Did you know, yesterday was World Theatre day! I have always loved live theatre and especially loved musical theatre. From as far back as I can remember until I moved to London, I performed in over 5 shows a year across various production companies and theatre groups.
Once I moved to London, I was able to save up and see shows as often as I could. To date I’ve only paid full price a handful of times as I’ve built up knowledge of discounted tickets and offers. And I’d like to share some of my thrifty theatre tickets hacks with you.
A handful of shows hold raffles or lotteries on the day. You turn up at a certain time and if you’re selected, you’ll be offered a ticket at a reduced rate.
The Cambridge Theatre – showing Matilda – sells cheap tickets to the first 16 people in line (16 to 25 year olds only). I believe this is doubled for matinee days from memory!
For every performance, The Book of Mormon hold 21 tickets to be sold through an on-the-day lottery at £20 each. You have to arrived two and a half hours before each performance, and winning entrants can bag a pair of tickets to that evening’s performance only. You can also win some through Twitter or the Book of Mormon app.
The Lion King offers the chance to win 2 tickets at £25 each for each performance.
For the new-ish show Aladdin, if you arrive at 10am, you can fill in an entry form for the chance to win two £25 tickets. Entries are accepted two and a half hours before that days performance, with the draw being made 30 minutes later.
For a chance to see Harry Potter, 40 tickets for every performance the following week are released online for as little as £40 every Friday. You can enter this lottery on their website.
On the Day Tickets
Some venues offer reduced rates on the day of the show. You’ll likely only find this with more independent and smaller shows but the quality will still be a west end show.
There’s a booth in the heart of Leicester Square exclusively for last minute and discount theatre tickets called TKTS ran by officiallondontheatre.com. You can buy theatre tickets in person only for performances same day, tomorrow and the next day. These are reduced prices but you won’t find big sell out shows like The Book of Mormon or Les Miserables.
Scattered across Leicester Square are many other ticket booths. Again you won’t find big shows but they often give reduced rates to a handful of shows. The closer to curtains up, the more likely you are to get a lower price. These booths buy a handful of tickets from the venue and sell them on, so if they don’t sell, they lose out. However this also means that when tickets for a show are sold out, if you want to see that show, you’ll have to visit a few booths.
Consider the Cheap Seats
If you can’t find discounted seats anywhere then consider ‘restricted view’ seats or even two seats apart. These can be as a low as £15 and you can use a website like seatplan.com to see what the view looks like from the seat.
Love Theatre – Shows of the Month
lovetheatre.com offers different shows at a reduced rate per month. These range in ‘£19 and under’, ‘£29 and under’ and ‘£39 and under’ categories. At the time of writing, the site offers tickets for under £39 to:
The Woman In Black
And 5+ more
241 Rail Tickets
If you travel into London by train, sometimes you can get 241 by using your train ticket. A quick scan of their site has only 2 theatres on at the moment however there is close to 400 attractions so keep your eye out for if they add more theatres. Check out their site for current offers. Sometimes it works out cheaper to buy a very cheap train ticket from technically outside of London to technically inside of London (think like £2.50) and reap the benefits of a 241 ticket!
ATG (”Ambassador Theatre Group”) Card
9 theatres in London (and almost another 25 in the UK) are an ATG theatre. If you pay £35 a year, you get opening night offers, priority bookings and theatre deals. My Mum has one and says she makes that £35 over many times.
Last Minute Upgrades
It’s worth asking at your theatre if they can upgrade you to a better seat. I’ve asked and been upgraded around 7 or 8 times costing around £10 each. However sometimes, you’ll get the best seats in the house available for just that little extra.
GILT (”Get Into London Theatre”)
GILT tickets are available usually from around the first weekend in January until Valentines week with booking opening in early December. Tickets are available to the public for over 40 London shows; from plays, to musicals, to dance. Tickets are reduced to just £10, £20, £30 or £40, depending on the show, and there are no booking, transaction or postage fees to pay.
Are you registered as disabled? You can usually pick up a 241 deal so your carer goes free. My dad is disabled so he and my Mum can basically get half priced tickets to any west end show. For your information, if you are disabled or have further needs, you might want to consider one of these performances also:
Audio Described Performances – Audio description improves access for visually impaired theatregoers by providing a live verbal commentary on the visual elements of a production broadcast through a headset. Many shows also run touch tours before the performance to allow audiences to explore the set.
Captioned Performances – Captioning provides deaf, deafened and hard of hearing theatregoers access to live performance by converting speech into visible text and displaying it on an electronic screen.
BSL Interpreted – For deaf, deafened and hard of hearing theatregoers, an interpreter will stand in a visible position and interpret the spoken and heard elements of a performance.
Relaxed Performances – Relaxed performances are specially adapted to reduce anxiety and create a supportive atmosphere for people with autism spectrum conditions, learning disabilities and other sensory and communication disorders.
That’s all the discounted theatre tickets I can think of but I’ll update this post if I come across any. How else do you get discount tickets? Leave a comment below and follow my travels or see how you can travel for less.