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Oxford University Theatre Technicians and Designers

Front of House Guide

Front of House Staff

The role of Front of House (FOH) staff varies considerably between venues; in the Playhouse no students are involved with FOH as it is all done by Playhouse Staff, in the Burton Taylor Studio only one student sits front of house to sell tickets (but the Studio Manager is ultimately in charge of FOH). In other venues such as the O’Reilly, Pichette and Simpkins Lee, students run all aspects of FOH, including selling tickets, showing patrons to their seats, and taking charge when things go wrong and in emergencies. The rest of this guide will be specific to those venues and the role of FOH staff in them.

For selling tickets, most shows will sell tickets in advance  via online services such as Tixato, WeGotTickets, Eventbrite or TicketsOxford. The majority of sales will be online, and so the majority of the role is checking the tickets of patrons as they arrive. There will however usually be a provision for selling tickets on the door, and so FOH staff will be handling cash also. On occasion a production may choose to run a bar for pre-show and interval drinks, and in general FOH would man this.

In emergencies or suspected emergencies, it is the FOH staff’s job to make sure the audience is safe, including stewarding an evacuation should one take place. In particular, the FOH staff should take note of any patrons with disabilities which may hinder their escape in an emergency, and act accordingly by seating them in appropriate locations and giving them assistance when entering and leaving the auditorium.

One of the staff on duty should be the designated FOH Manager for that performance - they should make sure they are aware of all of the theatre's specific safety procedures, and they should also be familliar with the ticketing system used to ensure they can solve any problems that may appear. 

In the O'Reilly Theatre, the shutter door to the road must be manned at all times while it is open pre and post performance, and so it is difficult to run FOH with less than 3 people in this theatre in particular.