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Burnham reveals free ticket scheme

First Published 23 September 2008, Last Updated 23 September 2008

Culture Secretary Andy Burnham has today unveiled a new £2.5 million scheme which aims to offer one million free theatre tickets to anyone under 26 years old over the next two years.

The scheme, which will run between February 2009 and March 2011, could see 95 venues nationwide regularly offer a proportion of seats for free to young theatregoers.

“This investment means that a whole new audience will get the chance to enjoy the best our theatre has to offer. Theatres up and down the country will get the chance to work with us to provide a million free tickets to productions over the next two years. So it will be good for theatres who will see their audience broaden, and it will be good for actors who play at their best when performing to a full house,” Burnham commented.

This new initiative, which was conceived as a result of the McMaster Report on excellence in the arts, will primarily include venues that receive funding from Arts Council England or local authorities. Though there has been no formal announcement about participating organisations at this point, as this will be decided through a bidding process, the scheme could include venues such as the Almeida, Barbican, Bush, Donmar Warehouse, Hackney Empire, Hampstead, Lyric Hammersmith, National Theatre, Royal Court, Soho, Theatre Royal Stratford East, Tricycle and Young Vic. Many of these venues already run discount ticket schemes of their own.

“Culture has the power to change lives. I’ve seen it myself so many times. A young person attending the theatre can find it an exhilarating experience, and be inspired to explore new horizons. But sometimes people miss out on it because they fear it’s ‘not for them.’  It’s time to change this perception,” stated Burnham. “England’s theatre is among the best in the world, and it’s only right that it should be available to the widest audience possible.”

Young people wishing to find out more about going to the theatre can view our short film.



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We now sell our famous TKTS Booth discounts online here at Official London Theatre.

We are now cancelling all performances up until and including 31 May 2020 to help us process existing bookings whilst we wait for further clarity from the government in terms of when we will be able to reopen.

We are so sorry that in these testing and difficult times you are not able to enjoy the show you have booked for and hope the following helps clarify next steps in respect of your tickets .

There is nothing that you need to do if your performance has been cancelled, but we do ask for your patience.

If you have booked directly with the theatre or show website for an affected performance, please be assured that they will contact you directly to arrange an exchange for a later date, a credit note/voucher or a refund. If you have booked via a ticket agent they will also be in contact with you directly.

We are processing in strict date order of performance, so you are likely to be contacted after the date you were due to go to the theatre. However, we want to reassure you that you will be contacted, and your order will be processed, but please do bear with us.

We’d like to thank everyone who has been patient and kind in dealing with their ticket providers so far and we are sorry that we cannot process your order as quickly as we would like.

Please do not contact your credit card company as that will slow the process down and put an additional burden on our box office and ticket agent teams.

In order for us to serve our audiences the best we can, please do not get in touch with your point of sale if you have booked for performances after 31 May. Please be reassured that if we have to cancel future performances you will be directly contacted by your theatre or ticket provider. Our producers continue to plan for all eventualities dependent on the individual needs of their shows and we will provide further updates on specific shows as and when they become available.

We look forward to welcoming you back into our theatres as soon as we are allowed to resume performances. In the meantime stay safe and healthy.

While theatres are currently closed, various venues and productions are making announcements for their individual shows, including cancellations and rescheduled performances. Please check with the individual shows for details.