How to Get Cheap West End Theatre Tickets. London's West End is the world's largest theatre district. With more than forty theatres offering a variety of shows--from heart-warming musicals to hard-hitting drama--the West End is the best place to be dazzled by theatrical legends and to discover the stars of tomorrow. Tickets can be quite expensive, so it pays to know a few secrets to get the cheapest seats.
Attend a preview. Most productions have a few preview performances before press night and the official opening. Tickets for these early shows are usually offered at a significantly reduced rate. In most cases, previews allow time for the cast to get used to having an audience. There is usually great energy and excitement at these early shows, which means you get to see a special performance at a cheaper price. Preview tickets are available directly from theatres or from ticket agencies.
Get discount tickets from the tkts booths in Leicester Square and the Canary Wharf DLR station. These are operated by the Society of London Theatres to sell cheap West End tickets on the day of performance. The shows on offer vary from day to day, and you can see a list of daily availability on the tkts website or on the notice boards outside the booths. Most tickets are sold at half price plus a small booking fee, and must be booked in person on the day of the show. Check the tkts website for further details of locations and opening times.
Go to the theatre box office. Tickets bought through agencies include service charges and posting costs, which can add quite a bit to the price. You can avoid the extra expense by finding out where your chosen show is playing and then going directly to the box office where you can buy the tickets at face value. Most West End theatre box offices are open from 10 a.m., so you can avoid getting caught in the pre-show crowds.
Book with a group. Many theatres offer discounts for group bookings. Check with the box office of each theatre for details, as the minimum group size and rate of discount varies from show to show.
Join clubs and mailing lists. There are several groups for theatregoers that have special offers, discounts and group outings to the theatre. The Society of London Theatre has a newsletter with regular ticket offers, and Whatsonstage.com has promotions and a Theatregoers Club. Many ticket agencies also have mailing lists for regular theatre news and ticket discounts.
Students, pensioners, the unemployed and Equity members can often get concessions an hour before the performance, so enquire in person at the box office for the show you would like to attend.
Don't be fooled by the numerous ticket agencies in and around Leicester Square, even the ones with signs saying "official ticket agency". Many of these have hefty service charges which often make the tickets twice as expensive as buying them from the theatre box office. Stick with the tkts booth or buy directly from theatres. The tkts booth in Canary Wharf does not take cash.