For more than 20 years I have been seeing shows locally and in London’s West End. In the last few years I have really noticed the number of theatre goers and other people talking about how expensive going to the theatre can be. For families, a day out and going to see a show can cost well in excess of £500-£600, making it a very expensive experience.
As I am often go to the theatre I have put together some hints and tips (plus handy advice) to save you lots of money. A cheaper ticket doesn’t have to mean a cheaper experience. You can often pay very little for amazing seats! I very rarely pay full price for shows and by having a read of my guidance – you will too!
Kids Week – http://www.kidsweek.co.uk
Kids Week have been developed to encourage younger people to get involved in theatre and for them to have the opportunity to see some amazing shows. Kids Week is back for 2016, with tickets going on sale from Tuesday 14th June for performances from 1st – 31st August. A list of participating shows will be revealed nearer the time – so keep an eye on my website, as I will release details as and when they are advertised.
To qualify, a child aged 16 or under can go free to any participating show, when accompanied by an adult paying full price – parents are also entitled to purchase up to two extra children tickets at half price. There are some fantastic activities and workshops taking place too – so please do get the children involved – they’ll love it!
TKTS Booth – Leicester Square
For anybody visiting London will see that there are many ticket booths based in London which you will see as you walk around, however I have always had great tickets when visiting the TKTS Booth based in Leicester Square.
The booth often gets busy early on, but the wait is worth it. They have a huge variety of shows on offer, so you will also be able to grab yourself a great deal. My advice would be to visit the website to see what price has been offered for the days before you want to go, that way you can gauge what show is best for you.
I have often paid less than £40 for a seat in the Stalls, about 10 rows from the front. So it pays to take a look and spend a bit of time working out what would work best for you. You can purchase tickets up to a few days in advance, so this is a fantastic way of seeing lots of shows at a fraction of the cost.
They basically say what they are – they are tickets that have to be bought in person from the theatre on the morning you wish to see the show.
They are usually limited to a 1-2 per person and due to popularity in the release of day seats, it is quite common for people to be queuing from very early on in the morning. I’ve heard numerous stories involving people camping out overnight! The ticket prices are low, so a cost effective way to see theatre, albeit that you need to be there very early to get yourself a bargain. I would double check with the theatre before hand to make sure they offer day seats, as not all do.
If you want to see if your luck is in, have a go at one of the ticket lotteries. Currently there are a few shows that offer this which are the Book of Mormon – which you have to attend in person by 5pm each day and to complete a form (one per person). Kinky Boots are also offering a lottery – against a great way to see a fantastic show at a fraction of the cost. For further details I would have a look at the TodayTix website or app (which is great!) where you can see how to apply.
I naturally think more shows will offer a lottery, as the popularity in this is increasing, so be sure to keep up to date with what shows are offering a lottery.
Before a new production ‘officially’ opens and has it’s press night, they will have a period of approximately two weeks beforehand where the show is in ‘preview’. During this time performances can be much cheaper. Shows can be found to be £30 – £40 cheaper than when sold at full price. Be aware that during previews, productions are still technically being looked at to make sure things work and changes being made, so things can often change in the preview period as to what is seen once the show opens. However I have often seen previews and they have been some of the best productions I have seen.
Grab a Bargain…
There are always deals and offers to be found to go to the theatre, some which take more work and effort than others, but for saving yourself lots of money – the work is worth it!
National Rail offer various deals for theatre, take a look at their website for further details about offers they are running, as they can often change.
Another good source of tickets is lastminute.com – they advertise tickets for a variety of top London shows, just be sure to book in advance to ensure you get the best deal. Some of these deals can also include dinner or afternoon tea that is local to the theatre.
My last tip and one that does require you to be quite savvy which is usually for shows that have announced they are closing, or are quieter than others….
Take a look at the seating that is on offer in the higher seating levels, such as the upper circle. If they are not selling well and there are lots of seats available, book seats here!
You will often be moved down to the next level, the dress circle, but would have paid much less than the people sitting there! You would have to discreetly check or find out if they have been moving people to others levels – but this works wonderfully! I have gone to a number of West End shows and paid £25 to sit in the Upper Circle, to be moved to the front of the Dress Circle and sit with people who have paid more than £60 for their tickets!
If you would like further information or advice as to how to grab yourself some bargain tickets, please contact me and I will happily guide you to get the best offers!
Happy Ticket Hunting!