By Audrey Rowland
The first time Arimelec Oquendo came to Trinity Repertory Company, he was in fifth grade, on a school trip to see a Project Discovery performance of A Christmas Carol. Among the many people that made that experience possible were the ushers, who made sure that everything was in place for the kids to enjoy the show. Oquendo did; he remembers the day as “full of joy.” In addition to classes as a senior at Rhode Island College, Oquendo is also an usher at Trinity Rep himself, where he helps others to enjoy themselves as much as he did. Between the 2018-19 Season and the end of this season’s The Prince of Providence, Oquendo has completed 18 volunteer usher shifts, an exceptional number compared to the 10 shifts required of each usher per season.
“As an usher,” he says, “I get to answer patron questions, hand out programs, help find seats, and strive to provide the best Trinity Rep experience every time I’m there.” The Trinity Rep experience starts when an audience member enters the theater doors. As Usher Coordinator Steve Lehrer notes, “Our volunteer ushers are always among the first people that our patrons at Trinity Rep interact with.” Front of House Manager Bradly Widener couldn’t agree more. “From seating our patrons to providing an extra set of eyes and ears to our front of house staff,” he notes, “our ushers are an integral part of our team.”
It’s not easy to balance the stress of student life with ushering, but through careful scheduling and time management, Oquendo makes it work. Despite the logistical difficulties of ushering so often, the opportunity it provides to help others is priceless. “The number of people I help find seats every show is amazing,” Oquendo says. As his completed shifts pile up, that cumulative number of patrons seems even more incredible. At Trinity Rep, we care about everyone’s experience, and so we’re grateful for our volunteers, who help make each patron’s time with us special. Thank you, Arimelec!
To find out more about volunteer ushering at Trinity Rep, visit www.trinityrep.com/volunteer/. We hope to see you at the theater!