Despite popular belief, going to see London theatre without the London price is not something which only happens in myths – but I assure you, once you bag yourself a bargain seat you WILL feel like the ultimate legend. The shows and plays I review are always £15 and below, (and between you and me, I hate spending £15 on a ticket… that’s my limit!!)
As arguably the most tight-fisted student London student, I refuse to believe that good theatre can’t be cheap.
Here are a few tips when it comes to sitting in the cheap seats.
One: Check on the official websites of specific plays/shows for day-release tickets
You may have to queue up early in the morning, but being on high alert for queue-jumpers injects some fun and adrenaline into the sport! Matilda releases sixteen £5 tickets for 16-25 year olds. Funny Girl releases 100 for £15. The Old Vic Theatre often releases £10 day tickets.
Two: Sign up to theatre schemes for youth
*Obviously, age requirements apply!* Many theatre companies love to reward youngsters with cheap tickets – and all you have to do is retain your youthfulness! (And sign up online…) The National Theatre, Tricycle Theatre and Young Barbican are good memberships to subscribe to – and they’re free!
Three: Head to the TKTS booth in Leicester Square
The TKTS booth is tourist central and so the prices they offer are not always that cheap. If you do visit the booth, specify that you’d like the cheapest possible seat – otherwise they’ll offer you the ‘best’ seat available in the house, not the cheapest.
Four: Just Google it!
Often it takes a long time to find cheap tickets, but if they’re out there, google will find them for you. I’ve found some great offers from London Theatre Direct and Hot Ticket Offers in the past.
Five: Be prepared to compromise comfortable viewing
The best bargain tickets will always come from The Globe Theatre. If you’re prepared to stand for a few hours – and we’re talking Shakespeare, so it’ll be long – The Globe has 700 standing tickets for each performance which they sell for only £5. Other theatres (including a couple within The National Theatre) provide standing tickets.
Six: Turn on the charm at the last minute
Sometimes putting pressure on staff in the box office at the last minute can get you a cheap ticket. Admittedly, my attempts so far have been rather unsuccessful… but that needn’t always be the case! Some popular Musical Theatre venues have been known to admit stand-ers in the last minutes before a show.
Seven: Enter a ticket lottery
Some theatres hold a ticket lottery, for which the results are revealed an hour or so before the show. The Book of Mormon is very well known for this and the success rate is high.
Eight: Check your spam emails
You may already be frequently receiving great ticket deals without even knowing it! Some fantastic offers are revealed in emails from Time Out, Amazon, and Wowcher and you’ve probably just been ignoring the messages. If you’re not signed up, subscribe to ATG Tickets, Hot Ticket Offers, Show Film First, and London Theatre Direct.
Nine: Don’t be a snob!
Great plays and musicals are showing all over London, not just at the famous theatres! The Bush Theatre, Park Theatre, and the Menier Chocolate Factory are just a few off-West end venues which produce great quality theatre.
Ten: Check the newspapers for ads
Google often isn’t the most helpful way to source a cheap seat because all the expensive ads will jump straight to the top of the feed. But newspapers are filled with hundreds of ads for shows you’ve never even heard of but have received great reviews. Plus, looking through the ads is an enjoyable way to pass the time on your tube ride home when you’re forced to abandon the internet for 19 minutes.
So, the secrets are out. I look forward to sitting in the cheap seats with you all soon.
the girl sitting in the cheap seats