Your Guide to Scoring Cheap Theatre Tickets: Mastering the Art of Affordable Entertainment

Discover the secrets to securing cheap theatre tickets without sacrificing the magic of live performances. Our comprehensive article unveils proven strategies, from insider tips to online deals.

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A simple Google search of ‘cheap theatre tickets’ will return thousands of results making it difficult to truly find the best deal. Your best bet is to start at the theatre or show-specific box office so you can establish a good idea of what the tickets are selling for at full price. 

Next, you’ll want to look for some reputable sites amongst the theatre-going community such as TodayTix, Lastminute.com, and Stagedoor. Before buying it's also a good idea to check out trust pilot reviews especially if it's a seller you don't recognise. 

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Watch a performance at your local cinema

If you’re not too attached to the idea of physically being in the theatre and seeing the show in person, the cinema can be a great alternative. Cinemas like ODEON often have recordings of theatre performances showing throughout the week. You don't need to worry about the cost of cinema tickets either as these can be bought relatively cheaply using these tips and tricks. 

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Ticket-saving apps and websites

The most popular theatre ticket-saving app is TodayTix which often has tickets for sale with a heavy discount of 50-70%. Its main competitor Stagedoor offers similar savings so both are worth having to maximise the savings. 

Theatre Tickets Direct also offers 50% off a wide variety of shows and better yet you can save even more when you use one of our coupon codes. 

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Become a volunteer

Many theatres that operate outside of the west end and other popular districts are run with the help of volunteers. While you will have to do some work, such as greeting ticket holders and escorting people to their seats, once the show begins you’ll likely be able to sit back and enjoy it too. 

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Free ticket schemes

There are a handful of organisations that run ‘free’ ticket schemes, these organisations' primary focus is to fill seats for underperforming shows or require a full audience, and while this may give you the idea that the only shows available are bad ones this isn't necessarily the case. 

Furthermore, these tickets aren't technically free as they come with an admin charge of anywhere between £2.50 - £5 some are also only available after purchasing an annual membership. 

Despite this, it's still usually much cheaper than buying tickets directly from the box office. The most popular companies that have ‘free’ ticket schemes are Central Tickets, Audience Club, and Masterclass. However, please bear in mind that most of these schemes only operate in London.  

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Theatre specific schemes

Most major theatres will also have their own membership schemes which can be a great way to save especially if you’re routinely visiting the same theatre. 

The National Theatre is likely one of the most popular theatres in the country and has a variety of memberships available:

Standard membership gets you access to priority booking, regular news updates, exclusive member content, and more. The cheapest level of this membership is priced at £80 (£6.67 monthly) and gets you access to all the amenities mentioned. 

Up from that is the Priority Plus membership priced at £200 (£16.67 a month) which includes all the benefits of a Priority membership, plus access to the Member’s room once a year which is the Ashcroft Room where a members-only bar with river views is located. You’ll also be credited by name on the National Theatre website as a show of gratitude for supporting the theatre. 

For those of you that can't always make it to the theatre this one might be of interest to you, the Digital+ membership gives you all the perks of a priority membership as well as access to the National Theatre's exclusive streaming platform, National Theatre at Home. 

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Ticket lotteries

If you’re not bothered about what you’re going to see and just really crave that theatre experience, entering a ticket lottery could be your best bet. Lotteries can usually be entered by visiting your theatre of choice and placing your name in the ballot. Some theatres also have lotteries available on their website, either way, there's normally a small fee of around £10-£15 to enter. 

April 2022 Desk Calendar

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Preview or midweek shows

Obviously, the busiest times for theatres are the weekends. Theatres often struggle to fill their seats during the week, which presents a great opportunity for those of you with flexible schedules. As such theatres will often entice theatregoers with cheaper tickets during the week in an effort to fill more seats. 

Another great option for those of you with more free time is going to a preview showing. Preview shows run just before a show officially launches, these showings are done to allow the theatre company to perform in front of a live audience and make tweaks if they need to. Due to these shows not being the ‘final’ product tickets are heavily discounted. 

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 04: (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) Statler and Waldorf speak on stage during Amnesty International's Secret Policeman's Ball at Radio City Music Hall on March 4, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Amnesty International)

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Sit in the gods

The ‘gods’ are seats located high up or on the balcony meaning the views aren't always great and can be particularly uncomfortable if you have vertigo. However, they often do sell at a much cheaper price than regular standard tickets. Better yet there's a good chance that in quieter shows you’ll be moved down to regular seats anyway but it’s up to you if you want to take such a gamble. 

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Theatre schemes for young people

If you’re a student based in London then the Young Barbican is definitely worth signing up for. The scheme allows you to get tickets for art experiences such as film, music, and theatre at discounted prices of £5, £10, or £15. The best part is that it's entirely free to register. 

Don't worry if you’re not in London however, The MAC based in Belfast offers its own scheme for cheap theatre tickets aimed at young people. Those of you aged between 16-24 can sign up via email to receive tickets for as little as £5. 

Scottish theatre-goers also have their own alternative available to them. The National Theatre of Scotland offers tickets for just £5 for people aged between 14-26 or on Universal Credit. 

EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - AUGUST 06: Artists of the company perform in Fantastically Great Women Who Changed The World at The Pleasance during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2022 on August 6, 2022 in Edinburgh, Scotland. (Photo by Robbie Jack-Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images)

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Fringe shows

Fringe shows are a popular alternative to mainline theatre shows. Not only are they cheaper, but they're also a great way to see some celebrities and get exposed to newer and experimental performances. 

The easiest way to view a fringe show is to visit a fringe festival such as Edinburgh Fringe Festival. However, fringe shows can be found across a number of smaller venues such as pubs, town halls, and churches. 

Joshua Ludewig
Copywriter

Hey! I'm Josh and I started working at MyVoucherCodes in March 2023. Prior to this, I studied at Cardiff Metropolitan University where I completed a Master's degree in Specialist Journalism, I also completed a Bachelor's degree in History at Liverpool John Moores University. My interest in history ultimately rekindled my love of writing, which largely stems from the aspect of deducing motive and subtext from both historical sources and contexts. However, this fascination with critical thinking has now expanded beyond that of the historical, it now pervades many aspects of my interests from the film, video games, and technical fashion to larger societal issues and the efforts being made to combat them through technological advancements. It is my desire to produce media discussing these topics at length and apply critical analysis to them.


When I'm not working, I enjoy reading, listening to music, watching films, and playing games. I'm particularly interested in Welsh history and sci-fi and fantasy genres. I also love attending Europe's biggest gaming convention in Cologne every year and e-skating during the warmer months.