How to get a cheap theatre ticket
The West End has garnered global renown as the number one place to find the world’s greatest theatre. It is one of the largest tourist pulls to the UK, few will leave the capital without having seen a West End show. However, a ticket to an unforgettable live experience often doesn’t come cheap. Here’s some reasons why West End theatre is so expensive:
Why are West End tickets so expensive?
The best performers in the country star in West End shows. The minimum weekly wage for actors in venues with a capacity of over 1,100 seats is £695. In comparison, the minimum wage for Broadway performers is $2,034 a week, or £1,430 (April 2018). This huge difference is reflected in the price of Broadway theatre tickets, which are significantly more costly than West End ones. The most expensive Broadway ticket in 2017 was for Hamilton, coming in at a whopping $849 (£650). The state of West End prices could be a lot worse if the actors were paid like Broadway ones
The cultural buildings that stage these productions are expensive, even charges to maintain a ‘dark’ theatre without a production can reach up to £150,000 a month for some venues
Theatre is commercial, it aims to make a profit. Without the help of investors, many productions wouldn’t be staged in the first place and production teams want to ensure that the investors’ money is returned to them – with the total weekly costs of running a top musical being around £250,000, the tickets need to be pricey to ensure that happens.
What can you do to avoid paying so much for a ticket?
There are many ways to avoid these costs. Here’s our collection of insider tips on how to get the best deals on London theatre tickets
Previews are one of the best ways to save money on West End tickets. During the preview period, which often lasts between a week and a month depending on the size of the production, technical difficulties are dealt with, costume changes are smoothed out and audience reactions are gaged. It is a way of making sure that the show gives its best performance on press night. Frequently, tickets for preview shows are cheaper than ones after the press performances.
Consider going to a midweek matinee
Tickets for midweek matinees are often more difficult to sell than ones for evening performances or Saturday matinees. As many people work five days a week, a midweek matinee isn’t that appealing. As a result, you will often find offers that just appear on midweek matinees. If you don’t work midweek, are on school or university holidays, or are retired, then a midweek matinee is a brilliant choice for you. Even midweek workers may consider taking a day off when they see the offers available to them.
Looking for a midweek matinee? Here’s our guide to all the midweek matinees in the West End.
Buy from an authorised seller and not a ticket tout
Don’t be caught out by ticket resellers when you’re looking for tickets online. Here’s how to double-check that the company you’re booking with are licensed:
- Are they accredited with a STAR (Secure Tickets from Authorised Retailers) badge? This should appear on the web page when you are looking to book.
- Is the site secure with a padlock displaying next to the URL? This is used to make sure that they aren’t counterfeiting a website that is STAR accredited.
Cash in on a deal
At any given point there are multiple theatre ticket deals available for West End shows, from Show of the Month offers, to Flash Sales offering more than 50% off, it’s always worth checking for the best discounts before buying. You’d be mad to miss out on all the excitement and ambition of the West End when there are so many tickets at affordable prices available.
Buy from a ticket booth
Stuck in London with nothing to do? Who knows what last minute deals you’ll find in one of the many ticket booths scattered around the city centre.
Here are the locations of shops in central London where you can pick up some last ditch deals:
Charing Cross Island
(Opposite Garrick Theatre)
11A Charing Cross Road
Leicester Square Station
(Cranbourn Street Entrance)
The Criterion Theatre
Go in a group
Group discounts are often available for parties of 6 or more people. Whether it’s a hen do, a birthday party, or a family reunion, a theatre trip is always a welcome treat and a great bonding experience for all involved. Book your group tickets at a discount today.
Try Off-West End
Off-West End shows at smaller theatres often provide a cost-effective alternative to West End shows. Many productions move from smaller London theatres to West End ones and this is your chance to catch a masterpiece in its infancy. Take a look at our collection of our Off-West End masterpieces.
Buying your tickets at the last minute? Find out how to get the best deals with our tips and tricks to securing last minute theatre tickets.