Looking to buy cheap theatre tickets in London but unsure if you’re getting the best value for money? Whether you’re hoping to plan an affordable evening out in advance, or you’re looking for cheap last-minute deals for today, here are my top tips on the best websites you should check before buying theatre tickets.
1. Check the official website of the show that you’re interested in
My first tip is to look at the show’s official website so that you have a benchmark to compare the range of prices on offer. When you search for theatre tickets online, beware that the first search results on Google may be secondary ticketing sites such as Ticketmaster where you will be charged high booking fees.
The cheapest tickets for sale will typically either be for: the preview performances which take place before the show’s official opening night; the performances which take place midweek; or matinee (afternoon) shows.
Cheaper tickets for weekend and evening performances will often sell out quickly and so the best time to find good deals on the official website, particularly for big West End shows, is on the ‘ticket release’ day. I’d recommend signing up to the show’s official mailing list or giving their social media accounts a follow to find out when new tickets will be released.
2. Take a look at the up-to-date ticketing advice on Theatre Monkey
The theatre monkey website is the most comprehensive source of information I know when it comes to London theatre tickets. Here, you’ll be able to find the theatre monkey’s views on the best place to sit in a theatre; whether there are any deals available for a show; and whether there are any day seats where you could purchase cheap tickets on the day of the performance.
Website Link: https://www.theatremonkey.com/shows
3. Take a look at the seat reviews on Seat Plan
Often the cheapest theatre tickets will be furthest away from the stage or advertised as restricted view. The best way to see whether the ticket price represents good value for money is to check the website Seat Plan. Here, there are thousands of seat reviews from audience members who often leave pictures of what the view is like from a particular seat.
Unfortunately, some venues have the cheek to charge for seats where you could quite likely miss out on all the action and so Seat Plan is a great way to judge whether a cheap theatre ticket is worth your hard-earned money.
Seat Plan also has a rewards points system and so if you leave seat reviews of your own you can earn points for Theatre Tokens and Encore Tickets and get money off your next theatre trip.
Website Link: https://seatplan.com/
4. See if there are Lottery or Rush Tickets on the TodayTix app
TodayTix has partnered with a range of shows to offer great seats via Rush or the Lottery for approximately £20 to £25. You’ll need to download the TodayTix app and you’ll be able to find the participating shows by clicking on the “Lottery & Rush” filter on the home page. This is not a guaranteed way to get a ticket. But if you’ve got the flexibility to book to see a show on the day of the performance, it is worth a try.
Rush Tickets: TodayTix releases its rush tickets at 10 am sharp and so it is best to turn on the TodayTix notifications or set an alarm as a reminder to open up the app a couple of minutes before 10 am. Tickets for some popular shows are sold within a matter of seconds and so do not be too disheartened if you are unsuccessful on your first try. If you aren’t able to find tickets for the show you want, I’d recommend checking back regularly because sometimes rush theatre tickets will become available later on even if the app said that the rush tickets were sold out earlier in the day.
Lottery Tickets: With this option, you can enter for the chance to win a £20-£25 ticket. The winner of each lottery is usually contacted via e-mail a couple of hours before the performance. If you’ve won but do not claim the lottery ticket within a set window of time, the ticket will unfortunately be re-allocated. So be sure to check your inbox throughout the day so that you do not miss out.
Website Link: https://www.todaytix.com/
5. Explore the dedicated theatre discount schemes available
Here, I’ve collated my favourite theatre ticket discount schemes.
DisneyTickets Magical Monday: A limited number of theatre tickets to Frozen and Lion King in the West End and Beauty and the Beast in Manchester are available to purchase for only £25. Tickets become available on Monday at noon and sell pretty quickly. All you’ll need to do to access these tickets is register for a free Disney account.
The Black Theatre Club: This club is for black theatregoers who are often marginalised from the industry. If you are eligible and sign-up to their mailing list, you can receive discounts on a range of shows and also gain special priority access to theatre tickets.
Southwark Playhouse’s Pay-As-You-Go Subscription: With this offer, you can buy a pack of five theatre tickets for £60. See the Southwark Playhouse’s website for more information.
The National Theatre: The National Theatre offers a limited number of online rush theatre tickets every Friday for £10 at 1 pm. See the National Theatre’s website for more information.
Almeida Theatre: The Almeida Theatre offers cheap last-minute theatre tickets every Tuesday at 1 pm. See the Almeida Theatre’s website for more information.
Royal Court Theatre: The Royal Court Theatre offers cheap theatre tickets every Monday at 9 am. See the Royal Court Theatre’s website for more information.
Young Vic: There is a range of concession tickets available for different age groups and for certain performances. See the Young Vic’s website for more information.
Battersea Arts Centre’s Pay What You Can: Starting as low as £3, audiences are only asked to pay what they can for each show. See the Battersea Arts Centre’s website for more information.
Globe Theatre: 200 standing tickets are available for performances in the Yard of the Globe Theatre for only £5. See the Globe’s website for more information.
6. See what others have to say about a show.
Not everyone will agree with this tip. But I think finding out what other people thought about a show can help you to determine whether a show is worth your time and money. There are many ways to do this such as by reading reviews, following the word of mouth buzz from friends/family/colleagues or seeing posts on social media. What’s important is finding sources that you trust and taking everything with a grain of salt.
The only critics that I regularly read are the TimeOut writers – Alice Saville and Andrzej Lukowski. When I used to do my 1.5hr commute to work (*shudders at the memory*), one of the highlights of my week would be collecting the free TimeOut magazine outside the Tube station and skipping straight to the theatre section at the back. I’m a big fan of Saville’s and Lukowski’s clear and direct writing styles and would recommend having a look.
I’d also suggest checking out the website Show-Score which recently launched in the UK. Here, audiences can leave short reviews about whether or not they’d recommend a show and their reasons for this. I should say for full transparency reasons that I’m currently the Listings Editor for Show-Score’s UK site but have not been asked to say anything positive about the website. I just think it’s a quick and simple way to know a variety of opinions about a show.
TimeOut’s Website Link: https://www.timeout.com/london/theatre/london-theatre-reviews
Show-Score’s Website Link: https://www.show-score.com/uk/london
7. Sign up for a free ticket scheme such as Central Tickets
Several sites discreetly offer cheap/free theatre tickets at short notice to fill empty seats. Once you have signed up, you will usually receive regular e-mails about offers. I’ve heard good things about Central Tickets but there are other schemes available such as the Audience Club where you’ll be asked for a £5 charity donation to gain access to the theatre tickets.
Website Link: https://centraltickets.co.uk/
It’s no secret that theatre ticket prices have skyrocketed in recent years and that the industry as a whole is becoming more inaccessible. I anticipate that cheap theatre tickets in London will continue to be hard to find and so I will do my best to keep this page up to date. If you find a web link that no longer works or read some information that has become out of date, please leave me a comment below and I’ll address it as soon as I can.