All the world’s a (volunteering) stage – well, almost. If you're looking to get your foot on the first rung of the theatre ladder, or you just have a general interest in theatre or the arts, volunteering is a great way to get experience. It can give you a chance to meet and work with people already in the industry, and get to see shows for free.

Most theatres take on volunteers, so the best way to get started may be to get in touch with your local theatre or arts venue. Or try these ideas:

  • If you’re aged 16-25, the National Youth Theatre has a volunteer programme. From mentoring to helping out with national auditions – there are lots of ways to get involved.
  • The Orange Tree Theatre in Richmond, Surrey are always on the look out for front-of-house ushers as well as with marketing and admin.
  • The Brewhouse theatre in Taunton, Somerset owes its very existence to the hard work and dedication of a team of volunteers who campaigned and raised the money needed to build the theatre and arts centre. When the theatre opened it had one full time member of staff and 450 volunteers! Join the team of regular volunteers and sell tickets in the box office, hang pictures in the galleries, maintain the garden area or help out with their marketing.
  • Volunteer with the Harrogate Theatre in North Yorkshire and be an usher, distribute posters, archive materials, or lend a hand with mail shots and poster distribution. There is no upper age limit on becoming an usher, but you would need to think about the late finishing time and getting home safely after the show.
  • Prefer your theatre to be performed outdoors, come rain or shine? Then how about joining the Open Air Theatre’s Volunteer Scheme in Regent’s Park, London?
  • If meeting and greeting is more your thing, volunteers are often needed by Trinity Theatre in Tunbridge Wells. You can do anything from selling programmes and ice creams, to ushering and working in the box office.
  • The Barbican Theatre in Plymouth need volunteers to usher and help out around the theatre as well as get involved in projects and performances.
  • The New Wolsely Theatre in Ipswich have a growing team of volunteer ushers. Ideally, you’ll be over 18 and be free one or two nights a week, and if possible for daytime matinees.
  • Got lots of creative ideas, aged 14-21 and energy to burn? Then how about being an Arts Ambassador for the De La Warr Pavilion in East Sussex. You’ll be part of an advisory board to give your views and feedback on issues relating to young people. You can devise and run your own projects and be involved in running the ‘Access All Areas’ festival, celebrating the best of youth arts and culture.

Love gigs? Then why not become an usher and get to see all your favourite acts up close and personal.

The Roundhouse in London is always in need of front of house volunteers to sell programmes and see the audience into the auditorium before events start.

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