Behind the Box Office

Behind the Box Office

Ever wondered why the Box Office is called a Box Office? Michael, our Deputy Box Office Manager, talks about life in the customer facing seat for Love Theatre Day.

Why did you want to work in theatre? 
I always wanted to work in theatre because of my love for the arts. I especially wanted to work at Hull Truck Theatre; it’s always felt like a second home since I was sixteen and a member of the Youth Theatre, which was almost ten years ago now.

What’s an average day like for the Box Office team?
The average day on the Box Office always starts with the daily struggle of what music to play in the building. You always know I’m on shift if either Fleetwood Mac is playing or upbeat tunes from the 80s are blasting out! Throughout the day it’s answering the phones and selling tickets to our upcoming shows. Juggling emails, tickets and customers is one big circus act which can get incredibly busy, but it’s the love of the job that keeps you on your toes and brings you back every day, as no two days are ever the same.   

Why do you think a Box Office is called a Box Office?
Theatre nerd fact – it’s called a Box Office because of the wealthy patrons who would buy balcony boxes for the whole season at the theatre. Tickets were conveniently held near the entrance in what became known as the Box Office.  

What happens in the Box Office to get ready for a show?
Getting ready for a show starts around an hour before. We print off all the tickets that people have requested to be collected on the evening and put them all in alphabetical order. Then we go over any notes about the performance we may need to remind customers about, may that be age restrictions, language or any content regarding the performance. By this point our audience members start to arrive, and some will collect their tickets early and take a seat with a drink, others will turn up just on time as the performance is about to start - but that’s all the fun of working on the box office.

What’s it like when a really popular show goes on sale?
It’s madness in the Box Office! For instance, The Last Testament of Lillian Bilocca was bound to be busy because it’s a show with such a strong connection to Hull, but you couldn’t have guessed there would be a huge line of people waiting inside the foyer for 2pm to strike and the tickets to go on sale. The phone was ringing off the hook. To call it chaos would be an understatement, though it was exciting to see a show of ours sell out within an hour of going on sale. When you see the smiles on our patrons’ faces after seeing a show, or coming back into the box office to tell us about their amazing experience, that makes the job so satisfying.

If you had to swap your job with someone else in the theatre for a day, what would you choose?
If I was going to swap my job with anyone in the building I think it would have to be with a member of the backstage team, maybe a Stage Manager. Working on a show that closely I think would be challenging and fascinating.