Tickets Tips and Tricks
So as you can probably gather I go to the theatre a lot and not all of the tickets I get through the blog. People are therefore constantly asking me how I afford it so I thought I would share with you some tips.
Day seats allows you to turn up on the day and buy tickets for your chosen show for between £7.50 – £30 which is often a heavily reduced price. Shows that do have day seats will have a limited number and the popularity of the show will depend on how quickly the day seats go. For example on the Saturday for the final performance of Miss Saigon the queues began at 01:30am!!!! However I managed to get dayseats for Urinetown for a midweek evening show at 6pm, although I would say my example for Urinetown is unusal. The best place for information on dayseats in Theatremonkey and please remember not all shows have day seats so it is always best to check first and they are normally limited to 1-2 per person.
If however you are unsuccessful with Day Seats all is not lost. Check with the theatre if they are offering any standby rates and then go onto TKTS website to see if the show of your choice is on there and if so if it is cheaper than the Standby rate – if so hotfoot it down to Leicester Square.
The most famous ticket lottery has to be the Book of Mormon lottery where you can enter the lottery by both attending in person before 5pm each day or you can enter a weekly online Twitter lottery but they are not the only show that do this. The website TodayTix runs the lottery for both Kinky Boots and Hand of God. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child will also be running a ticket lottery.
For longer running productions (and therefore most West End shows) they will have Preview performances where you can get cheaper tickets. For example Aladdin previews from the 26th May and officially opens on the 15th June 2016. Top Tickets during previews are £51.75 but go up to £69.76 once the show opens. Southwark Playhouse for Side Show have previews for £14 but once it officially opens it is £25.00. Of course during Previews things may be a bit rough round the edges and technically still not officially opened/a work in progress but if you book it closer to its official opening the chances are they will have ironed out any problems. I saw Previews for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory but the date I saw it the glass elevator wasn’t running yet so you do run the risk of missing some things although for £18 a ticket I personally think it’s worth the risk.
If you go to the theatre a lot it may be worth joining a club like the ATG theatre card. For £35 a year you get access to ticket deals, no fees to pay as well as 10% off in the bars. The ATG card works at 31 theatres across the county.
Sadlers Wells Members can pay £55 for the years membership and receive 20% off most tickets and 25% if booking for more than 4 shows. You will also get 1 free programme and 50% off remaining programmes.
The Orchard Theatre in Dartford has the Premiere Club, Soho Theatre, Birmingham Hippodrome and The Mayflower also have a membership scheme and The Southwark Playhouse has the Pay As You Go Subscription Fee which means tickets end up being £12.50 each
There are many theatre clubs so I would suggest if you end up going to one particular theatre 3 or more times over the year it may be worth asking if they have a membership programme.
There are several websites which for a small fee allows you to join and should a theatre/producer want to fill a house they will release tickets onto these websites. One of the keys to these sites succeeding is that the members keep quiet what they have seen through the club. I am a member of the audience club and have managed to see a large variety of shows in many venues. Membership is £25 for the year and you pay a small admin fee (normally £2.50) to claim a ticket. Other such clubs are My Box Office, Play By Play and The Theatre Club.
Student/young people deal…
I don’t qualify for these deals but I can’t really do a round up without mentioning them….despite my jealousy at how good some of these deals are.
- Almeida Theatre offers tickets to under 30’s for £18 on Mondays.
- Hampstead Theatre, Soho Theatre, Tricycle offers discounted tickets for under 26’s.
- National Theatre runs a scheme for 16 -25’s which allows you to purchase £5 tickets from an allocation each night.
- National Theatre has the Travelex season where you can get tickets for £15 for 2 plays.
- The Globe offers 700 standing tickets for each performance at £5.
- Arcola Theatre & Battersea Arts Centre runs a pay what you can afford (although any less than £5 is a little insulting) scheme on Tuesdays when buying tickets in person.
- National Rail go by Train deals – you need that days valid train ticket but if you have that they are currently offering 2 for 1 tickets on Thriller, The Woman in Black, The Railway Children, Stomp, shows at the Unicorn Theatre.
- Each year GetIntoLondonTheatre has loads of ticket offers during January/February. You can sign up to their newsletter to be alerted when the offers open.
- Each year, normally in August, kids go free to loads of the top London shows. Again sign up to receive news as to when the tickets go on sale. I wrote more on this topic in my article about getting children into theatre here.
If you want to book in advance and none of the other offers above apply then I recommend using Comparetheatretickets which allows you to put your dates in and it will scan the other websites and tell you the cheapest place to get tickets for that show.
Again if booking in advance then you have nothing to use from using cashback sites. If you join up to Quidco (for free) you can get 5% cashback through ATG and comparetheatretickets, 4% on love theatre and many more.