Over the last few weeks I was lucky enough to score tickets to both Frantic Assembly’s Othello, and Gecko’s Institute. I have never been more theatre-excited as I have been in the run up to January. For the total £35 ticket price paid for two shows I wanted to share my tricks for finding affordable tickets in the ever over-priced, ever west-end-dominated theatre‘s of London.
I splashed out a whole £20 note on Gecko, and for three tickets this does add up! Being a long-standing fan, I would’ve liked to get the best seats in the house, but as I have been to that theatre before I knew it was relatively small, and would still get a great view two rows from the back. I was a bit cheeky with these tickets, as I bought them as my mum and sisters Christmas presents – in a gift for you, but really for me kind of way – so I also had a nice excuse! It was more than worth the money as I was, once again, completely amazed by what I saw at the Royal Opera House’s Linbury Studio Theatre from Gecko.
Frantic Assembly’s tickets were cheaper at £15. Believing I would find Frantic’s work as impressive as the rest of the twitter-sphere seems to – I couldn’t wait to trek the hour over to the Lyric Hammersmith, and indulge myself. I was disappointed, as I feel may only be inevitable after being exposed to what must be a thousand 140 character rave-reviews from school groups. Not the best £15 ever spent, but I still enjoyed the show, and I was lucky enough to have the cost covered by work this time (perk of an art’s salary). It’s always a good idea to consider travelling out of Zone 1. Theatres like the Lyric, the Hampstead Theatre, and Greenwich often have great touring shows for a fraction of the price they are in the West End.
If you are under 25, you are in luck! The National Theatre’s Entry Pass, gets you in to top shows for a fiver, but you will be sat at the back row of the Olivier where sometimes those tiny binoculars would be useful! The Young and Old Vic’s both have schemes for under 25’s where tickets start from £10, even after they transfer to the west end! So don’t be put off if you missed a show the first time round!
Over 25’s fear not, as the National also hold its annual Travelex Season (normally end of summer to Autumn time) where tickets start from £12. Often, trips to fringe theatres (Southwark Playhouse is always a good one to try) or festivals (Institute was performed as part of the London International Mime Festival) will get you tickets at a fraction of the price, and you often get to see something new, interesting and refreshing – that’s no guarantee of its quality though!
Often restricted view seats are significantly cheaper, and whilst sometimes it’s fine, be wary. Being stuck behind a pillar, and trying to not to bang heads with the people sat either side as you peer round to catch a glimpse of the top corner of the stage does not make a great environment for taking in a show.
When you consider the £150 top tier seats for shows like the Lion King or Book of Mormon, there are tickets out there that are basically pennies in comparison. In my opinion, watching new shows is one of the most important things to do when you work in the arts industry. It gives me inspiration, knowledge, keeps my ideas relevant, and reminds me why I went into the industry in the first place. So I try not to let the cost put me off.