Chapter 1 : A Job You Can Successfully Execute Hungover
June 23rd 2015 was the day after my Grad ball. I was extremely hungover and all I wanted to do was crawl into a ball on a cold floor with a box of chicken nuggets and cry. But instead I was starting my first shift Front of House at a theatre in London’s West End.
I have always been one to want to know my next step and just keep myself busy. So it made sense to immediately get stuck into graduate life and start paying those bills, rent, classes etc etc. And Front of House work is a really great fit for the out of work performer/rising superstar lifestyle.
It ticks all the boxes. Short shifts, leaves the majority of your day times free for auditions and classes, it keeps you within the theatre world and working alongside like-minded people. And as I came to find out on my first shift, it is a chilled out enough job to successfully execute hungover!
It is the perfect job for our lifestyle and it is so easy to slot into the work dynamic. These are a few guidelines I would recommend following to blend in seamlessly.
1. DO THE JOB WELL, BUT DON’T TRY TOO HARD
Make sure you’re wearing the correct uniform and looking presentable. Don’t damage the stock. Check your float and takings are correct. But also, don’t try THAT hard. For example, when looking presentable in uniform, remember you wear a waistcoat. So although they’ll request you are always in an ironed shirt, your sleeves are the only part of your shirt on show. So give the sleeves a once over and job done!
2. DON’T TALK ABOUT THEATRE TOO MUCH
You’re working in a theatre and pursuing a career in theatre, so the last thing people want to talk about is theatre. Don’t get me wrong, I can be just as stagey as the next theatre enthusiast, but who wants to talk about it non stop because when it comes down to it, it’s work. Obviously everyone wants each other to do well, but people don’t need to hear about all the auditions you’ve got coming up! The likelihood is that they have them too, or even wish they had them but things aren’t going too well for them at the moment, or maybe their interest isn’t even in theatre at all and they have no clue what you are talking about. So be considerate. My advice would be to stay up to date with box sets and television (Bake off, Game of Thrones and Love Island were massive talking points at our theatre)!
3. DO NOT BITCH ABOUT THE CAST
We all love it when a bit of set gets temporarily stuck or the curtain doesn’t go up when it should, it’s hilarious and mixes the week up a bit. But berating the performers is something that is not ok.They are currently performing in the West End. You are not. Whether you want to put it down to talent, hard work, timing or luck, whatever it is, it worked in their favour. We should be celebrating each other’s achievements not bitching because you’re jealous they’re where you want to be. Your time will come. But it’s their time now, so cheer them on.
4. DO NOT MOAN AND COMPLAIN CONTINUOUSLY
Everybody has bad days and we all need to vent about work now and then, but don’t do it ALL THE TIME! By all means moan about rude patrons but not the actual job. Think about it, you are working short shifts where you get to hang out with your friends and also concentrate on pursuing a career you enjoy, not too bad really is it? Especially do not complain to people who are in jobs they don’t enjoy or even those that have worked FOH for a long time. They will not appreciate it.
5. BRING SNACKS
Food is something we all have in common. Sharing good food is a great way to establish a friendship. Apply this rule to life, always Bring snacks!!
I mostly loved my time Front of House and will probably end up going back someday. It was relaxed and hilarious and gave me some of the best friends I could’ve ever asked for! It also gave me some of the most unbelievable stories and now we’ve laid out the ground work I can’t wait to share them with you!