Going to the theatre doesn’t have to empty your bank balance, in fact, many theatres run schemes and programmes especially for young people, to help you access the theatre.
From discounted tickets to complete freebies, these are just some of the theatres, organisations and shows who can help you. Please note, it’s worth taking your proof of age/student ID card along when picking up tickets, as the majority of theatres will ask to see it when you collect your tickets.
The Almeida Theatre offers £5 tickets to anyone aged 25 or under on selected performances. You can either book tickets online (quoting 25UNDER in the promo code) or call the Box Office and quote “25 and Under”. You can buy a maximum of two tickets.
If you’re aged between 26-30 you can book £15 concession tickets on Monday – Thursday evenings & Wednesday & Saturday matinees.
If you’re aged between 14-25, you’re eligible to join the Young Barbican scheme. This provides its members with discounted tickets, as well as access to exclusive creative opportunities.
Each year this scheme offers £5, £10 and £15 tickets for art, film, music, theatre and dance that’s being shown at the Barbican. And the good news is, it’s completely free to join!
And to make sure your friends don’t miss out either, once you’re a Young Barbican member, you can also buy a ticket for a friend (as long as they’re also aged 14–25) for the same price.
For more information, check out the Barbican’s official website.
If you’re under 26 or in full-time education, you’re eligible for the Bush Connect ticket. This will get you £5 off a standard price ticket for productions in the Theatre, and £2.50 off standard tickets for Studio production. As well as money off tickets, Bush Connect will also get you 10% off at their Library Bar.
If you’re 25 years old or younger, you can see shows at the Donmar Warehouse for free, by signing up to their YOUNG+FREE list.
The theatre gives out thousands of free tickets to young people every year under this scheme. YOUNG+FREE tickets are offered via an online ballot to people signed up to their YOUNG+FREE list. Ballot winners will be notified at the end of each month with details of how to claim their tickets, with a limit of two tickets per person.
If you fancy entering the world of opera and dance, then the English National Opera (ENO) productions at the London Coliseum run a range of schemes to make a night at the theatre cheaper for you.
The “Access All Arias” programme offers specially priced tickets for full-time students or anyone between the ages of 16-29. A free scheme to join, tickets are priced at £30 for stall seats, £20 for dress circle, £10 for the upper circle. Members can purchase two discounted tickets per show (as long as your friend is under 30 or a full-time student), and can also buy programmes for half price.
If that wasn’t enough, the ENO is the first national opera company to give free tickets to audience members under the age of 18. These free tickets are for a Saturday performance of any ENO opera in the Balcony area of the theatre. Although it’s worth noting that if you are aged 5-16 you will need to be accompanied by an adult. To book these tickets you need to call 020 7845 9218 and the theatre’s Box Office team will help you from there. More information is available on the theatre’s website.
The ENO also offer concessionary standby tickets. These are subject to availability, and you’ll receive confirmation of whether you’re successful around three hours before the performance. You are eligible for these tickets if you’re a student, aged under 16, on income support or have a Westminster City Save card.
For every show, every performance, Hampstead Theatre offers £10 tickets for Under 30s and students for both Main Stage and Downstairs productions. You can book these tickets online, by phone or in person, and collect your tickets at the Box Office on the day of the performance.
You’ll want to move quickly though, as there are limited numbers of £10 tickets available for each performance.
This theatre runs the Young Lyric scheme, which provides opportunities and discounted tickets for young people.
Costing just £10, Young Lyric membership is divided into two categories:
- Over 18s: Next Generation Membership
- Under 18s: Young Lyric Membership
Young Lyric members can book £10 tickets to Main House shows, gain access to low cost/free courses and masterclasses, have access to the Lyric Hammersmith’s practice spaces, and more opportunities throughout the year.
Enjoy the Roald Dahl classic like never before, with Matilda The Musical. The theatre offers 16 tickets priced at £5 per performance to audience members aged between 16-25 years old. In order to buy these discounted tickets, you need to go to the Cambridge Theatre Box Office in person on the day of the performance you want to see. Only one ticket per person is allowed, and you’ll need a form of ID that proves your age.
Mousetrap Theatre Projects is a theatre education charity who are dedicated to bringing the magic of theatre into the lives of disadvantaged young people.
Primarily working with young people aged between 11-18, their goal is to get people who’ve never been to the theatre before, (whether for financial, social or cultural reasons), to experience a West End production.
Amongst their incredible work is three set schemes, which are free to join:
- theatrelive4£5: For young people in secondary state school education between the ages of 15-18.
- WestEnd4£10: For 19-23-year-olds and full-time drama / performing arts students.
- TheatreScene4£15: For 24-29-year-olds.
In addition to the discounted tickets, Mousetrap also arrange an exclusive event each month, where a pre or post-show discussion will take place with some of the cast and creatives involved in the production.
If you’re aged between 15-29, you can sign up to Mousetrap’s mailing list and receive regular theatre offers and opportunities.
The National Theatre’s Youth Programme offers cheap tickets, workshop opportunities and other events for its members. Suitable for 16-21 year olds, you can find out more on the National Theatre’s website.
They also have an Entry Pass scheme for 16-25-year-olds. This free membership provides young people with access to £7.50 tickets, exclusive workshops, events and discounts across the National Theatre.
This theatre offers free membership to anyone between the ages of 16-26. This membership will get you £10 tickets during the first week of a production (1 per customer), £5 on the day rush tickets on selected shows, as well as 10% discount in their Café Bar.
Sort out your summer plans by becoming a BREEZE member at the Open Air Theatre. Offered to anyone between the ages of 18-25, BREEZE membership offers you £10 tickets for a main-house production for you and a guest, as well as 20% discounts at the bar and the on-site restaurant, The Grill.
The Jerwood Theatre Downstairs at the Royal Court offers several ways for young people to save money on their shows.
- £12 Mondays
All seats are £12 for Monday performances. You can purchase them from the theatre’s website from 9am on the day of the performance.
- Concession discounts for students
This takes £5 off Band A and B tickets, including previews and matinees. ID will be required and concessions aren’t available for Monday performances.
- Under 26
A limited number of £15 tickets are allocated to Young Court Friends. This is a free membership scheme for young people under the age of 26 years old. As well as discounted tickets, this scheme provides 10% discount on drinks in the Royal Court Bar & Kitchen, 10% discount on playtexts from the Samuel French bookshop and website, and exemption from ticket exchange fees.
- 10p standing
A limited number of standing places go on sale one hour before each Jerwood Theatre Downstairs performance for 10p each. These places may not always be available, the views are restricted and tickets are subject to availability.
The Sadler’s Wells theatre offers advance concessions to students. This includes a limited number of £8 seats in the rear 2nd circle or Peacock Theatre’s rear stalls for all performances. You’ll need proof of age with you to collect the tickets, and you can buy a maximum of two tickets per event.
Half-price tickets for those under the age of 16 is also available on selected matinee and evening performances. Under 16s must be accompanied by an adult though.
Standby tickets are available for students and anyone under the age of 16. Priced at £17.50 for the best available place, your seat allocation is subject to availability.
If you’re looking to rock out with the School Of Rock band, then you’re in luck.
Every Wednesday, the Gillian Lynne Theatre (where the show is performed) runs a rush £10 scheme. A limited number of £10 student tickets are released at 6.30pm, an hour before the show starts. These tickets can only be purchased in person at the box office with cash. You need to show your valid student ID in order to buy them, and it’s two tickets per person max.
Discounts are available for anyone aged under 26 at most performances and productions. Concession discounts starts at £10.
Five weeks before the first preview of a show, The Old Vic releases £10 tickets. At least half the number of seats in the theatre become part of this scheme, spread across the full auditorium. Usually available for all main stage productions, it’s limited to two tickets per transaction, and are allocated on a first come, first serve basis. These tickets go quick, so it’s worth signing up to the mailing list to find out the exact date and time of these tickets being released.
If you’re a student and looking to defy gravity, the Apollo Victoria Theatre offers student discount on Wicked tickets.
In order to purchase these discounted tickets, you’ll need to go to the Apollo Victoria Box Office in person, on the day of the performance you wish to attend, with your student ID. Student discount is valid for all performances, except on Saturday evening performances and peak periods.
You can purchase two tickets per student ID, but the ID card holder must be present when the booking is made.
Accepted student IDs forms are; NUS card, NUS Extra, Young Persons Railcard, International Student Identity Card (ISIC) or international Youth Travel Card (IYTC), or any valid Student ID card with a photo.
If you live or study in the Lambeth or Southwark area of London, then the Young Vic is the place for you.
They run a free ticket scheme for young people from this area. As well as free tickets, this scheme runs workshops, offers backstage passes, and runs introduction to theatre courses. To find out more, drop them an email or pop along to the Young Vic box office.