Are you a theatre lover that would love to know some tips and tricks to get cheap theatre tickets? Perfect! Because this is exactly what this article is about.
Like any kind of ticket, to get them cheaper it will require either flexibility or organisation. As long as you don’t mind thinking things long in advance or be flexible about the show or seat, you will be able to get plenty of discounts. Here is a list of techniques to get cheap theatre tickets.
1 – Same-day release tickets
Most theatres release a set of tickets for shows on the same day. They are generally as cheap as £10 (even though they can be worth up to £200).
They will be available as soon as the box office opens which means that you have to make sure to be there early to be able to grab your ticket.
Depending on how popular the show is, you may want to go up to 45min early as there is only a certain number of tickets released and they will be gone very quickly, especially during the weekend.
You can check on the theatre’s website if this is something they do.
In Manchester, for example, the Exchange theatre does it every day.
If you don’t mind getting up, queuing and don’t mind the uncertainty, then this is for you! The good news though, this is as cheap as theatre tickets can get so if you are on a budget, it will be perfect!
2 – Ticket lottery
From all the tips in this article, this is for sure the one with the most uncertain outcome but if you are lucky then it will represent tremendous savings on very popular shows.
Some theatres with very popular shows such as Harry Potter and the Cursed Child offer ticket lotteries.
Basically, you need to sign up online and every day they will randomly pick a few people that will get access to last-minute released tickets for a very small fee. Typically you can get to see Harry Potter for less than £10!
It’s pretty much the only way to get very cheap tickets for sold-out shows.
However, it’s very unreliable. You don’t know if and when you will be selected.
If you are, you are given about 1hour to confirm otherwise the ticket is released to someone else. This means you have to keep an eye on your phone and be quick.
If you are planning to travel to London and really want to see a West End show, I would not recommend this option. If you live in London and therefore are available to go anytime, then this is a great option! You can get to see amazing shows for almost nothing.
As for the previous option, you need to check out the website of the shows or theatres you are interested in to see if that’s something they offer.
3 – Last minute booking at the box office
If you go to the box office on the same day (ideally a couple of hours before the show), you can ask them if they still have some tickets available. If yes, then ask them for a discount! I know it might make you a bit uncomfortable but chances are that they will agree and just give you a discount.
The thing is, at that point, if they still have some seats available, they know they won’t be sold. This means these seats are dead money. And if you’re not going to make anything, you might as well make a little. That’s the way they will think and generally will offer a discount.
Even if they sell the tickets at half price, it will still be worth it for them.
This works particularly well on matinees and “normal” shows. It might not work on very popular or almost sold-out shows.
If you don’t try it, you won’t get it! The worse thing that can happen is them to say no and you just keep doing what you were doing before that. Best case scenario, you get a cheap theatre ticket!
4 – Sit separately
This is probably the most overlooked technique and yet the best. When we go to the theatre, we always want to sit together. Well, you might not have realised but this costs you way more than you thought.
Single seats are a nightmare for theatres because they know they will never sell them but yet they have to deal with plenty of them each day. This is making them lose a lot of money every day.
Exactly as explained in point 3, a bit of money is better than no money. If you offer to book a single seat for a discounted price, they will most likely say yes. You can get up to an 80% discount on these seats.
When you think about it, most of the time you don’t need to be seated next to the person you’re going with. And you can still meet up for the break.
In order to book these seats with the discounts, you have to go to the box office and ask them. They will generally do it without second thoughts for a show on the same day but you can try it in advance too. If you go on the website and check the seats available (like if you were about to book seats), you’ll be able to see the single seats. Note the number and then go to the box office to ask if you could get a better price for booking this or these seats.
Regardless of the price, it’s also a great technique to get access to tickets. For example, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child in London can be sold out up to 9 months in advance. Unless you’re willing to pay £100 per part, you won’t be able to book and will have to be ready as soon as they release new tickets (one every 3 months). If you chose to sit separately, you will get access to all kinds of tickets and dates.
5 – Get a theatre card
Are you a theatre lover? Do you go to the theatre more than 3 or 4 times a year? Then getting a theatre card will be the best option for you.
Almost all theatres offer a membership card. The price varies depending if it’s an independent venue or if it belongs to a big group such as ATG but they are generally under £50.
In the UK, the ATG membership card will give you access to discount in all of their theatres (30+). Some shows aren’t eligible for discounts however, no matter what you will always get booking and transaction fees off (so at least £3.95).
The most popular shows in London West End rarely have offers on but as a general thing you can get great discounts on all the others. This includes plays, musicals, ballets, conferences….
You can book up to 4 tickets with your card which means that it won’t only save money to you but everyone else coming with you.
Here are some amazing discounts I got this year:
- Amelie the Musical: £16 instead of £40
- & Juliet: £10 instead of £20
- Dirty Dancing: £10 instead of £36
If you go more than 3-4 times a year, it will definitely save you money. And the best thing about it is that you can book all these tickets from the comfort of your home, on the ATG website. You can buy up to 1 year in advance, anywhere in the UK.
So, are you ready to go see plenty of amazing plays now that you know the best tips to get cheap theatre tickets? Let us know how it goes for you. We also love to get feedback on shows! (Hey, I’ve got a card to use too 😉 )