As a not-for-profit, professional community theatre, we rely on volunteers to help us to stage our events throughout the year. The benefits of volunteering are many and varied, and all of them go towards enhancing the lives of individuals and the community. Here are just six of them:
- You give something back to an organisation that makes a positive impact on the local community
- You become a valued member of a team
- It’s also a route to employment, through gaining new skills, knowledge and experience – or developing existing abilities and knowledge
- It’s a way to enhance your CV and improve employment prospects
- It helps you to use your professional skills and knowledge to benefit others
- It’s tons of fun!
Photos by Mark Drinkwater
Below are the roles* we need volunteers for, and what you can expect to be doing with us. Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have of course changed our practices to be in line with safety procedures.
(*Please note these roles relate to the outdoor productions in Mayow Park’s bowling green which are planning for Summer 2022, likely last two weeks of July. Later in the year we’ll release details of how to volunteer for our theatre performances indoors at the Sydenham Centre.)
Our volunteer stewards are on hand before, during and after performances to help guide audience members to their seats, ensure they are correctly distanced and escort them to the public toilets if necessary. They are present throughout the performances, keeping an eye out in case an audience member needs help, and they assist in clearing up afterwards. The stewards’ call time is generally 12:30pm, for a briefing no later than 1pm, when they are allocated their roles for the day. Stewards usually finish at 4.30pm, depending on the show’s running time.
Box office staff
1pm-3.15pm (to cover two shows)
Box office volunteers work at a table at the entrance to the Bowling Green. They check ticket holders on a daily sheet as they come in and sell day tickets, as well as handing out flyers and any other information the public asks for. As soon as the performance has started and any latecomers have been checked in, they are responsible for returning all cash/card receipts, plus card reader and documents to a secure location, after which time they are free to go, or to continue as stewards. There is always a security guard present at the box office, and stewards to help if there is a long queue for tickets, which is very often the case! Box office volunteers are needed from 1:15pm at the latest, and stay till around 3:15pm, for latecomers, unless they are staying as stewards or watching the performance. On days with multiple performances, two box office shifts may be possible, but we will most likely require staff to stay for the second performance.
Our volunteers who work as stage hands have plenty to do! They assist in setting up the performance space, including the installation of gazebos, sound system and any scenery; before and during performances they may assist the stage manager with moving scenery, props and sometimes helping the actors with costume changes. All this has to be done following strict Covid safety guidelines, with surfaces, props and other items regularly sanitised and kept separate throughout the sessions. Because there is a lot of fetching and carrying to do, these volunteers must be physically able. Their call times are usually from 12:30pm to at least 4.30pm, where they will assist with the clear up.
In each case, all volunteers will need to report on arrival to our Volunteers Coordinator, who will have already contacted you to confirm which day(s) and time(s) you are available to help.
A note on Technical and Dress Rehearsals
We always have technical and dress rehearsals which are the last ones before the performances, called of course, ‘tech’ and ‘dress’ days. It would be tremendously helpful if some volunteers are able to attend some of these, so that they can see how the shows work and what needs to be done.
These are the dates for tech and dress rehearsals and for performances this summer season:
The Tales of Beatrix Potter
Tech days: Thu 21, Fri 22 July
8 Performances only: Sat 23 July – Tue 26 July, then Thu 28 Sun 31 July. Shows start at 2pm and 3pm and last approximately 45 mins.
All our volunteers get a lovely yellow t-shirt (black is optional for backstage crew/box office staff) and free entry into all the shows.
Autumn Season (indoors at Sydenham Centre)
Dates TBC but performances likely to run at weekends only, at 3pm & 4.30pm (shows last 45mins-1hour), Upstairs at the Sydenham Centre. Help backstage is often required, and help front of house (ushering, checking tickets, selling programmes etc) is always needed. Call times vary, but generally 1 hour before show start time.
We never expect anyone to sign up to every single rehearsal and performance, but if you want to do that we won’t object! As many or as few as you can manage will be very gratefully accepted, and if you want to bring along your friends and family, we always say the more the merrier. As long as our volunteers show up on the days they have committed to, we’ll be happy, and we want you to be happy too.
Apologies but we cannot accept volunteers under the age of 16 unless they are accompanied by an adult throughout their session/s with us. All PPE and sanitising equipment necessary will be provided.
To volunteer for any of our upcoming performances please email email@example.com.
For more general volunteering questions please email firstname.lastname@example.org.