This article was originally published in CUB Magazine, which you can view here.
Most people are under the impression that seeing big shows in London costs an arm and a leg, meaning that the ability for students to go to the theatre is near-impossible. But that’s not true at all! There are some great discounts and tricks for getting your hands on great seats for a tiny price; here are some of the best I’ve discovered.
TodayTix is a free app, which not only sells discounted tickets for top West End shows, but also runs a lottery. Users enter the lottery to win tickets for that day’s performance, usually for a pair of seats in the front rows for a heavily discounted price. The most regular of these lotteries is for the Olivier-Award-Winning Kinky Boots, and the app also currently hold lotteries for Romeo and Juliet and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, too.
NATIONAL THEATRE ENTRY PASS
Lucky us, being students, able to get almost every discount possible. The National Theatre Entry Pass is a free scheme by the National Theatre that allows 16-25 year olds to get tickets for shows at just £5, as well as discounts to the shop, workshops, and tours. With this scheme I’ve managed to get front row seats – and there’s nothing better than paying a fiver compared to the people next to you who have paid £40 for the same view of the same show.
Day seating is common, though also risky, when one wants cheap tickets for the big West End shows. However, it doesn’t adhere to the typical student lifestyle as it does require you to get up early. Very early. Most theatres open their box offices at 10am to sell last-minutes tickets for that day’s performance(s), but queues, depending on how busy the show is, can start from as early as 6am. Wicked offers day seats for £29.50, whilst Matilda holds back 16 tickets for 16-25 year olds on sale for £5. Better set your alarm early!
For the wintry months of January and February, this website sells tickets to all top West End shows ranging from £10 to £40, and for amazing seats, too! I bagged tickets in the stalls for Wicked for just £20 and for Billy Elliot and Miss Saigon for £40 apiece. Definitely one to save those Christmas pennies for!
LEICESTER SQUARE TKTS BOOTH
An alternative to going directly to the theatre for day seats, the TKTS booth in Leicester Square sells day seats for a wide variety of London shows at smaller prices. Again, it’s a case of getting up early, but the theatre has got to be worth it, right?
Lastly I thought I’d mention this place of historic beauty, which surprisingly doesn’t charge extortionate prices for their shows. For the true Renaissance experience of being a groundling, tickets are only £5 to stand in the yard. Though your legs may start to ache, it is definitely the best view in the (play)house.