How to get last minute theatre tickets for West End shows
Are you deciding to go on a theatre trip, but you’re leaving buying your tickets at the last minute? There’s lots of ways to buy last-minute tickets that can be affordable and get you into some of the hottest shows on the West End. Read our guide to nabbing the best last-minute theatre tickets around.
Why should I buy last minute tickets?
Last minute tickets are a great way to see productions that you’ve always wanted to see. They can also be a great way of going to shows or theatres that you may not have heard of or know about. Strike while the iron’s hot and you can get some of the best tickets in London at a fraction of the price. If you don’t know where to buy last-minute theatre tickets, our guide is jam-packed with ways to get tickets for a variety of shows.
Booking last-minute tickets couldn’t be easier through the Encore Tickets website. With our wide variety of musicals and plays, there’s something for everyone. Simply select the show that you want to see and the date you would like to go to and our live seating plans will show you what seats are available. On our website, you’re able to book tickets the same day as a performance, with free ticket collection available from most venues. If you want to book last minute tickets through our customer service team, then call us at +44 (0)20 7400 1255 and we’ll be able to help with any questions on booking tickets for a last-minute performance.
How can I buy last minute tickets at the theatre?
There are lots of ways to buy last-minute tickets at theatres across London. However, it may involve having to queue up early in the morning for tickets, so it may involve a bit of planning.
Day seats are tickets that can be bought in person from the box office, held back specifically for audience members to buy for the performance that day. They typically cost between £10 to £30 depending on the production, but it’s a great way of buying last minute tickets and saving money too. If you want to maximise your chances of getting day seat tickets, then head to the box office on days with a matinee and evening performances.
Returns tickets are sometimes available for sold-out performances. If you queue up outside a theatre before the performance begins, you may be able to purchase a returned ticket for that performance. It is not a discounted ticket, but it is a way of getting into a show that you want to see at the last minute. However, there may not be enough returns tickets for the demand, so it is a high-risk strategy.
Productions want the audience on their press night to be full, so will sell tickets to people queuing up if there are seats available. This may not always be successful, but it is worth attempting to see if you can get a seat for the official opening of a production.
Will my seat be at the back of the theatre?
This could happen, however there are many productions which reserve front row seats for those buying day seat tickets. Seats may also be advertised as “restricted view seating” so it’s worth asking if seats will be in these sections. Some productions may also offer standing tickets, including the Globe, the National Theatre and the Donmar Warehouse.
Are there ticket booths to buy last-minute tickets at?
There are lots of ticket booths around Leicester Square that sell tickets for shows and events at a discounted price. Encore Tickets has a ticket booth inside Leicester Square tube station, near to many West End theatres including the Prince of Wales, the Duke of York’s and Wyndham’s theatres.
When buying tickets from ticket booths, be flexible in what show you would like to see. The show you may want to see could have sold out, so approach buying a last-minute theatre ticket at a ticket booth with a few shows in mind to avoid disappointment.
I want to see a specific show but it’s sold out, can I still get last minute tickets for it?
There are some shows which are either very popular or may only have a short run, so performances frequently sell out. Some shows operate a ticket lottery which allows winners the chance to buy tickets for shows on that day at a fraction of the cost. To make the most of these, it’s good to set reminders or alarms so you can apply or book tickets as soon as they go on sale.
Hamilton‘s ticket lottery is very popular, as entrants pine for £10 tickets to the newest revolution in the West End.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child holds the elusive “Friday Forty”, which has recently changed its system. From Monday at 12.01am to 1.00pm on Friday, you can enter the lottery to buy tickets for both parts at £20 each, totalling £40. Forty winners are then notified between 1.00pm and 5.00pm each Friday to then buy tickets for performances of Parts One and Two across the following week. This system requires you to be persistent and it may mean you have to apply many times before you are successful, but it’s worth trying to see if you can become part of the “Friday Forty”.
For last-minute tickets, book with Encore Tickets.
Looking for last minute tickets but want to make sure you’re getting a good deal? Find out how to get cheap theatre tickets with our guide for nabbing the best deals. You can find out even more about London theatre here too.