I’ve always had a soft spot for the theatre. From a young age, I was treated to a big West End show or fancy ballet with my Nana on our regular day trips to London. Back then the theatres felt like the size of the O2 arena, where I’d sit on a cushion peering down (through binoculars if I was lucky). The Secret Garden, Beauty and the Beast and The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe (a 3 time favourite) were just some of the shows I still have a programme for from the 90s.
Now I live in London, I’ve kept up my attendance, adding occasional trips to the opera and ballet in between musical numbers. Now you might be starting to think, how on earth is she affording this so often?! Well I’ll tell you… I haven’t paid more than £40 for a ticket in over a year.
There’s dozens of websites screaming that they sell the cheapest tickets on the block but I’ve wormed out the ones that are telling the truth and found a way to sit in the stalls for a fraction of the price…
This app is gold dust. If you take one tip from this post, let TodayTix be it.
Firstly, you can enter daily lotteries for bargain front row seats. Just a couple of weeks ago Allyn and I saw Young Frankenstein, retailing at £60+ for a ticket for just £20 each. Sure we got a slight neck cramp and I almost choked on the smoke effects but for next to nothing we were as close to the action as you can be and it was fascinating seeing a show from the front row.
You can also purchase £20-25 rush tickets for select shows including American in Paris (tick!), Oslo and 42nd Street. These tickets go on sale at 10am each day for that night’s performance so get in quick and snap them up.
Lastly, the app is a great way to buy tickets for the next week or so, especially if you don’t mind going alone. I grabbed a £100+ middle row stalls ticket for Dreamgirls for just £40.
Once you’ve got to the theatre, make sure to take a picture of your view and of each guest’s ticket. Seatplan offer a reward scheme for honest seat reviews. Not only is it where I go to check out if that balcony seat is worth the cheap price, but you also receive 80p per photo, allowing you to build up to a £10 theatre voucher. Two of you seeing a show? That’s £2.40 straight away. They also hold monthly competitions for West End tickets.
Because there are hundreds of shows happening in London every night, there are also hundreds of unsold seats. That’s where Central Tickets comes in, the place to go for free or cheap as chips tickets for boat show comedy, dramas and everything in between. They also sell pretty damn cheap musical tickets, which is where I got two Dress Circle seats to Motown the Musical for £35 each.
Compare Theatre Tickets
If you’re booking ahead in time and can’t go for a last-minute deal, check out CompareTheatreTickets.com for a comparison site that tells you which retailer has got the best deal on a particular show/night that you’re looking for. It will also include those nasty booking and delivery fees that can sneak on in.
Time Out Theatre
For when I just fancy a night at the theatre but don’t know what show I want to see, I’ll use Time Out. Their ‘any show’ search option allows you to pop in a date and see what’s available, particularly useful for last-minute searches. Also make sure to sign up to Time Out Offers as they regularly provide discounted tickets in their newsletters.
Remember when we’d get high street vouchers for Christmas and be like aw, gee, thanks… well these are vouchers I actually love to receive. Theatre Tokens can be used in 99% of London venues and if you pop them on your Christmas list you’ll be glad to have some in the bank next time you decide to get your glad rags on!
ATG Theatre Card
If you love the perks of the theatre than it’s worth signing up for an ATG Theatre Card, the major retailer for shows across the UK. For £35 a year, you’ll lose those booking fees, gain discounts, have 10% off refreshments, sneaky priority access and a free exchange service for when those months in advance dates just become inconvenient.
I hope you find my recommended sites helpful! Do let me know if you have any other secrets to snagging the best deals on the West End.