House Manager

House managers at Yale College are undergraduate student employees managed by Undergraduate Production. House managers are assigned by UP to all production events.  They serve as hosts, and fulfill vital life-safety roles, for a variety of undergraduate student-produced productions, including theater, dance, improv, sketch comedy, and musical performances.  

Training is provided in several phases as the student house managers progress through the program, beginning with an introductory workshop that covers the essential skills necessary for the job.  Throughout the year, intensive training sessions are provided in collaboration with other Yale departments covering topics such as Alcohol Awareness, CPR, First Aid, and Fire Safety. 

The house manager is responsible for ensuring that the theater is clean and orderly before each performance.

He or she is also responsible for the safe passage and conduct of the audience during the entire time that the audience is on the premises of the theater. The house manager determines when the house is ready to open to an audience. The house manager is also responsible for training the ushers and ensuring that they are familiar with the venue, including all routes of egress.

House managers are assigned to productions as soon as UP receives notice of production dates and times. A house managers is responsible for contacting the producer to introduce him or herself  at least two weeks prior to the first performance.

Specific responsibilities of the house manager include:

  • Training the ushers. Ushers are provided by the producer. Two ushers are needed for up to 50 audience seats, and an additional usher for every 50 seats thereafter.
  • Ensuring compliance with fire codes.
  • Seating the house and managing the entry of people who are on the waiting list.
  • Directing the cast, crew, and audience members in the event of an emergency.
  • Enforcing campus policies, such as no smoking in the theaters.

On the night of the performance, the house manager will:

  • Arrive at the theater one hour prior to the start of the performance.
  • Ensure that the appropriate number of ushers with working flashlights are available based on the number of audience seats.
  • Train the ushers in their responsibilities in the event of an emergency.
  • Physically walk all emergency egress routes with all ushers, clearing pathways as necessary.
  • Show the ushers the location of all fire extinguishers, alarm pull stations, and the nearest phone or blue phone.
  • Walk complete audience seating area and remove any obstacles or debris.
  • When deemed appropriate, in consultation with the stage manager and with all ushers in place, open the house to the audience.
  • Keep an accurate count of audience members. All audience members must have a seat; absolutely no standees are allowed in any campus venue. Only the house manager and the ushers are permitted to stand.
  • Ask audience members to discard any food or drink other than water as they enter the house.  In particular, alcohol is not permitted in undergraduate performance venues.
  • Resolve problems that arise due to disorderly or unruly audience members, calling Yale police if necessary.
  • In the event of a sold-out house, additional people must be turned away. No seats may be added beyond those that have been previously approved by the fire inspector.
  • Once the audience is settled indicate to the stage manager that the show may proceed.
  • Ensure that a public announcement is made regarding exit locations, no smoking, photography policy and other relevant information. Safety speech info here.
  • Throughout the performance remain aware of the theater audience in order to respond appropriately and in a timely way to any issue or emergency that may arise.
  • During intermission be sure ushers are at their stations and maintain an awareness of audience members as they move within the venue.
  • After intermission ensure the audience is settled and all aisles are clear before indicating to the stage manager that the performance may resume.
  • At the end of the performance be sure ushers remain at their stations until all audience members have cleared the house.
  • Assist ushers in walking the house and removing any items audience members may have left behind.
  • Dismiss ushers and complete nightly House Manager Report.