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An usher is a person who shows people where to sit, especially at a theatre or when attending a wedding. An example of an usher is a person who is friends with the groom who directs people where to sit as they enter the church for a wedding.
In the United Kingdom, a variety of titles for courtiers in the Royal Household include the word usher. In England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland, from the early sixteenth century until at least the end of the nineteenth century, the term denoted an assistant to a schoolmaster or head-teacher; an under-master, assistant-master. In such use, however, the term is now rare.
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Ushers assist visitors by formally showing the way in a large building or to their appropriate seats. This may coincide with a security role.
At weddings, friends of the groom and bride may be recruited to direct guests at the ceremony, and generally be available for assistance.
Ushers help those in attendance at entertainment and sporting events in theatres and stadiums. Duties include checking tickets, directing people to their assigned seats, distributing programmes, answering questions and assisting people in finding restrooms and refreshments.
According to the United States Department of Labor, ushers, lobby attendants and ticket takers earn an average wage of $8.41 an hour and $17,500 a year. Approximately 102,000 are employed in this line of work. Most of these workers are employed by the motion picture and video industries, secondly they work in the performing arts and sporting events venues.
Other jobs also come under the name 'Usher', such as baseball field personnel. A field usher coordinates not only the baseball diamond grounds but also the stadium itself.
Ushers are also expected to help with security and to ensure that only people with proper authority have access to backstage areas. Ushers also monitor the crowds and can summon security when needed.
In cinemas and theaters, it was common for ushers to check tickets and show people to their seats to watch the film being shown. If actually during the film, when lights were dimmed, the usher would shine a torch to light the row of seating in question.
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