Considering I go to the theatre no less than once a month, I’m frequently asked “but how do you afford it?” and I don’t blame them for asking. It’s no secret that going to the theatre is expensive, a majority of tickets for West End shows cost £50+, with some of the “premium seats” getting around the £100 to 200 mark and even touring shows can be from £40+.
However, it can be very affordable if you look in the right places and know the right tricks. So I thought I’d give you a few pointers…
- TodayTix – This is now an app I have come to swear by! While it has been around for a while, it is becoming increasingly popular. Available as an App and a website, TodayTix offers tickets to a wide range of West End shows. They frequently have discounts, some of up to almost 50% off. They also have schemes on selected shows with “lotteries”, where you can enter on the day of the show to win tickets for a reduced price (often being on the front row too!) or “rush” tickets where at 10am on the day you can unlock an exclusive reduced price (commonly in very good seats also!). Finally, if you’re new to the app/site you can get £10 off your first purchase simply by using a friends referral code, of which mine is “NLHOD” then once you’re set-up on the site, you can get your friends to sign-up and get discount with your code, and you’ll earn money too! The app also works for shows on Broadway and select American locations, check them out at www.todaytix.com.
- Cheap Seats – Sometimes, if it’s a show I really want to see and secure tickets for; I will just go for the cheapest price bracket. Usually these will be deemed as “the worst seats” and some “cheap seats” may still be looking at £30 or so depending on the show. But, while they may not always be the perfect seat, in my experience more often than not they are okay seats that can still give a good view. Plus I get even more tempted to do so if it’s a show I’m revisiting. Sometimes I would rather just pay that £30 to be at the back and still see the show, than deeply regret missing it.
- Seat Plan – The above point leads me nicely onto my next point, while not strictly a way to see Theatre on the cheap, this website is a gift to avid theatre-goers. It simply allows you to read and review seats in theatres, which is perfect for if you’re toying with the above idea or if you simply want help in choosing a good seat. In return for leaving reviews, you earn £1 per review if you include an image of your seat view and ticket stub – once you’ve earned a minimum of £10 you can cash these in for Theatre Tokens. Check out seatplan.com for more.
- Theatre Tokens – Again, the above leads me to say that Theatre Tokens work like vouchers. They can be exchanged for tickets to shows at a wide range of theatres, at the Box Office, TKTS Booth, over the phone or by post. This is the perfect gift for any theatre fan, or can be earned on Seat Plan! www.theatretokens.com
- Previews – It’s a little known fact that many big West End shows have “previews”, simply meaning the first few shows in the days or week ahead of press night. They have previews in order to iron out any flaws they might find once the show gets in front of an audience, some shows really encourage feedback but generally it would be stuff that the audience wouldn’t even notice that may get tweaked. Due to this, prices are often reduced by around £10 or so. It’s also quite exciting if you can say you saw a show in its previews, I mean who knows, it could be the next big thing!
- Day Seats – I have to admit, I’ve never tried it myself but I know many people who have. It simply means queueing at the theatre on the day in time for box office opening, enquiring if they have day seats and generally this will mean good seats at a reduced price. You may last-minute luck too though! For all the information you need, visit www.theatremonkey.com/dayseatfinder.
- TKTS Booth – The famous box in Leicester Square is famed for the fact it offers reduced price tickets, and while I’ve not shopped there I know people who have and it’s great for on the day (or a few days in advance) bargains. www.tkts.co.uk
- Shop Around – It sounds simple, but don’t be afraid to browse the web for deals! I personally prefer to buy direct via the theatres or their ticketing agents but I’ve also often had deals emailed to me through being signed up to mailing lists (such as from ticketing agents or directly from the shows I’m interested in) and I’ve occasionally found deals in Newspapers/Magazines or on theatre websites. It’s always good to compare various sites for tickets and prices, as some have higher fees than others or you may find unexpected deals.
- Student/Youth Deals – If you’re somewhere in the under the 30’s or 25’s mark, you might be lucky enough to be eligible for reduced ticket prices. There’s a whole heap of websites and theatres that offer tickets for those it applies too, it’s just a case of digging them out. A few starting points are: the Young Vic theatre, Hampstead Theatre and Mousetrap Theatre Projects all offering great deals for young people.
- Lotteries – A few shows do “lotteries” – as I mentioned earlier, some are exclusive to the TodayTix app but others come directly from the show and simply offer the chance to win really good seats at a discounted price. Sometimes they’ll be on the day outside the theatre, others do it online, some do both! Some shows currently known to do lotteries are Book of Mormon, Aladdin, School of Rock and Hamilton will be.
I’m sure there’s many more ways and means but hope you’ve found these tips useful, and that you get to see a great show soon, be it as a discounted price or not! Let me know what you plan to see, and what your best deal is…
♥ MOLLY THE BLOGGER ♥