Standing ovations for Laura Fear

Laura Fear is 25 years old and lives just outside of Cardiff. She signed up to our volunteering scheme back in 2017 and has since become one of our top volunteers, clocking up over 62 shifts in a matter of months. We put together some questions and had a chat with her to find out just what makes her keep coming back!

How did you hear about the Centre’s volunteer scheme?

I found out about it on the Centre’s Twitter page, in around April. I began my training in June, along with the first batch of volunteers that signed up to the scheme. I was nervous about starting, I wasn’t sure what to expect. The training was really reassuring, it was really good. It made me feel fully prepared for the voluntary position as it was so well organised. 

Have you done any volunteering before? If yes, what?

Yes, I’ve done a few little things, community-based roles and some involving music.

Volunteering at the centre started off as a couple shifts here and there – the bare minimum I could get away with doing but I got pulled in. Now it’s part of my routine. I do about 3-4 shifts a week, as many as I can do. I’m just lucky my boss is so understanding! I come from an art and music background and volunteering has been a really positive experience which has strengthened my love for theatre. I now see the Centre in a completely different way.

Why did you want to volunteer for the Centre?

I wanted to give a little bit back, to the centre, but I’ve had so much more in return. My view on theatre has changed for the better, I now notice everything, and it has put things in a different light completely.

What’s a typical shift like?

Arrive, a brief from operation, key points and main features of the show are discussed to inform customers, we are assigned our entry points and finally, any questions we have are asked.

We then go out to the theatre and do seat checks. The people start to arrive, and we show them to their seats and answer any questions they may have. The show then opens and we watch the audience. During the interval we act as a first point of call for the audience, and this is the bit where we get to know them, it’s my favourite bit. We’re here to answer any questions, and it’s the best chance to talk to them. The show then ends and we wait for everyone to leave. It’s great as there’s always such a buzz, it’s great to be so close to that. If there’s another show on up next, we do another seat check. 

What shows have you had access to in the last year?

I’ve had access to such a variety of shows. I’ve laughed, and I’ve cried. Each show brings its own challenge. For example, ushering for Rhod Gilbert was a completely different to ushering for Slava. And then you have something like Tiger Bay, which just brought a completely different buzz to the Centre as people know so much about the back story and they could relate. Then there’s something like The Bear in the Weston studio before Christmas, and that had me in tears! And then of course you have the operas – there really is something for everyone. I’ve worked a lot of shows that I wouldn’t have necessarily chosen to go to myself, but I’ve ended up really surprise a I found myself really enjoying every single one of them.

What’s been a highlight for you?

There have been so many highlights! People’s reactions have meant a lot to me and affected me far more than I was expecting them to. I will also never get over seeing the casts’ reactions to standing ovations. Seeing the whole crowd rise and applaud because they’ve been moved by the performance is something really special. The customer experience team have also been so wonderful and helpful. Working in the centre has been such a great experience, the building is incredible and we’re so lucky to have it. The people I’ve met along the way have been fantastic, and that includes all the management, they’re so passionate!

How has volunteering at the Centre benefited you?

Volunteering at the Centre has given me the confidence to try new things, ones that are out of my comfort zone. I feel as though it has really opened my eyes to what’s around me, and that I’m aware of more things.

How do you think volunteering at the Centre will help you in the future?

It’s shown me that’s it’s important to keep pushing yourself into things you wouldn’t normally do, that’s something that I will continue to do. It’s given so much more experience in dealing with people and it has shown me what you can learn from others.

What would you say to recruit other people to volunteer at the Centre?

Do it. It becomes so much more than just the shows. I’ve have way more from this experience than I thought I would get. You really don’t get the full worth of the shows and everything behind them until you’re thrown into it and you can see everything form all aspects. The lighting, the sound, the customers, the buzz you feel. It’s a very special thing.

When people think about a charity, it is not often they think about arts institutions and theatres, many of which, are charities themselves. Laura has been an incredible asset to our voluntary team over the past few months, and we couldn’t be more pleased to have her on board. If you’d like to find out more about the work that Laura does and how to join the team, click here.