Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Welcome back, students!!!

Hope everyone's enjoying their first days of the new year!  This final "Helpful Guides" post is specifically for students in music or any other programs/classes where there is a requirement for attending performances.

Some classes will provide tickets free of charge, which are usually funded by a fee that is assessed when registering for the course.  However, for some performing arts majors (including music performance), students are required to attend a certain number of shows per semester...sometimes without complimentary tickets.  This might be okay for free shows like some of the recitals in Smith Hall, but what if you want or even need to see some performances at Krannert?

Granted, Krannert Center tickets are never more than $10 for students, which is cool.  But if you saw even half of your required "Big 10" shows at Krannert, that would be up to $50 for the semester.  On top of your other tuition, housing, book, supplies, and miscellaneous costs.

The solution to that?  Become an usher!

Ushering requires minimal commitment: you follow the steps of usher registration on our website, sign up once registration begins, show up a little early to put on a vest and hand out programs, and boom.  You get to see the show, you have access to programs which you may need for your assignments, and it's all for free.

If you want to do more than that, you might also consider attending our General Meetings (basically, social activities and special tours of Krannert Center—first meeting is Sept. 19th at 6pm!).  But that's totally up to you.

If you have any questions, please consult the FAQ or Usher Manual on our website, or email us at

Happy show-seeing!

Megan Vescio
KCSA President

Posted on Wednesday, August 30, 2017 by KCSA: The Krannert Center Student Association

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Friday, August 18, 2017

Yup, that is most certainly me looking extra nerdy snazzy in a Krannert Center
ushering uniform for our News-Gazette feature last year.
Don't be freaked out by the word "etiquette"—this isn't Downton Abbey, and there isn't a whole system of dos and dont's you have to memorize.  But the position of usher in a performing arts venue is a formal one, so there are just a few things to keep in mind that might seem a little unusual at first, but will come easily to you after your first couple of shifts.

Krannert Center will provide a black vest.  Here's what you'll need to add to your packing list:
  • A white, long-sleeved dress shirt (blouse, regular button-up like I'm wearing in the above photo, etc.)
  • Black dress bottoms (pants or skirt/hose is fine)
  • Black dress shoes
  • Black ties are optional
  • Jewelry and hair pieces are fine
Here are some examples of things that DON'T fit this dress code:
  • Short-sleeved/sleeveless shirts (3/4 is fine)
  • Black jeans or leggings
  • Gym shoes
  • High heels, while acceptable if they're formal, are strongly discouraged since they impede your ability to move quickly and stand for long periods of time

When you sign up for a show, the signup start time is something we refer to as a "call time".  Usually set 45min to an hour before the show, this is when you need to be ready to start your shift.  It is NOT merely the time you need to get to Krannert Center—the call time is when you will meet with your supervisor and your fellow ushers for the evening.  Thus, you need to be sure that you arrive at Krannert with enough time to check in and pick up your vest BEFORE the call time.

We generally recommend arriving 10-15min before the call time.  Call times vary from show to show, so check the SignUpGenius slot to be sure!

I've been singing in choirs for almost 10 years now, so the whole
"5 minutes early is 10 minutes late" thing just became a part of my routine.
I have to consciously force myself to be "fashionably late" for social gatherings.

Your job is basically to interact with patrons, help the Krannert staff keep the seating process running smoothly, and set a good example for proper performance etiquette.  Since Krannert asks that patrons do not use their phones during performances, it's a good idea for ushers to not use their phones while they are on their shifts (even if you're not in the theatre yet).  Krannert shows are a good reason to "unplug" anyway!

All this technology can be so overwhelming.
Photo comes from the BBC
In our email newsletter (which you can subscribe to here—hint hint), I have a "Tip of the Week" section where I write about various things related to ushering, registration, general meetings, policies KCSA has as an RSO, and general Krannert Center hacks.  I always welcome suggestions, too!

These are just a few major things that sometimes trip people up (even the experienced ushers).  We understand humans are fallible, so don't feel like you have to behave like the #1 perfect usher 100% of the time.  Some general effort into dressing and behaving appropriately will go a long way in making everyone's experience—yours and the patrons'—more enjoyable.  And that's what it's all about, right?

Please contact us if you have any questions!  Or, better yet: write them down and bring it up at our Info Meeting.  If you're wondering, other people probably are as well.

Megan Vescio
KCSA President

Posted on Friday, August 18, 2017 by KCSA: The Krannert Center Student Association

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Sunday, August 13, 2017

By now, you've probably clicked that giant "JOIN KCSA" button to find instructions on how to become one of the crew.  The most important steps on there, by far, include filling out the new member registration form, signing up for email newsletters, completing the usher training, and getting an account on SignUpGenius.  That's pretty much the bare minimum of what you need to become an usher.

If you're having trouble with any steps of registration, you can always email us at, and you could also attend our Info Session if you happen to be available on Tuesday, August 29th at 6pm.  (Link to Facebook event here!)

In case you missed it on the Joining KCSA page, we do have instructions on how to enroll in a Compass Course.  If you're having trouble with this, you're not alone.  Normally our professors enroll us in Compass courses so it's weird when we have to do it ourselves!  If the instructions aren't helping, please email us or come to our info session and we can help you out.

The Home Page of the Usher Training Course

There are five training modules—four filled with important information on ushering duties and procedures, and a final module with contact information.  The first four each have quizzes, and each quiz has five questions worth 1 point each.  This means the training, in total, is worth 20 points.  You need all 20 to be able to complete the training—thankfully, the material is not that difficult and you can retake the quizzes as many times as needed.

The five modules.  Only the first four have quizzes.
At the end of each of the first four modules is a quiz on that module.
It can be retaken as many times as you need to get all 5 of 5 points.
4 quizzes x 5pts each = 20pts and status as a Krannert Center usher!
It usually takes ~45min total to complete and includes a lot of information that will be useful to you on the job (how venues are laid out, where the bathrooms are, operating hours, emergency procedures, etc.).  As you can see, I decided to split it up between a couple days, but I probably could have gotten it all done in one sitting if I'd wanted to.  It's "graded" immediately and once you get the 20 points, you're good to go.

The best part about the quiz: you only have to take it once for the entire time you're at U of I!  If you ever want to review for your own benefit, the course will always be listed in your Compass account.

By now, you've hopefully registered for your free SignUpGenius account or are planning to.  If you've filled out the KCSA Usher Registration Form and completed the usher training, you will receive an email during the week of September 4th (we stagger registration for shows based on seniority, with the most experienced ushers getting earlier access) inviting you to sign up for shows.  You then will be able to sign in to your SignUpGenius account, find the form under "My Sign Ups", pick your shows and submit!

The Fall 2017 Ushering Signup is not yet available, but you can see some of the past and non-ushering signups in my account.  This page usually pops up when you log in but can also be accessed by clicking "Sign Ups" in the side bar.
While the ushering signup will look different from this (with shows instead of volunteer shifts), you can see how to select various time slots, see what you're signed up for already, and edit/delete your sign ups.

If you sign up to usher a show and find you cannot make it, please remove yourself from that slot ASAP (preferably 24hrs in advance).  If you do not show up for a show but have not removed your name, you will be considered a "no-show", which will add a penalty of -1pt to your status as an usher (this basically means you'll be less likely to receive end-of-semester prizes and it will take longer to gain seniority to sign up for shows earlier in future semesters).

Please don't hesitate to email us with any questions you might have—and we hope to see you around Krannert in a few weeks!

Megan Vescio
KCSA President

Posted on Sunday, August 13, 2017 by KCSA: The Krannert Center Student Association

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