Theatre tickets are expensive so we’ve drawn up a guide on how to get cheap theatre tickets in London. Whether you’re looking for discounted ticket outlets, schemes for young people, or just cheap tickets themselves, follow our guide to get the best and easy cheap theatre tickets. Be sure to check the A Younger Theatre opportunities list for discounted tickets and competitions.
Theatres offer cheaper tickets for preview performances ahead of a show opening. Preview lengths differ from West End to smaller fringe venues but as a general rule you can expect the first two to three days to be previews. Preview tickets can go pretty quick so it is best to book when new seasons or shows are first announced.
Make sure that you sign up to either the theatre’s mailing list, or follow them on social networks to know when tickets get released to be able to grab your cheap preview tickets.
You don’t always have to book ahead. Turning up at the box office on the day can also buy you a ticket. Theatres in the West End often hold back on average 10-20 seats in prime locations such as the front of the stalls for day seat bookers. These are often sold at a reduced day rate. If a show is sold out day tickets are a great way for getting your hands on those must have tickets.
Hot Tip: The Royal Court Theatre has standing tickets available each day for 10p an hour before performances in the Jerwood Theatre downstairs.
Under 26 Schemes
There are lots of ticket schemes for under 26s to get reduced and free tickets. Take a look at these options:
Breeze - Regents Park Open Air Theatre – £10 tickets
BUSH CONNECT – Bush Theatre – £10-12 tickets
Entry Pass – National Theatre – £5 tickets
FreeB – Barbican Centre – free tickets
Hampstead Theatre – Under 26s – £10-15 tickets
Mousetrap Theatre – 15-23 – £5-10 tickets
Ovalhouse Theatre – Under 26 – £10 tickets
Rumour - Watford Palace Theatre – £5 tickets
Theatre Fix – 16-26s – £5-12 tickets
Under 25′s Club – Old Vic Theatre – £12 tickets
Unicorn Theatre – Under 21 – £10 tickets
Young Vic Theatre – Under 25 – £1o tickets
If you’re a student, be sure to have a look at some of the venues offering ticket deals for students:
Arcola Theatre – Discounted tickets for students
Battersea Arts Centre – £8 tickets
Gate Theatre - £15 tickets for all performances
Hampstead Theatre – £10-15 tickets
Pleasance Theatre – Discounted tickets for students
Sadler’s Wells Theatre – £8 tickets for all performances
Southbank Centre – 50% off tickets
Student Standby – Royal Opera House – £10 tickets
The Place – Discounted tickets
Young Vic Theatre – £10 tickets
Under 30 Schemes
If you’re slightly older then fear not, these schemes are for under 30s:
Access All Arias – English National Opera – £10-30 tickets
Almeida Theatre - £16 tickets each Monday
Finborough Theatre – £6 tickets during the first week
Masterclass – Free-£3 tickets and workshops
Pay What You Can
Some theatres offer tickets on a Pay What You Can basis. Generally these can’t be booked in advance and are only available in person at the box office.
Arcola Theatre – Available each Tuesday. Pay on the door.
Old Red Lion Theatre – Available each Tuesday. Pay on the door.
Theatre503 – Available each Sunday. You can pay in advance online or by phone, or on the door.
Other Cheap Tickets
Not all schemes require you be of a certain age, so here is the rest of them:
Blue Elephant Theatre – Southwark Residents can claim discounted tickets.
Free First Night – Lyric Hammersmith – Free tickets if you live or work in Hammersmith and Fulham
Friday Fives – Little Angel Theatre – £5 tickets for shows at 5pm on each Friday.
Get Into London Theatre – West End – 75,000 discounted tickets for shows in the West End. On sale in December each year.
Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre – £5 tickets in ‘the yard’
Islington Firsts – Almedia Theatre – £20 tickets for residents/business in Islington.
Kids Week – West End – If you have children be sure to check out Kids Week. FREE children tickets to West End.
Old Red Lion Theatre – £10 Sunday tickets
Opera Undressed – English National Opera – £25 tickets on special ‘undress’ evenings.
Royal Court Theatre – All Monday tickets £10.
Southwark Playhouse – Pay-As-You-Go tickets, £10 tickets.
TKTS Booth – Discounted tickets in the heart of the West End
Theatre503 – 2-for-1 tickets for residents of SW11
Theatre in the Pound – £1 tickets for Cockpit Theatre’s monthly scratch night
Subscription theatre clubs are given free tickets to give to their members. Some services are free but most you have to pay for. There are certain restrictions to using these services, such as not being able to talk about it. It’s secret, shh…
Audience Club – Offering complimentary tickets (with a small admin fee) for shows in the West End and on the Fringe.
PlayByPlay – £75 registration fee and then £1-3 administration fee per tickes for shows in the West End and on the Fringe.
My BoxOffice – Free to join for tickets in the West End and on the Fringe. Defined by artform. Small admin fee per ticket booked.
WhatsOnStage – Membership with WhatsOnStage Theatre Club, for free and discounted tickets. Membership fees apply.
Equity / BECTU
If you work in the theatre industry and are a member of Equity or BECTU then you may be able to claim a discount on theatre tickets. Check with individual box offices to find out if you are eligible and don’t forget, if you’re self employed, you can also claim the tickets back as an expense for your work.