I chanced upon the FOH Assistant role at the New Alexandra in Birmingham nearly four years ago. I'd been made redundant after a long career in museums and wanted work that didn't involve a 9-5 routine any more. I soon fell in love with theatre work! During my four years here I've had the opportunity to experience most of the front of house roles, learning new skills associated with work that I'd never thought of doing such as bar work. At the moment I am very much enjoying the challenge of regular Ordertorium shifts, finding an aptitude for selling that has surprised me! Over the years the job has also given me the opportunity to see many amazing shows.
Excellent team working is essential for this fast paced environment and even as teams change as staff move on, the sense of team spirit always remains here at the Alex and is often remarked upon by new staff. Working with a close knit team with good management support is a real pleasure and enhances the job. Although I'm happy to remain in the FOH Assistant role, I've seen many of my colleagues achieve promotion to supervisor and even management level - others have moved into other departments at the venue such as Marketing or Backstage. Although an individual might be starting in a casual FOH role there seems to be many opportunities to develop a long term career.
The area in which I have been encouraged and supported to develop is in caring for the Alex's historical archives, which has in turn led to developing and delivering guided tours for both staff and public events. Now that the archive has been sorted and catalogued we are able to use it to tell the history of the venue, to answer public enquiries and to contribute to social media as well as giving us the opportunity to take part in initiatives both local and online. This year for example, I gave tours and handling sessions as part of Birmingham Heritage Week and we have recently contributed to twitter initiatives such as #lovetheatre day and #explorearchives.
Perhaps the event I have most enjoyed working on has been the development and delivery of Halloween Ghost Tours for the past two years. This gave me the experience of working with the technical and Backstage staff as they created chilling and dramatic effects to accompany the tours.
In short I enjoy every aspect of working at this theatre and can thoroughly recommend it.
I usually work around 6-7 shifts a week across 4-5 days, I do have other casual jobs that fit in during the day (box office at a concert hall venue) but I see the Alex as my main role. Although the job includes weekend and evening working I enjoy having the daytime to myself.