologist would do. The most common topic of debate between ushers is why customers sometimes (or perhaps most of the times) ask such stupid questions, like for example “excuse me, have you seen my daughter?” (!?!?!). How on earth am I supposed to know who is your daughter?
Pros of working as a Front of House Assistant
Now let’s discuss the pros of working as an usher/front of house assistant. Colleagues are generally very interesting people. For instance, most of the artists in London need a backup flexible position to get extra money possibly in an artistic environment. In this sense, an usher job is very convenient. In most of the places, the shifts are given according to your availability which can change weekly or monthly. However, keep in mind, that in general in musical theatres you have fixed shifts and the positions are generally full time (with double shifts on week end). Another great advantage of this job is that you get to attend some of the most interesting artistic and cultural events going on in London for free. Depending on the place where you work, it is common also to get discount in case you want to be a proper customer or you are coming to see something with friends.
About the cons. First of all, ushers are required to stand for long periods. So, you definitely need confy shoes and warm jackets (if you are working in an open air theatre).if you work for an outdoor theatre you’ll need to invest in a warm coat. The second is, the role unfortunately tends to be close to minimum wage, And lastly, you will have to build up a tolerance for customer queries, so here is a tip: Yoga and correct breathing practise can help!
There are places and places
Finally, the place where you will work makes the difference: it can turn this job into a great life experience or the most boring position you have ever had. So, before applying, perhaps a good strategy is to go as an undercover customer and have a look and maybe a few words with the hosts working there. Some nice places to work in are: Barbican, Southbank Centre, Royal Opera House and Whitechapel Gallery. Before you accept a job as a front of house assistant, make sure you are comfortable for how long the performance run for, for example Musical Theatre companies run the same musical for the entire season.
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Front of House Theatre Jobs
- Soho Theatre | 21 Dean Street, London, W1D 3NE
- Sadler’s Wells | Rosebery Avenue, London, EC1R 4TN
- Old Vic Theatre | 103 The Cut, London, SE1 8NB
- National Theatre | South Bank, London, SE1 9PX
- Royal Albert Hall | Kensington Gore, London, SW7 2AP
Front of House Jobs in Arts Centres
- Barbican Centre | Silk St, London EC2Y 8DS
- Southbank Centre | Belvedere Road, London, SE1 8XX
- Battersea Arts Centre (BAC) | Lavender Hill, London, SW11 5TN
- Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) | The Mall, London, SW1Y 5AH
- Roundhouse | Chalk Farm Road, London, NW1 8EH
Front of House and Steward Jobs in Music Venues
- Wembley Arena | Arena Square, Engineers Way, London, HA9 0AA
- O2 Academy | Brixton, Islington, Shepherds Bush
- The O2 Arena | Peninsula Square, London, SE10 0DX
- Kings Place | 90 York Way, London, N1 9AG
Usher Jobs in Cinemas
- BFI Southbank Cinema | Belvedere Road, London, SE1 8XT
- Odeon Cinemas | Several cinemas across London
- Cineworld London | Several cinemas: Haymarket, Chelsea, Wandsworth, Piccadilly, Fulham Road, Hammersmith
- Everyman Cinemas | Several cinemas: Baker Street, Belsize Park, Hampstead, Maida Vale, Reigate and more
- Vue Cinemas | Several cinemas: Acton, Croydon, Finchley Road, Fulham, Islington, Piccadilly, West End and more
Front of House Jobs in Galleries
- Whitechapel Gallery | Whitechapel High Street, London, E1 7QX
- Saatchi Gallery | Duke Of York’s HQ, King’s Road, London,SW3 4RY
- National Portrait Gallery | St Martin’s Pl, London WC2H 0HE
- Tate | Tate Modern, Bankside, London, SE1 9TG | Tate Britain, Millbank, London SW1P 4RG
- Serpentine Gallery | Kensington Gardens, London, W2 3XA
Front of House Jobs in Museums
- Victoria and Albert Museum | Cromwell Rd, London SW7 2RL
- British Museum | Great Russell St, London, WC1B 3DG
- Science Museum | Exhibition Rd, South Kensington, London, SW7 2DD
- Imperial War Museum London | Lambeth Rd, London, SE1 6HZ
- Design Museum London | 28 Shad Thames, London, SE1 2YD
You may also want to have a look to our article about the Top 5 Easy to Get Jobs in London.