Non-Production Activities

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House Manager Manual

The House Manager is usually the first volunteer an audience member comes in contact with. It is important that their first impression of Footlite is favorable. Listed below are the responsibilities of the House Manager.

The House Manager should arrive about 90 minutes before curtain time.

Before Opening the Front Doors

  • Turn on all lobby and restroom lights. Switches are located to the right of the front door.
  • In the breaker box in the closet, flip the "outside dome lights" and "inner lobby lights" to the ON position.
  • Inspect both restrooms to make sure there is plenty of toilet paper, paper towels and soap, both available and visible for replenishment. Additional rolls of paper should be in the janitorial room located just off the board room. Please make sure the bathrooms are clean.
  • Make sure all waste baskets are empty and with a liner in them. Liners are in the concession booth or janitors closet.
  • Sweep areas of the carpet that are dirty.
  • In the concession area you will now make popcorn for the performance. Information on this procedure is available at the theatre, and it's best to have someone who's done it previously demonstrate the process. It's important to be attentive so the popcorn doesn't burn.
  • Candy is in the fake freezer and is displayed on top of it.
  • Fill the Coke cooler, as needed. Drinks are stored in the closet under the stairs, which is unlocked with a key that is behind the door in the concession stand.
  • Inspect the drawers in the half tables located near the auditorium doors to make sure flashlights are present and working.
  • Turn on the lobby television. The power button is on the left side of the TV. Before the show, during intermission and after the show, the TV should be set to "computer". Press the INPUT button to cycle through all the inputs on the TV until you reach "computer".
  • Your volunteer ushers/concession people should be arriving by now. You will need to assign duties to each and briefly explain their responsibilities. Our rules may differ from other theatres, so it's important the volunteers know what is expected of them.
    • Ushers: You should have two ushers to seat the patrons. Make sure they understand how the seating numbers work, and impress upon them to show the audience member to their seats, not stand by the door to pass out programs. It is this added touch that our patrons appreciate. Tell the ushers to pick up all leftover programs after the production and flip up the seat cushions.
    • Ticket Taker: One needed stationed beside the double doors who will tear tickets. He/she should inspect the ticket and instruct the patron which way to turn upon entering the auditorium. The ticket stubs are placed in the fabric top, not in the slot in the stand, and are returned to the box office after the show starts.
    • Concessions: Two volunteers are preferred, one taking money and the other acquiring the product. These volunteers will also bag popcorn and replenish any soft drinks if necessary. After intermission, they should also clean up the area of food.
    • Greeter: If you have an extra volunteer, please station them near the door. They should welcome patrons to Footlite and direct them to the ticket windows. The window closest to the door is to buy tickets and other transactions, and the second window is for Will Call. This person should also be able to answer simple questions for the patrons such as "where are the restrooms?"
  • You will now go to the box office to retrieve all cash for concession (and any other lobby sales that may be ongoing) and deliver to the appropriate people.
  • One hour before show time, the outside doors should be unlocked. You will find this key (an allen wrench) in the utility closet near the TV screen in the lobby. The key will be on a big ring. To unlock the inner lobby doors you merely turn the dead bolt to the left. On the inside of each right door will be two toggle levers (one at the top and one on the bottom). Flip them in the opposite direction to unlock the door. To unlock the outside doors, use the allen wrench on the key ring. On the inside of each crash bar is a little hole. Stick the allen wrench into this hole, depress the crash bar, and turn the wrench till the crash bar is locked in place. Now the door is open for the public. Return the keys to the utility closet.
  • Once your crew is in place and the public is entering, you will need to go backstage to find out the stage manager for the production. This person will eventually tell you when the house is ready to open and the show is ready to start.
  • Don't forget to turn off the popcorn machine.
  • You have a few minutes to relax! Periodically wander the lobby to make sure everything is running smoothly.

Five Minutes Before Curtain

  • Five minutes before curtain, check with the box office on the number of unclaimed tickets. The stage manager will let you know when they are ready. Make the decision based on the number unclaimed tickets whether or not to hold. When you're ready to go, turn off almost all lobby lights so the audience knows to go into the auditorium.
  • Once the show starts, close the auditorium doors. You should stay in the lobby to assist any latecomers. You'll need a flashlight and should either show patrons to their seat, or find an usher inside the auditorium who can assist. Patrons who aren't given help finding their seats are often disoriented and are a distraction to the rest of the patrons. Be sure to help any patrons using the restroom during the show back to their seats.
  • Turn the lobby TV to "stage" by continuously pressing the INPUT button on the side of the TV. You should be able to hear the production through the TV speakers. Turn up the volume if it has been turned down.
  • During the first act, inspect the bathrooms to make sure all supplies are stocked. Be cautious when entering as the restrooms may be occupied (Epilogue, our next door neighbor, uses our restrooms on their performance days.) Stay in the lobby so it is not left unattended.


  • Open the auditorium doors and turn on the lobby and concession room lights. Have the cash box out and ready for business. Make sure your concession people are back in place. Be available in case there are any problems.
  • The stage manager will again inform you when they are ready to go. Intermission usually lasts 15 minutes. Check restroom lines before beginning the act and hold if necessary.
  • Flick the lights several times so patrons know to return to their seats. Once the lobby is clear, shut off all lobby lights and close the doors.
  • After intermission, lock the candy left back up in the freezer.
  • Refill the Coke cooler.
  • Return the cash box for concessions to the box office after intermission.

After The Production

  • Open the auditorium doors and turn on the lobby lights. Wait about twenty five minutes for the guests to greet the performers and clear before shutting down the lobby.
  • Please personally thank all your volunteers of the night for their help and ask if they enjoyed the show.
  • After you flash the lobby lights, start locking the outside doors by reversing the earlier process. As the crowd dwindles down, start locking the inner lobby doors and keep one door open for the remaining guests. Once they have cleared, double check the outside doors to make sure they are locked, and lock the remaining inner door.
  • Return key to utility closet and turn off the dome and inner lobby lights at the breaker box.
  • Check restrooms to make sure water isn’t running and turn off those lights. If the kitchen light is on, turn that off. Shut auditorium doors and turn off lobby lights.