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How to Buy Discount West End Theater Tickets

1 January 2016 by Allie Linsey
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So you’re coming to London and want to see some theatre? Can’t say we blame you. London has some of the world’s oldest and greatest theatres with performers we know you’re dying to see.

But before you see a show, you’ve got to get your tickets, and that’s where things can seem a little tricky. With so many options, how do you know you’re getting the best deal? (To be honest, that’s why we created TodayTix; because there are tons of different options and we wanted to put everything in one place. Too busy to read? Tap here to download TodayTix now.)

Whether you want to buy tickets a year in advance, or an hour before showtime, here’s our definitive guide to buying discount theatre in London.

Wake up early.

Many shows have general and/or student day seat policies for day-of tickets available when the box office opens. Sure, you might get strange looks from people on the street, but sitting in the first row for £15 more than makes up for it. Try Royal Court Mondays, National Theatre Fridays for day seats and Rush deals.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the hottest show in the West End and although the run may be sold out but you’ve still got a chance to see it with the Friday Forty. At 1:00pm each Friday, 40 tickets are released for each performance the following week, but you’ll have to be quick – every one in town wants to get their hands on these!

Pro tip: Familiarise yourself with the policy of each show and adjust your time of arrival accordingly. You will need to line up earlier depending on the popularity of the show or proximity to the end of the run. Some shows also offer mobile Rush tickets through TodayTix, often beginning at 10:00am the day of the performance.

Try your luck with a lottery.

Many shows offer in person, online, or mobile lotteries. Most allow you to begin entering each morning up until 3-4 hours prior to showtime.

The Book of Mormon
You can enter a daily in-person lottery for £20 tickets, accepting entries 2.5 hours prior to the show’s start time. They also run a weekly online ticket lottery via Twitter each Wednesday at 12 noon (GMT/BST) for performances the following week.

TodayTix
Enter exclusive mobile lotteries for Kinky Boots, Richard III, and each production in the Kenneth Branagh Season.

Pro- tip: Make entering lotteries part of your daily morning routine, and you just may win when you least expect it!

Stand in the TKTS line.

TKTS West End
Photo Credit: http://www.tkts.co.uk/leicester-square/

The TKTS booth offers tickets to West End musicals, plays, and dance productions for up to 50% off regular prices. To take advantage of this option, line up at a TKTS booth the day of the performance you’d like to attend.

Pro Tip: Try to get there as early as possible, since the lines get longer during the day.

Join a mailing list.

Many productions or venues will often send out special discount codes to their mailing list. So don’t be afraid to sign up! These mailers often include special preview pricing. This means you’ll be seeing the show while it’s still technically being rehearsed, but for cheaper than after Opening Night.

Consider becoming a member.

You can purchase memberships to some venues around London to gain priority booking access and other exclusives.

National Theatre
With a membership to the National Theatre, you can get early access to tickets for new seasons, priority booking to shows and exclusive invitations to special events with cast members and creative teams. Memberships start from £80. Find out more.

ATG
With an ATG membership, you can get exclusive offers on opening night tickets, priority booking, ticket deals and no extra fees. Your membership will give you 12 months of access and upgrading your membership can get you into exclusive lounges around London. Prices start at £35. Find out more.

The Almeida
As a member of the Almeida, you can get exclusive priority booking access and help support the theatre’s artistic vision. Memberships start from as little as £50. Find out more.

Get up to 50% off tickets straight from your phone.

Guy Using App UK

TodayTix is a mobile app for last-minute theatre tickets. It allows users to search available shows and buy tickets for performances occurring the same day or up to seven days in advance from their phones. It’s available for iOS and Android. With TodayTix’s referral program, whenever a friend or family member uses your code, they get £10 off their first purchase and you get a £10 credit. Some shows on TodayTix even have lottery or rush programs for extra special deals.

Join a programme.

Throughout the year there are a variety of ticket programmes to take part in to get a great deal.

Kids Weeks
In August, children aged 16 or under can see a selection of shows for free when going with a full paying adult. Two additional children are also able to go at half price.
Get Into London Theatre
During the early part of the year, Get Into London Theatre (GILT) operates, selling discounted tickets. You can snap up £10, £20, £30, or £40 tickets, depending on the shows available.
Mousetrap Theatre Programme
15-18 year olds currently in state education and 19-23 year olds who are full time performing arts students are able to become a member of the Mousetrap programme. They can register to get £5 and £10 tickets as well as post-show talks with show casts.
Young Friends of the Almeida
For young people aged 13 – 25, the Almeida offers opportunities for theatre participation, drama workshops and various performance projects. Participants can also have access to £5 Monday deals.
Want to use TodayTix in the US? Check out our New York, Boston, and Chicago guides.
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