My Top London Theatre Tips

Thursday, August 28, 2014 1

I

am going to New York in September and I am very excited, because I am planning on seeing something on Broadway for the first time ever! I have been to New York before and I have even been to the theatre in New York before (I was very lucky to see Zachary Quinto in Angels in America a few years back) but never Broadway, so I am really looking forward to it.

The problem is that shows on Broadway seem prohibitively expensive in a way that theatre in London does not. Now, I know London theatre and where to get my tickets from that won’t charge me extortionate booking fees and what deals there are so I very rarely pay anything more than £30 and often closer to £10. Which is good, because the amount of theatre I see would soon bankrupt me if it was to move to NYC. Maybe it’s because I don’t know my way around it, but google is certainly falling to unveil anything like what we have here in London.

So in the spirit of helpfulness for anyone that feels similarly lost in the London Theatre scene, here are my:

Top Tips for Cheaper Theatre Tickets:

  • Avoid Ticketmaster. If you can book your tickets directly from the theatre box office or the theatre website, do it! They are less likely to add fees on and more likely to have a greater seat selection. If they don’t sell the tickets themselves the ticket provider to which the theatre links you to is normally (but not always) the best one. If in doubt, shop around, often the same tickets are priced slightly differently depending on where they are being sold, so it’s worth a little research to find the best deal.
  • Bookmark Theatremonkey.  Theatremonkey will be your friend and faithful companion and guide you through some very difficult decisions. It has a detailed guide for each West End theatre that includes seats opinions and highlight seats that are especially terrible or a great value for the price. It’s really invaluable for when you are trying to decide which nosebleed seat to go for and exactly what ‘restricted view’ means. I’ve got some great bargains such as heavily discounted rare stalls seats based on it’s recommendations and always check if when going to a new theatre. It’s opinions are constantly updated based on new productions.
  • Look into day seats. Many theatres have super cheap tickets available on the day. They are often limited, and especially for sold out shows there may be a queue from very early in the morning (in some cases people have been known to camp in front of the theatre, but I do not recommend that) but if the show is not sold out, picking up a day ticket can be a pain free experience, especially on a week day. This is a great resource (I told you theatremonkey is fantastic) My favourite day seats are those is the National Theatre, because there are lots available, especially if you are willing to stand, and I have very fond memories of seeing The Curious Incident of a Dog in the Nighttime for only £5.
  • Time Out Theatre Offers: the number of plays I’ve seen with a Time Out voucher is bordering on ridiculous, these are often for fringe shows or west end shows that are not selling particularly well. So if you are looking for Book of Mormon it’s unlikely to pop up on there, but there are consistently great offers and it’s always worth having a look if you fancy seeing something but are not too fussed on what. A couple of times recently I’ve booked tickets only for Time Out to do an offer the day after I’ve booked them, so sometimes it’s worth waiting it out.
  • Special Schemes: There are so many cheap schemes out there, especially for young people that they probably deserve their own post, but these are my favourite and are available to everyone (if you are quick enough with the refresh button and unlike day seats can be purchased from the comfort of your home)
    1. Donmar’s Barclay’s Front Row Scheme: I’ve already talked about this, because I love it. Every Monday front row tickets go on sale for £10. In the last couple of years I’ve seen almost everything staged at the Donmar because of this scheme. Now I admit it can be stressful when unsuccessful, until you try again the following week. And if it looks to be sold out in 10 seconds, don’t despair, but keep refreshing for up to 10 minutes, as often tickets become available later as people release them from their baskets.
    2. Royal Court’s £10 Mondays: I’ve only done this once, as discussed here, but looking forward to trying it again soon.
    3. The National Theatre’s Travelex partnership that means that half the tickets for selected shows are only £15. I managed to get a Travelex ticket for Medea, which I am looking forward to seeing next week.
  • Bonus Tip: I asked my friend (and theatre going companion) for a tip and she was wonderful and offered slightly more than one, so you get 3 for the price of 1.
    1. Worth checking if your local theatre has a scheme for residents and those who work nearby”
    2. For Opera and Ballet fans: “Royal Opera House has 67 day tickets for various prices”
    3. if you can afford it, Young Vic’s Season Saver” where you get three top price tickets for the price of two, the biggest problem is trying to pick only 3 shows per season..

That’s it for now, please let me know if I’ve missed your favourite tip and if you can help me with my Broadway dilemma!

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