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Box Office vs. Front of House

What is a box office manager?

Having a designated box office manager can be crucial to making sure your audience has someone to manage customer service. This includes managing tickets on ticket platforms to make sure you don't oversell a show, dealing with exchanges, reserving tickets/seats for Press or VIP, and being the first point of contact for your company. Part of this responsibility is being able to reply to customers in a timely manner and answer basic questions they might have.


They are the bridge between your company and your audience, as well as the person that manages the income so this should be someone you trust.


Audience Interactions

You need to make sure that however, you are communicating with your audience, either through your mailing list or through the ticketing platform, that everyone has all the information they need.

  • What is parking like? Is there a lot? Should people make sure to arrive early to leave time to find parking?

  • What is the accessibility like? Is the theatre fully ADA compliant or do people need to email you for accommodations?

  • How long is the show? Is there an intermission?

  • Is there any trigger warnings such as content warnings, gunshots, extreme haze, and strobe lights? If there is something in your show that could potentially cause physical harm or extreme emotional distress, that needs to be communicated with your audience to prevent accidents or someone getting hurt.

  • Are there any restaurants you've partnered with that people can dine at before or after the show?

  • What is the late seating policy?

Box Office Report

This is the basic information for a box office report. Normally this is created by the Box Office Manager and sent to the Producers and Stage Managers nightly. Some directors like to request this information, but since the show is already open technically they don't need this information.

  • Show:

    • Show date:

  • Box Office Manager:

    • Front of House Team:

  • Audience Total:

    • Walk Ups:

    • Cancellations:

    • No Shows:

    • Late Seating:

  • Total Ticket Money

    • Online Sales:

    • Cash Sales:

  • Total Concession Money:

  • Restock:

    • (concessions, merch, programs, etc.)

  • Notes:

Post Show Surveys

Having post-show surveys is a great way to touch base with your audience after a show and continue to build that relationship. You can use something like SurveyMonkey or Google Forms, but make sure to keep the survey short and have it ready before opening night.

Send these almost immediately after a show, or at least within 24 hours. Otherwise, people will forget and the feedback won't be as accurate. Some examples of info you want to collect is:


FEEDBACK

  • Overall, how would you rate the show?

  • What did you like about the show?

  • What did you dislike about the show?

  • Would you recommend this show to a friend?

DEMOGRAPHICS

You might need this info for grants

  • Age

  • Race/Ethnicity

  • Gender Identity

  • Zip Code

MARKET RESEARCH

  • How did you hear about this production?

    • Ad Online/Print

    • Read A Review (from where)

    • Social Media

    • Email

    • Friend or Family in the show

    • Poster/Postcard

    • Other:

  • Was there any information you would have liked to know before attending the show?

What is a Front of House Manager?

Consider hiring a House Manager who can manage training and scheduling your front-of-house staff. However, you are going to want to make sure your House Manager has all the information needed to have a strong FOH team.

  • What is the box office set up and tear down every night? Where are concessions stored, does coffee need to be made, etc.?

  • Make sure your team has important info about the show that was in the pre-show email.

  • Build any emergency protocols and put them in an easily accessible place for all FOH to find and utilize, (audience injury, earthquake, fire, etc)

  • Make sure your team has the opportunity to watch the show and take note of things like any entrances and exits that audiences may interrupt if they go to the bathroom etc.

  • Make sure there is a clear schedule for front-of-house staff and clearly establish who is working which show.

Check-in protocol

  • Review Box Office systems with the team, like how to check people in.

    • Does your box office system need to be connected to WiFi to work?

  • Is there an onboarding process for your audience members?

  • Is it an immersive environment that might have non-traditional engagement?

  • Is there a theme that your FOH staff needs to follow with their dress code?

Keep in mind this does not include any COVID safety protocols, please follow your local regulations to ensure the safety of your guests and artists.

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