Isabel Tucker Brown
Thursday 25 April 2019

A Day in the Life of... our Deputy Theatre Manager!

It's time for the second in our A Day in the Life of... blog series, and we've jumped from the Box Office counter to our Maynard Bar as we chat with our Deputy Theatre Manager Isabel Tucker Brown.

Our Front of House department are responsible for our customers having the best possible experience when they visit the theatre to watch a show. From your pre-show cocktail, interval ice-cream to simply taking your seat in the auditorium, our hardworking FOH team are responsible for each performance running smoothly and everyone in the building. 

How long have you worked at Cambridge Arts Theatre? Two and a half years.

What made you want to work within the theatre industry? I fell into the industry by chance, whilst finding myself a part-time job. I fell in love with the buzz of a busy show, and the satisfaction of ensuring our patrons can enjoy an evening out.

What's your favourite piece of theatre you've ever seen at Cambridge Arts Theatre? Very recently we welcomed English Touring Theatre's production of Equus, and it absolutely blew me away! I also love coming to our annual Christmas pantomime with my family, my little sister always gets a shout out from the cast.

Describe a typical working day?...

12pm: It's a well-known fact that the Front of House team are allergic to mornings. We work rather nocturnal hours; very often my work day starts after a relaxing lunch at home with my son (who is a cat). 

2pm: I cycle to work and collect my keys from Stage Door. I check the till floats for change and pop to the bank - or talk nicely to our Finance Officer Liz - to stock up on fivers and pound coins. 

3pm: In the stockroom I make note of any drinks or food that we need to order for the upcoming week. Depending on the type of show, I'll call our suppliers and order everything from coffee beans to cleaning products, and ginger ice-creams to gin!

4.30pm: I start setting up our three bars ready for the evening's show. I make sure everything's fully stocked and that a member of staff is ready to start serving on our Maynard Bar at 6pm. I also help to prepare our pre-ordered Buffet Boxes for customers to enjoy before the show. The gorgeous smell of pork pies cooking always makes me peckish, so I grab a snack before the Front of House briefing. 

6.45pm: Before each shift we have a short briefing with our Front of House staff and volunteers - there's usually about 15 of us in total. We talk through the show times, the late-comers call, any special effects or content (nudity always gets an "ohhhhh!" reaction!), and what each person's duties will be during the shift.

7.45pm: The evening's show begins once we radio backstage to give clearance once everyone's seated, and we always feel proud when we're ready perfectly on time. During the show, we prepare interval orders and restock the bars, and during the interval I hop onto each bar to help serve customers if it's busy. After the interval, I cash up the tills and bank our takings for the evening. I check my FitBit and realise I'm nearing 20,000 steps!

10.30pm: On opening night, we host post-show drinks for the cast and crew, members of Theatre staff and our Individual and Corporate Supporters. I work behind the bar, it's a great opportunity to welcome the week's Visiting Company to Cambridge and to congratulate them on a successful opening night. 

12am: Once people start to head home I close down the bar and assist our Stage Door Keeper with the lockdown routine of the theatre. We shut the fire doors, say goodnight to the Theatre Ghost (Kevin), and set the intruder alarm overnight.

Thanks Isabel!

Click here to read A Day in the Life of... our Box Office Supervisor Mary!