Box office management class offers new avenue for theater students

Lindenwood+box+office+is+located+in+the+lobby+of+the+J.+Scheidegger+Center.+It%27s+open+from+Monday+to+Friday+9+a.m.+to+5+p.m.+and+on+the+nights+of+shows+also+two+hours+prior+to+the+show.++%3Cbr%3E+Photo+by+Essi+Auguste+Virtanen
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Box office management class offers new avenue for theater students

Lindenwood box office is located in the lobby of the J. Scheidegger Center. It's open from Monday to Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on the nights of shows also two hours prior to the show.   Photo by Essi Auguste Virtanen

Lindenwood box office is located in the lobby of the J. Scheidegger Center. It's open from Monday to Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on the nights of shows also two hours prior to the show.
Photo by Essi Auguste Virtanen

Lindenwood box office is located in the lobby of the J. Scheidegger Center. It's open from Monday to Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on the nights of shows also two hours prior to the show.
Photo by Essi Auguste Virtanen

Lindenwood box office is located in the lobby of the J. Scheidegger Center. It's open from Monday to Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on the nights of shows also two hours prior to the show.
Photo by Essi Auguste Virtanen

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ESSI AUGUSTE VIRTANEN | Editor-in-Chief

Students have a chance to take a box-office management class this fall, which can help theater students see opportunities beyond the stage.

Tony White, box-office and patron services manager at Lindenwood, said if the students are onstage or backstage all the time, they don’t see theater from a patron’s point of view.

“That’s what we’re here for,” White said. “We’re trying to make sure that the patron has the best opportunity to come in and enjoy everything from start to finish.”

The one-credit class that White will teach includes lecturing and assisting with the work at the box office and in-house management.

White said box-office management means generally everything business- and ticket-related, from sales to ticketing systems. House management entails customer service from the moment a patron enters the venue and leaves, including ushering and emergency care, if needed.

White said this class is a good way for students to get their feet wet within the industry after college. He has seen students who have worked at the box office at Lindenwood get positions at professional venues locally and around the country because of the experience.

Former Lindenwood acting student John Fisher started as the box-office coordinator at Lindenwood in June of this year. His duties include working with the student workers, engaging in day-to-day sales and participating in co-coordination of the show matinees. Fisher said the box-office management class is a good way to do a “mini internship” for students and learn hands-on in a safe environment. 
Photo by Essi Auguste Virtanen

One of these students is John Fisher, who worked in the Lindenwood box office as a student worker and graduated in December 2016 with a bachelor’s of fine arts degree in acting. He started working as a box-office attendant at Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre in January.

This June, he also started working as the box-office coordinator at Lindenwood.

He said he thinks the class will give good experience to students outside the theater, including customer service, clerical and organizational skills.

“It doesn’t just apply for getting your foot in the door to other box offices,” he said. “It can be getting your foot in the door in any kind of office setting whilst still being in a theater-related job. So it’s a nice transitional job.”

White said another reason box offices are good workplaces for theater students is because they are generally 9-to-5 jobs, which leaves them the time to perform in shows during the evenings.

The box office currently has three student workers on staff. Lindenwood actors Hannah Pauluhn (back) and Victoria Rossi are two of them. Their major duty is customer service.
Photo by Essi Auguste Virtanen

It’s a good way to supplement your income,” he said, adding that they can make their paycheck at the box office during the day, then perform to the same people they sold tickets to that night.

He also said having actors working in box offices creates special bonds between the actor and patrons when they recognize the actors.

“You get to see behind the veil as a patron,” White said.

He said this class can also be useful to students from “a wide range of degrees,” like business, to see ticketing, sales and management standpoints. 

“It’s also a great way to diversify yourself and to see what else is out there that you might have not experienced before,” he said. “Particularly with the house management side and coming to see some shows.”

TA38807 “Special Topics: Box Office Management” late-start class will begin Oct. 9. The class has 12 spots in total. For more information, contact Tony White at [email protected]