“Do you own this place?’: Starry-eyed children can be quite bowled over when they come into the theatre for the first time. They often want to talk to the usher who is there to greet them. You may have to explain that no, sadly, you aren’t the owner of this magic space. You hear about a child’s previous visits; a shy first-timer will need reassurance. You must be tactful but firm about seating arrangements. “Adults close to the wall, please, in order not to block a child’s sight line” – you get used to saying it. Wearing the famous Little Angel black T-shirt gives you visibility and, perhaps, a little authority.
You may be called on to help with the door if characters make an entrance or exit using the main aisle. Children usually find this extra exciting. During the recent Ugly Duckling show, there were gasps as the newly beautiful swan “flew” towards the stage.
Some children are very interested in how things happen, or appear to happen; others want it to be mysterious. You can feel the frisson when the lights go out, the chatter dies down, and the puppeteers step forward – and however many times you usher the same show – it ‘s never dull, the show evolves, the children react differently.
When you leave the theatre and hear the children playing outside talking about the show it’s obvious they have had an experience they won’t forget. You have played a tiny part in it; temporarily you’ve been part of something special that is renowned far and wide as well as being dear to the hearts of the local community.
Find out more about volunteering at Little Angel here.