LAST CHRISTMAS, I visited a playhouse. The staff of the theater welcomed me with a red rose, and the washroom was clean and luxuriously designed. I felt like I was a princess in this castle-like theater. I was satisfied with the atmosphere of the place and decided to visit there again." Have you ever felt the same way as this audience? The house manager is the one who provides all these amenities for you.
What is a house manager?
These days, more and more people want to enjoy cultural performances and desire better services from playhouses. Therefore, playhouses are striving to meet the audiences' needs. A house manager is a newly-made occupation created to address this demand. As house managers are responsible for the overall contentment of spectators, they manage all kinds of services related to customers. Firstly, they provide a comfortable environment for customers. They decide the design concept of the theater, while considering the plays that are presented. They make sure that rest rooms, playrooms, and facilities are all in good order. In case of emergencies, house managers are responsible for responses. Secondly, house managers are in charge of the Front of House, which functions as an information desk. In the Front of House, house managers listen to customers' complaints and try to reflect upon them in order to improve the playhouse. Managing VIP customers is also their job. Lastly, house managers are responsible for instructing, as well as training, the staff of the theater. They educate the staff about public security and how they should deal with customers.
Becoming a house manager
Job postings for house managers are publicly announced by playhouses. Working experience in theaters is the most important element for people who want to become a house manager. That is why people who have worked in a variety of playhouses or performances have been promoted to house managers when new theaters open. To prepare for this job as a university student, a parttime job or volunteering in theaters can be helpful. If you have majored in departments related to administration, art, welfare, and performance, you will have definite advantages. Together with these supporting attributes, having a sincere attitude towards customers is also what house managers should possess. Kim Kyoung-lae (House Manager, Baekam Art Hall) says that the expression which describes house managers best is the following: warmhearted people who feel great when customers step out of their theaters happily.
Merits and shortcoming of being a house manager
Kim says the best merit of being a house manager is that one can be close to a variety of performances. House managers have opportunities to meet various kinds of people and obtain knowledge regarding performance art. However, house managers cannot make private appointments in the evening; they work in the evening, since performances are usually staged at that time. Kim also said that because plays are usually held on the weekends or big holidays, she hardly has time to spend with her family.
The present working condition and future vision of house managers
Still, a house manager is an unfamiliar occupation to the general public. Therefore, the social status and working conditions are still poor. Only some of the great halls are employing house managers, and the total number of house managers is between 60 and 70. However, as demands for higher services at playhouses increases, the demand for house managers is also increasing. Experts are predicting that the job of house manager will be one the most
desired jobs in the near future.