Audience Experience Manager
POSITION: Audience Experience Manager, Lookingglass Theatre Company
REPORTS TO: Director of Marketing
CLASSIFICATION: Full Time, Exempt
As one of the country’s largest ensemble theatres dedicated to the creation of new work, Lookingglass Theatre Company seeks to redefine the theatrical experience and to make theatre more exhilarating, inspirational, and accessible to all. Founded in 1988 by a group of Northwestern University theatre graduates, Lookingglass moved into its permanent home in the historic Water Tower Water Works on Chicago’s Michigan Avenue in 2003. Now in its 34th Season, the Company is a respected source for story-centered theatrical work that is evocative, physical, and visually rich.
With a roster of 29 Ensemble Members and 22 Artistic Associates, Lookingglass productions are centered on ensemble with training in theatre, dance, music, and circus arts. Through its powerful, original theatre, the Company's goal is to fire the imagination with love, to celebrate the human capacity to taste and smell, weep and laugh, create and destroy, and wake up where we first fell—changed, charged and empowered.
The Lookingglass Audience Experience Manager oversees all aspects of the audience experience and operations for the company. This person will have the primary day-to-day responsibility for understanding the needs of Lookingglass’s diverse and intergenerational audiences and consistently qualitatively and quantitatively sharing that knowledge with colleagues throughout the organization. This person is deeply invested in the patron path from initial introduction to the theatre to the audience experience in the theatre and following the show.
They are responsible for the personnel, policies and procedures that provide the highest level of customer service and safety to 55,000 audience members annually. This role takes a lead on applying best practices for front of house management, customer service, and pre-and post-show planning and communications. They take a lead on audience development initiatives with goals of making audiences feel welcome and safe coming back to theatre following the COVID pause, and making theatre accessible to all as we strive to be an anti-racist organization.
Primary responsibilities include management of front of house and concessions staff, leading merchandise sales planning and ordering, budgeting, and scheduling. Championing accessibility and helping implement organization wide is key to this position. This role centers on building a welcoming patron experience as we seek to engage our current audience and reach new audiences.
Primary Duties and Responsibilities
Front of House
• Lead front of house operations, including patron safety, ticketing, and contribute to conversations regarding all aspects that patrons encounter while at the theatre (COVID safety, concessions, restrooms, intermission, entry, etc.)
• Coordinate scheduling with the volunteer ushers Saints and staff
• Hire, schedule, and train house management staff to ensure patron safety and comfort
• Coordinate with leadership on patron safety regarding returning to Michigan Avenue
• Update, maintain, and train emergency evacuation plans
• Manage partnerships with local parking garages to acquire discounted rates and disseminate information to audiences, staff, and company
• Support WTWW facilities items, such as ordering and receiving supplies as needed
• On-site support for performances
• Adherence to and participate in implementation of Lookingglass’ COVID protocols
• Check vaccine requirements of patrons and Saints
Merchandise and Concessions
• Oversee the ordering and planning of all concessions, bar, and merchandizing (when we are able to add these back to the theatre experience) in collaboration with Director of Marketing aligned with organizational goals
• Maintain online merchandise store and create in person merchandise proposals aligned with income goals
• Perform quarterly inventories of merchandise and concessions stock
• Hire, schedule, and train concessions and merchandise staff
• Lead the planning and executing of performance-based accessibility initiatives, including audio description, touch tours, open captioning, assistive hearing devices, Braille playbills, large print playbills and audio playbills.
• Lead touch tours before audio described performances.
• Coordinate with Director of Production and Sales and Ticketing Manager to develop a seating chart specific to each production, addressing income goals, accessibility issues and possible limited visibility, and presented for approval to the Director of Marketing and Executive Director.
• Serve as lead liaison with other Lookingglass departments to ensure effective communication between key divisions and dissemination of important audience information
Audience Development and Customer Service
• Act as an ambassador for the Theatre and its role in service to the public, both internally and externally
• Collaborate to develop audience service/ticketing protocol for each performance
• Lead research and make best practices proposals for audience and accessibility topics, including potential growth areas for the company, such as: customer service practices, audience safety procedures pertaining to reopening.
• Champion COVID safety plan and communication regarding procedures for audience path
• Network with other audience services leaders in the city and keeping up to speed on effective practices
• Analyze and report on patron and survey data
• Maintain patron relationships, responding to email and voicemail
• Collaborate across departments to develop and maintain standards of accessibility for streaming programing and social media posts
• Coordinate with all Departments in the planning and execution of special events and receptions in the theatre; manage on site events as needed
• Project manage research on audience and accessibility topics, including potential growth areas for the company, such as: customer service practices, extended footprint in Water Tower Water Works, facilities, and audience safety procedures
• Track and disseminate accurate and up-to-date audience attendance data.
• Provide audience statistics for grants, TCG survey, and other requests from Development and Business Office.
• Coordinate group sales process including research and identify new audience segments and plan/execute communication campaigns to increase group sales opportunities
• Assist in planning, production, and distribution of group sales promotional materials
• Coordinate logistics and be on site as needed for auxiliary programming related to group sales, including post-show discussions, restaurant recommendations, pre- or post-show receptions, etc.
• Participate in all team meetings
• Participate in organization-wide anti-racism work and incorporate an anti-racist lens into daily practice. Lookingglass recognizes that it has much to do towards being an anti-racist and a more equitable institution. This work, by the Board, Ensemble, and staff, is ongoing and is publicly reflected here: Anti-Racism, Equity, and Inclusion Statement – Lookingglass Theatre Company. (https://lookingglasstheatre.org/aeistatement/)
The Audience Experience Manager plays a key role in the return of audiences to Lookingglass Theatre and as such, the position requires on site management. Throughout the run of a production, the work week will be Sundays through Thursdays (noon-8PM on show days, 9AM-5PM on non-show days).
When not in performance, the work week will be 9AM-5PM. When there are special events, including press or celebration opening, the schedule will be adjusted to support the needs of the events. This role will cross train as backup for Box Office management. As COVID requirements subside, the schedule may shift as to be discussed.
• Excellent oral and written communication skills
• Experience in handling customer service inquiries
• Experience in de-escalation and anti-racism work
• Diplomacy, teamwork, and personal accountability
• Skill in effectively managing a team
• The ability to manage multiple tasks simultaneously, and prioritize
• The ability to work under tight deadlines
• Attention to detail and accuracy
• The ability to demonstrate initiative, to begin working on tasks under pressure, and to meet deadlines.
• Passion for the arts a plus
• Ability to work remotely with Lookingglass provided equipment day-to-day
• Current COVID-19 vaccination is mandatory before onboarding, unless a reasonable accommodation is requested and granted in accordance with Lookingglass policy.
• Health Insurance (choice of PPO or HMO; Organization covers the cost of 95% of the HMO plan. If PPO plan is elected, staff members pays the difference between the PPO plan and 95% of the HMO plan. This is reevaluated annually in July with the adoption of the health plan).
• Vision & Rx plan;
• 12 paid holidays (including Juneteenth and Election Day);
• Vacation, Personal, Sick and floating holidays, including birthday.
• In recognition of the unplanned costs incurred by working from home, Employee may be eligible for a monthly reimbursement of $30.00 to be evaluated and paid quarterly. Eligibility will be based on the evolution of Lookingglass’ work from home policies and availability of and access to Lookingglass-provided work resources for this position, such as a brick-and-mortar office space.
Lookingglass Theatre Company is an Equal Opportunity Employer. We provide equal employment opportunities (EEO) to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, national origin, age, genetics, or status as an individual with a disability. We welcome applications from all qualified applicants.
To be considered, please send cover letter, resume, and three references to Maggie McNamara, Director of Marketing, at email@example.com with “Audience Experience Manager” in the subject line. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until the position is filled.