Cut the cost of theatre tickets
Trips to the theatre don't have to break the bank.
A night out at the theatre can often be a hugely expensive experience, with a pair of tickets for some big shows setting you back nearly £200 once you’ve added on any booking fees.
So here’s how to bag a seat, or even a standing space, in some cases for less than a pound!
OK so it’s not as comfortable as sitting down for the performance, but giving up your seat means you can get a ticket for just 10p!
There’s four of these ‘standing’ tickets up for grabs every night at the Royal Court Theatre and while they do have a restricted view, for the princely sum of 10p you can’t really complain. The tickets are released one hour before curtain up and do go quickly, so it's worth getting in the queue early.
And if you can’t bear the thought of standing, go for the Monday £10 seat deal. If you’re a member of the Royal Court Theatre, (which costs £25 a year) you can book these in advance, but if not you can book in person on the day from 9am or online from 10am. Usual full tickets are £12-£28 depending on where you sit, and £8 for students who are under 25.
Free tickets and first night deals
Lots of regional independent theatres run their own promotions, deals and discounts to encourage young people into the theatre.
If you’re under 26 you can get up to three free tickets at the West Yorkshire Playhouse for performances from Monday to Thursday. Tickets are available on a ‘first come first served’ basis and if you want more you can get up to five further tickets for £5 each.
You’ll need to register online first (which is free) and then book your tickets through the box office.
And a free membership scheme at the Birmingham Hippodrome means 16-21 year olds can get £5 tickets for opening nights. You can book a pair of tickets under this deal (providing both of you have registered online) and forthcoming shows include ‘Dirty Dancing’ which starts on 4th July and runs until mid August.
If you’re under 26 you can take advantage of £5 Fridays at Keswick’s Theatre by the Lake but be prepared to take some ID along when you collect your tickets. Anyone of any age can get £15 tickets for previews, first nights and matinees at this theatre, saving up to 50% off the usual top price.
Join the theatre
Not to perform, but as a ‘friend’. Lots of local theatres have ‘friends’ schemes where you pay an annual membership and in return get discounts, priority booking and even backstage tours.
If you want tickets at a theatre you may only visit once then it may not be worth forking out around £30 plus a year, but if you go regularly it can be well worth it. The Theatre Royal in Nottingham offers two-for-one tickets on its membership deals, which start from £35 a year, or £25 membership for students under 26.
Alternatively ask around to see if anyone you know is a member and can book discounted tickets for you, providing the small print of their membership doesn’t prohibit this.
Get a discount card
An ATG card for the Ambassador Theatre Group costs £30 a year and covers 39 theatres nationwide with more than two thirds of venues outside the West End including theatres in Manchester, Torquay and Milton Keynes.
You get priority booking, half price deals when buying up to four tickets, no booking or postage fees and extra perks like free cloakroom facilities and 10% off interval drinks.
And booking the same number of tickets for ‘Dirty Dancing’ at the Edinburgh Playhouse would come in at £169.60 including fees, (£41.40 each) or £83 with your card; a saving of over £86.
Another benefit of this card is that it includes a free ticket exchange, so if you’re ill on the day you can swap your tickets for another night fee free.
Free West End shows for kids
This one is only available in London, but during August you can get one free child ticket for shows including Shrek, Matilda and the Wizard of Oz when you buy a full price adult ticket. And you can get another two child tickets for half price with this deal.
You can find out more and book tickets at www.kidsweek.co.uk.
Other ways to save money
In some cases tickets for preview nights, matinees and performances early on in the week can be cheaper than evening performances or those on a Saturday night, particularly at regional theatres.
Booking direct with the box office when you can saves any booking fees and postage costs. And pay cash to avoid any charges for debit or credit cards.