New Victory Theater graphic

Upon stepping into our space, some of your first interactions are with the ushers at the New Victory Theater. The ushers are a part of your journey at the theater every step of the way, from greeting you inside the theater to helping you find your seat before the show.

New 42, the nonprofit organization behind New Victory Theater, powers the New 42 Youth Corps, a three-track workforce development program, that launched in 1995 to offer paid employment, job training, academic support, mentorship and an introduction to the performing arts for over 50 young New Yorkers annually. Since then, the program has provided over 400,000+ hours of paid employment to over 660 teens from across the city.

  •  New Victory Usher Corps offers NYC high school students in their junior year (or equivalent) paid employment, workshops and opportunities to experience live theater.
  • New 42 College Corps offers part-time employment in the arts to CUNY undergrads.
  • New 42 Fellow Corps offers former ushers professional guidance and mentorship in arts administration and related fields.

Now until the end of the season, we’re putting the spotlight on the ushers and getting their thoughts on what it’s like to go through this workforce development program through prep work, on-the-job training, workshops and their memorable experiences at the theater with theatergoers like you. For this edition, we’re highlighting Dani, Arianna and Juan.

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Meet Dani, Arianna and Juan!

Ushers standing against the wall

Can you talk about your favorite New 42 Youth Corps workshop? What was that experience like?

Dani: My favorite workshop had to be the White Gold workshop, where we each had to build our instruments with the materials we had been given. I had a fun time just jamming out to the sounds we made with the instruments that we came up with as a group.

Arianna: My favorite workshop was based on last season’s Tulu. Other ushers and I met and spoke with co-founders of Circus Abyssinia (Bibi and Bichu). We discussed the meaning behind Tulu and why the Ethiopian runner Derartu Tulu is very significant in Ethiopia. After getting to know more about Bibi and Bichu, they taught us how to juggle! I got to personally connect more with the other ushers, and now I can say I know how to juggle.

What was your favorite part about working a show at the New Victory Theater?

Arianna: For Card Ninja, it was seeing and hearing all different types of music audience members chose. It’s so funny—the majority picked the same song because they loved to troll Card Ninja Javier. Also, as a Family Engagement usher, I enjoyed seeing kids drawing their own unique decks of cards during the lobby activities. I also enjoyed making my deck of cards!

Juan: I loved the cast of White Gold, especially seeing them smiling and taking the final bow, because they had been here for the holidays and were here to share their arts and culture.

What was your most memorable moment or interaction with a patron at the theater?

Arianna: This sweet interaction I had with a patron, who was about the age of six; he was very welcoming and kind. Walking into the New Victory Theater, he was giving out handshakes to the ushers at ticket scanning and making his parents give handshakes, too. He had the sweetest smile and laugh, and it really made my day. I directed him and his family to their seats, and he asked if it was possible for me to stay and watch the show with him. I will never forget that moment.

Juan: A memorable moment with a patron was when a mom and child recognized me from last season, and the child and the mother would always approach me and say hi to me at every new show.

Why do you think it’s so important to be one of the first greeters a patron sees at the theater?

Dani: I think it’s so important because we are the first thing that they see, so if they see us with a smile on our faces, they are going to be happy and enjoy the show.

Arianna: Being the first greeter a patron sees at the theater is important because you set the mood. When I’m going to places, I like to know that I have the option to ask for help. As a greeter, I have the responsibility to make patrons feel at ease and comfortable. I like to provide essential information that I believe patrons should know before heading into a certain space.

Juan: It’s important to be one of the first greeters a patron sees because first impressions matter. If patrons are warmly welcomed, they are more likely to have a positive attitude throughout their time at the theater because a warm and friendly welcome contributes to the overall ambiance of the theater, making it a more inviting and enjoyable place for patrons.

What’s your favorite story supporting a family at the theater?

Dani: My favorite story has to be seating this family that came in late. I was having a hard time with my flashlight, but they were so understanding and caring and told me to take my time.

Arianna: My favorite story supporting a family at the theater would be when parents try to engage with the lobby activities. I generally find it so sweet when the parents take the time to help their kid spell a particular word or draw a house, for example. I especially find it heartwarming when families go and work with the New Victory Teaching Artist together, like last season when families went on a puppet adventure with the Teaching Artist before Baobab.

Juan: One of my favorite stories of supporting a family was when a patron was leaving the building. She looked like she could use the elevator, so I insisted and told her we have an elevator that she was able to use. She was surprised, and I told her as soon as she got down she wouldn’t have to worry about walking a mile to get to the exit. As she left, she thanked me with a smile.

What’s a memorable part of your job training that you’ll take with you into the next step of your career?

Arianna: Learning how to project my voice, and be patient with others.. I manage a full house from time to time, and so I need to speak to large crowds. Projecting is important because it helps ensure people can hear and understand me, and it also comes in handy in public speaking. Being patient is important in all types of fields. I want to be a physical therapist when I’m older, and being patient will come in handy when I work with different age groups and spectrums of people.

Juan: A memorable part of my job training that I will take into the next steps of my career is learning from my mistakes, working on that area, building from there and doing ten times better.

Dani: Always having an open mind!

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