Frequently asked questions about a trip to the West End
Whether you’re a West End regular, or you’ve never been to see a show at a London theatre before, it’s likely you’ll have questions about your upcoming trip. We’ve put together a list of questions regularly asked about going to the West End and what to do, so you can watch a production with peace of mind and enjoy a high-quality evening of live entertainment.
Questions about West End theatre
How do I get to the West End?
The area commonly known as the ‘West End’ (or Theatreland) is in central London. While an official boundary for Theatreland is not set, it is commonly attributed to stretch from Covent Garden to Trafalgar Square and their surrounding areas. If you’re looking for help getting across London, why not take a look at our complete guide to the London Underground.
Important London stations for the West End are:
Tottenham Court Road
How can I find the cheapest tickets?
Going to the West End doesn’t have to be expensive. With regularly updated deals across a variety of West End productions, you’ll be able to see as many shows as you wish without breaking the budget.
What should I wear to the theatre?
There are no dress codes for attending the theatre, however you may wish to ‘dress up’ for the occasion. Follow our tips on what and what not to wear to the theatre, as well a history of fashion etiquette across London theatres.
What time should I arrive at the theatre?
If you are going to see a show, we recommend arriving at the theatre 30 minutes before the show is scheduled to start:
2:30pm start – 2:00pm arrival
7:30pm start – 7:00pm arrival
This will allow you to get to the theatre in plenty of time, allowing for traffic or a last minute stop somewhere along the way, as well as time to collect tickets from the box office.
How do I collect my tickets from the box office?
When arriving at the theatre, the box office will typically be at the entrance of the building or in the foyer. You’ll be guided to a booth where you’ll be able to collect your tickets, however you will need to take your confirmation email and a form of identification as proof of purchase.
What is the running time of the show I’m seeing?
The average running time of a production is 2 hours and 30 minutes, with a 15-20 minute interval halfway through the performance. Some productions may not have an interval however, so it’s worth double checking to see how long the show will be. Why not check our guide to running times in the West End?
Where should I sit in the theatre?
With some West End theatres accommodating for over 1,000 audience members per performance, it can be difficult to decide where to book seats in an auditorium. With our guide, you’ll be able to read about the different parts of a seating guide from the stalls to the grand circle, however here’s a quick summary.
Stalls: Stalls seats are located on the same level as the stage, allowing audience members to sit close to the stage and feel immersed in the action.
Premium: Typically the best seats in the house, premium seats are in the centre of the stalls section. However, premium seats are likely to be the most expensive spots in the theatre.
Dress Circle: Also called royal circle or circle, the dress circle is the second level of seats, allowing audiences the chance to see the stage from a wider angle that is further away from the action.
Grand Circle: The third level of seats, the grand circle (or upper circle) seats may miss you mean the intimacy of action on stage, but can often be the cheapest seats in the house.
Can I use my phone during the performance?
Taking pictures or video photography during a performance is strictly forbidden and you may be asked to leave. There are a few shows which invite audiences to film during the curtain call, but you’ll be notified of when this is allowed, so keep your phone in your bag and switched off!
Am I allowed to eat in the theatre?
Food and drink are not banned from an auditorium, however it’s wise to be respectful of your fellow theatregoers before tucking into a snack. We’ve put a guide together so you will be able to eat in the theatre without unfolding a meal.
If a cast member is not on stage for a show, can I get a refund?
Although the cast for a production will stay the same for performances, there is a possibility that an understudy may perform a role rather than the billed cast member. Unfortunately, understudies on stage does not count as a reason to request a refund.
Will I get a refund if a production stops or closes early?
If a production closes early than originally promoted, you will receive an email notification with a refund, or the opportunity to exchange tickets to an alternative performance before the newly-announced closing date.
If a show is cancelled midway through a performance, you will be able to ask questions to members of the staff at the theatre, who will tell you what actions to take while at the production. You can contact Encore Tickets after the performance, who will be able to advise you on the next step.