Even theatres in the West End say they wouldn’t be able to survive without their local volunteers. So whether you’re looking to gain work experience, make new friends, or just give something back to the community, volunteering at your local theatre is one of the more unusual ways of doing #BagsMore near you.

Most of the time, the only skills you need are enthusiasm and a genuine passion for arts and culture – but if you’re looking for ways to flex your creative muscles too, you’re in the right place.

Group of children enjoying drama club rehearsal.

1. Ushering / front of house

Volunteering as an usher is about much more than just showing people to their seats. At the Lowry Theatre in Salford, for example, volunteers are known as VIPs, and can work as fire marshals, merchandise sellers, ticket checkers, cloakroom operators, and ambassadors for the theatre. So if you’re looking for a way to get stuck in that’s different every day, ushering could be the role for you. They tend to be recruited seasonally, or around big events and launches, so keep an eye on your local theatre’s website to see when they’re hiring.

2. Marketing

Marketing is vital when it comes to publicising the theatre’s work and bringing in those all-important ticket sales. So if you’re skilled at design, photography or writing, you could lend a hand with creating newsletters and brochures. Plus wherever you live, from the city centre to out in the sticks, you could help distribute posters and flyers. As well as using your skills to support the local arts scene, you might just learn a thing or two about the kinds of productions and workshops that go on near you, and take part in the future yourself.

Woman on sewing machine

3. Creating

From painting scenery to sewing costumes, makeup to prop-making, lighting to sound, creative volunteers really help local theatres to thrive. As well as meeting new people and gaining valuable new experiences, you’ll be able to develop your skills and, in some cases, watch productions for free as a ‘thank you’ for your hard work. 

So if you’re looking for a new hobby, there could be a volunteering role on your doorstep which is perfect for you. Just get in touch with your local theatre to find out what’s available. 

Are you a theatre volunteer in your community? Share your experiences with us on Facebook or Twitter.