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How to buy London theatre tickets

How to buy London theatre tickets

Ticketing tips: How to buy London theatre tickets

First Published 8 May 2019, Last Updated 21 February 2020

When trying to buy London theatre tickets to a West End show, there are plenty of things to take into account, whether it be finding exactly what you’re looking for (London offers plays, musicals, operas, dance, and much more), learning where to book tickets safely or finding out where to purchase the cheapest theatre tickets or last minute offers.

So to help you get the best deals, we’ve compiled some of our top tips on how to buy London theatre tickets. You’ll find that there are plenty of ways to save money on your trip to the theatre and enjoy a great day out to boot.

1. You can buy London theatre tickets at every budget

Theatre Tokens partners with Tesco

Take a look around – shows offer a number of tickets at a range of prices for performances all year round, so you should be able to find tickets to suit every budget.

Just like a West End performer, theatre ticket prices don’t stand still, but are instead dynamic. Ticket prices can go up or down every week depending on availability, so if you can be flexible with your dates, you will often find fantastic deals, particularly at midweek performances.

What’s more, some productions even offer discounted theatre tickets if you queue on the day of the performance – make sure to check out each production’s website for more information.

2. Try a show preview

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During previews (usually recognised as performances before press/opening night), tickets for many productions will be available at a reduced price. This is a great way to save money and see a production before any of your friends – as long as you promise not to spoil the ending!

You can also catch a sneak peek into some of the West End’s leading musicals and discover London’s exciting new shows with free performances at the annual West End LIVE in Trafalgar Square which be will taking place on Saturday 20 – Sunday 21 June 2020.

To find out which shows will be featured in this year’s lineup, keep an eye out for announcements on our Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and emails. See you at the stage!

3. Book theatre tickets safely with STAR

Ticketing tipsCredit: STAR

You should only book your tickets with Official London Theatre or another member of STAR – that’s the Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers, the self-regulatory body for the entertainment ticketing industry across the United Kingdom.

You can always trust a member of STAR with your booking and, if something were to go wrong, you have somebody to turn to.

4. Enjoy great family ticket deals with Kids Week

Kids Week 2018

Kids Week has been running since 1998, and every August, it sees thousands of families descend on theatres across London for a packed month of theatrical fun.

During Kids Week, a child aged 16 or under goes free with any full paying adult, and parents can also purchase up to two extra children’s tickets at half price. There is also a range of free activities which accompany performances and can help make your family theatre trip even more magical.

Kids Week is back for another year from 1-31 August 2020. Participating shows will be announced on 2 June, and tickets will go on sale on 9 June. Sign up to our newsletter to get your alerts! 

5. Find last minute theatre tickets at TKTS

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TKTS has been in Leicester Square for more than 30 years, and is famous for its excellent on-the-day deals and discounts to West End shows and London theatre shows.

The staff at TKTS are some of theatre’s most committed fans with a wealth of West End knowledge, and are happy to answer any of your questions. TKTS is open seven days a week, and is the perfect place to buy cheap London theatre tickets in person.

6. Get cheap theatre tickets with initiatives including Official London Theatre’s New Year Sale

In case you hadn’t heard, during January and February, a whole host of top London shows offer amazing discounts through Official London Theatre’s New Year Sale, inviting you to get into London theatre. Tickets are reduced to £10, £20, £30 or £40 depending on the show, offering some of the cheapest London theatre tickets of the year.

Our New Year Sale has finished for this year, but be sure to sign up to our newsletters to be the first to learn about all our events and other future promotions.

7. Keep up to date with London theatre ticket offers and the latest shows

Official London Theatre’s e-newsletter brings you the latest news, offers, London theatre ticket deals and competitions, plus updates from the TKTS ticket booth every week.

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Official London Theatre also compiles Access London Theatre, which features audio-described, captioned, signed and relaxed performance listings for theatres across London.

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8. Visit theatre websites and sign up for their newsletters

Ticketing Tips - Sign UpCredit: STAR

For pre-sale alerts as well as offers and all the latest updates, be sure to visit theatre websites and sign up to the newsletters.

9. Follow our social media platforms to keep up to date with all the exciting news and events

Whether you follow Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or YouTube, we’ve got you covered with all the exciting news and events coming to Theatreland so be sure to hit like, follow and subscribe!

10. Save money with theatre ticket schemes

RSC at the Barbican. Credit: Barbican

There are plenty of great ticketing schemes to save money at theatres across London including National Theatre’s Friday Rush, English Opera House’s Opera Undressed and Secret Seat, PwC £10 Previews at The Old Vic, Young Vic’s £10 Lucky Dip tickets and Arcola Theatre’s Pay What You Can Tuesdays. There are also ticket lotteries for shows including Hamilton and Dear Evan Hansen.

In addition, if you’re a student or under the age of 30, check out our list of where to find discounted theatre tickets for young people including YOUNG+FREE at the Donmar Warehouse, Young ROH, The RSC Key and English National Opera’s Access All Arias.

11. Other things to consider

Guide to buying London theatre tickets

Pay attention to ticket restrictions: Venues and promoters will sometimes place restrictions on tickets to ensure extra security measures. For example, you may have to provide a form of ID or the payment card used to purchase the tickets in order to collect your tickets.

Check pricing: There are often extra add-ons and VIP packages on offer which offer a better position or additional benefits. Finalise what budget you are working with and check what exactly is included in the price if you are purchasing a package deal. For example, if it is a concessionary ticket, what proof will you need to provide?

Ticket type: The most common options available for ticketing is digital, printed paper e-tickets, tickets delivery by mail or collection from the box office. If you have tickets that are delivered in the post, be sure to add the correct address and keep them safe as it’s often not possible for those to be duplicated. If you’re moving or have a different postal address to your billing address, be sure to enter the correct details or notify the seller with plenty of time before the event so they can ensure your ticket is sent to the correct place.

Be careful what details you share: Avoid sharing the booking confirmation, images of tickets or barcodes as it may allow others to replicate the ticket and gain entry, therefore preventing you from getting into the show.

Now that you’ve got the lowdown, all you need to do is check out what shows are on offer and get planning!

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If you click through to seat selection (where you'll see either best available or a seating plan), you will be seeing the most up-to-date prices. If this differs from what we've written on the calendar, please bear with us, as those prices will update soon.

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

Monday 6 April: The following statement has been issued by the Society of London Theatre (SOLT) on behalf of the major commercial West End theatre operators and the Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers (STAR), to provide clear information for customers with regards to their theatre bookings and help ease the unprecedented strain on box offices and ticket agents in light of the Covid 19 pandemic.

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.

Theatre box office and ticket agents teams are continuing to work through the very high number of ticket orders affected by the cancellations. An average of 300,000 people a week attend West End theatres, so this a huge task. The situation is exacerbated by the fact that all our teams are now working remotely in response to government restrictions, many with reduced numbers of staff due to the virus, and this will be adding to the time it will take us to process your order.

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.