DCPA leadership welcomes ushers back for 2015-16

DCPA President and CEO Scott Shiller greets volunteers at the 2015 'Usher Kick-Off' at The Jones Theatre. Photo by John Moore.DCPA President and CEO Scott Shiller greets volunteers at the 2015 “Usher Kick-Off” at The Jones Theatre. Photo by John Moore.

The Denver Center for the Performing Arts held a welcome-back party on Aug. 19 for the more than 215 volunteer ushers who will service an estimated 140,000 audience members at the the Bonfils Theatre Complex during the Theatre Company’s 2015-16 season.

“It is vital that our ushers be well-trained, empowered and appreciated, because they are the face of the DCPA,” said Theatre Services Manager Carol Krueger. “Generally, your  first in-person interaction as a DCPA patron is with the usher who greets you when you walk through the door.”

Krueger’s volunteer army specifically services DCPA shows held in the Stage, Space, Jones, Ricketson and Garner-Galleria theatres. Because the City of Denver owns the Buell Theatre and Ellie Caulkins Opera House, the ushers at those venues are paid city-and-county employees. Krueger’s 215 Theatre Company ushers will log more than 18,000 volunteer hours this coming season, in exchange for goodwill and complimentary tickets to Theatre Company shows.

“They really do it because there is an inherent value in volunteering,” Krueger said. “You are giving back to the community and, at the same time, you are helping arts and education in your community.”

The Aug. 19 “Usher Kick-Off” was an ice-cream social that featured guest speakers including DCPA President and CEO Scott Shiller; Producing Artistic Director Kent Thompson; and Theatre Company Director of Marketing Brianna Firestone. Shiller told the ushers the story of how he started his career as a volunteer usher at Boston’s Colonial Theatre right out of college. Thompson took the ushers through what excites him most about each upcoming title on the Theatre Company schedule. 

Those who are interested in ushering opportunities at the DCPA are encouraged to click this link for complete eligibility requirements.

New ushers go through a two-hour orientation where they learn responsibilities and guidelines, tour the facilities and learn about accessibility services and emergency procedures. Each trainee then “shadows” a trained usher for two performances, “and then they are considered full and active ushers,” Krueger said.

Krueger took time at the Aug. 19 gathering to honor the eight ushers who will marking their 20th years of service when the 2015-16 season begins on Sept. 11 with Lookingglass Alice. They are:

  • Claudia Jones
  • David Rochlin
  • Judith Bruner
  • Karen Zeldin
  • Kim Barton
  • Maggie Headrick
  • Sharon Schwarz
  • Sherry Timm

“We value all of our ushers, and we appreciate all the time and energy that they give,” Krueger said.


DCPA Theatre Company’s Longest-Serving Ushers:

  • Pat Frederiksen, 26 seasons
  • Carol Sellman, 24 seasons
  • Marty Jewell, 24 seasons
  • Ginny Schireson, 23 seasons
  • Barbara Pohlen, 23 seasons
  • June Clayton, 23 seasons
  • Bonnie Semple, 22 seasons
  • Patty Graner, 22 seasons
  • Mary Mauck, 22 seasons
  • Arlene Flannery, 21 seasons

Photos from the 2015 “Usher Kick-Off” at The Jones Theatre. Photos by John Moore.

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