This post is part of the Behind the Scenes series, an introduction to all the departments at Geva and how they help make our shows happen.
If you’ve been to a show at Geva, you’ve met the Front of House department. They’re the staff who run our cafe, bar, and gift shop; the volunteers who check coats, tear tickets, and show patrons to their seats; the people who pick up trash left in the theatre after shows; and the heroes who are most often our first responders when there’s an emergency.
This busy department is led by Front of House Manager Tom Clark (or, as we call him around here, TC). To be fair, every department is busy, but most tend to shut down either on weekends or on Mondays (the day off from rehearsals and performances). Front of House is consistently here every day – though of course individual staff members do get days off! Tuesday through Sunday they’re serving our patrons and helping to keep all our shows running smoothly and on time. Also on show days, the Café often hosts special events like pre-show receptions. On Mondays, when things are a little quieter, there are inventories to check, orders to place, deliveries to receive, deposits to make, and 450 volunteers to schedule.
I usually don’t envy the hard-working Front of House crew, but there are two things they’re responsible for that I’d love to take over if I could. One of those is talking to patrons after performances and hearing their responses to the shows – from the comments they sometimes share with the rest of the staff, I know those conversations are full of touching stories and brilliant ideas. How cool to be reminded every night of why we do what we do – and how we might be able to do it better! The second jealousy-inducing task is developing the bar’s drink specials for each production – I’ve tried offering my services as a taste-tester, but apparently that’s already under control.
And of course, don’t forget that essential part of the job description, “other duties as assigned.” A current example: Associate Front of House Manager Peter Allen is working on a request for in-kind donations of computers and equipment so that we can update some of our aging machines. That may sound like an odd combination with the rest of his responsibilities, but it just goes to show what I always say about Front of House: they’re the people who make everyone else’s jobs easier.