If you love going to see live Broadway shows, The Florida Orchestra and Opera Tampa, consider becoming an usher for the Straz Center.
Ushers go through an orientation class, which includes a tour. After the class, they work two training shows with a senior usher who has been designated as a mentor. The class is three hours long. Ushers must be able to stand for up to three hours if no seats are available to them. They will have to be able to carry plastic bins with programs that could weigh up to 15 pounds.
As an usher, you get to see amazing shows.
Moreover, according to Deborah Ferree, senior manager of Guest Services, “We frequently have ticket deals so they can buy tickets for friends and family to see the shows. We have an annual dinner for the ushers that includes a cocktail hour and a wonderful meal and entertainment. We also have a BBQ every fall to welcome them back.”
The Straz Center has two types of users: Choice and Master. Ferree said, “We require the Choice ushers to sign up for two shows per month. The Master ushers sign up for any show that is on their chosen date or time. For example, Saturday matinee Master ushers are expected to sign up for Saturday matinee shows, if we have them. Of course, both Choice and Master ushers are more than welcome to sign up for as many shows as they would like to work.”
Shows are assigned on the 15th of each month.
The Straz Center offers the training program throughout the year. Ushers must pay for their uniform, but they are given complimentary parking.
Jean Ippolito of Brandon has worked as an usher for many years.
Ippolito said, “I volunteered and was trained as an usher in 2008. Anyone who has even a casual interest in the performing arts can contribute greatly by volunteering. There are numerous assignments from which to choose. The administrative staff always expresses appreciation to the volunteers. I thoroughly enjoy each production.”
The Straz Center has been offering the usher program since it opened.
In fact, Ferree said, “We have 11 ushers that have been here since the doors opened.” Ferree added, “Our ushers are very important to the Straz Center. They are the heart and soul of the center. We would not be able to make the magic happen without them.”
For more information, please contact Ferree at 229-7827.