STAR: Buy tickets from a STAR member or one of their affiliates – STAR operate within guidelines supported by, amongst others, the Office of Fair Trading. Full list of STAR members (including our ticket suppliers SeeTickets and Encore Tickets) http://www.star.org.uk/
DISCOUNTS: Many theatre ticket websites managed by members of STAR offer discounted tickets and you can search for these online.
CONTACT INFORMATION: It is best to book tickets from websites where there is a contact email address and also a contact telephone number displayed. There is nothing worse than making a booking online and you receive nothing in your email inbox – you need to be able to contact someone if you need to. If something ‘technical’ has gone wrong it is very important to get it rectified and get the tickets that you have paid for!
OFFICIAL WEBSITES: You should always compare prices to see what is available from the official website of the theatre (or the official website of the production) that you wish to book tickets for. It is probably the best ‘baseline’ for finding what tickets are available and at what prices. A list of the main Official West End Theatre Websites
If ANY website looks like an official West End theatre website and it is not on the list – then it is NOT likely to be an official West End theatre website. Somewhere on the website it should say “official website”. If it says “not the official website” or “unofficial website”, this is not to say that those tickets are not from a reputable source, but simply they are not from the actual official theatre website. (Most official theatre websites and the production that is showing there – will usually take you through to the same ticket booking page)
TICKETS ON THE DAY: If you don’t want to book online or by telephone, and are happy to buy tickets on the day in London – you can get discounted tickets from TKTS theatre ticket booth in Leicester Square.
What they currently have listed is here http://www.tkts.co.uk/whats-on-sale/ – TKTS is run by the Society of London Theatre on behalf of the theatre industry. Open Monday to Saturday 10.00am to 7.00pm and Sunday 11.00am to 4.30pm. At the time of writing this, the tickets on offer were for today and the next two days – and not beyond that.
DISCOUNTED TKTS LONDON: Always search online to see if there are any discounted tickets available for your chosen show(s) and not just the cheaper seats. It is possible to get top priced seats discounted and these are the ‘bargains’ that you should look out for. Theatres and ticket suppliers may change what is on offer from one day, or one week to the next. There are also ‘Flash Sales’ which may be from 1-2, or 3-4 days.
Watch out for these as you can potentially save a lot of money. The bestselling shows may not give discounted tickets on a regular basis, as they don’t need to, and some shows may rarely (and possibly never) give discounts.
DAY SEATS: Day Seats or Day Tickets (from the actual theatres) are another option to get cheaper tickets – and often for very good seats. Some theatres/shows offer Day Seats where they sell a limited number of cheaper tickets on the day of the performance. A variation of this can be a ‘Daily Lottery’. While you can usually arrive on the day to queue, it has been known for people to start queuing overnight in order to get a ticket for a popular show!
GROUP BOOKINGS: Most shows will offer a discount if you make a group booking. The number to qualify for a group booking discount may vary, but is typically in the region of 10 or more. Quite simply, get a group of people to go to the theatre together, and save some money. School bookings may differ.
ADDITIONAL TICKET OFFERS: Many shows offer ‘concessions’ and it is always worth looking at these to see if you are eligible. Also, during the year there are a number of ticket offers and promotions, not just in London but elsewhere. For example each year there is Kids Week: where kids go free to top London shows during August.
SEATING PLANS: A question often asked is “where is the best place to sit?” Ask 100 people where they like to sit when they go to see a particular show and you are very likely to get many different answers. There are several websites that have opinions from theatregoers or the website owner, but perhaps a better option is to ask someone you know or join an online theatre group and get different opinions there from someone you ‘know’. Generally speaking, the best seats in an auditorium are within 4-12 (as a guideline) rows from the front of the stage in the stalls, and in the centre – and these are also likely to be the most expensive or premium seats. Some people prefer the Dress Circle, Royal Circle (or similar name) in order to get a view ‘looking down’ towards the stage. Where you sit is a personal choice that may also depend on your budget. In terms of actual seating, many of the London West End theatres were built more than 100 years ago, and it seems were not always built for comfort. If you have any personal requirements then email or telephone the ticket agent, or the theatre. The bottom line is – where you sit and which show you go to see is a personal choice.
PREVIEWS: Many productions will offer reduced prices for shows when they are in the ‘preview period’ before the official Opening Night. In most cases, the show is unlikely to change very much and some good deals can be obtained during this time.
WHEN TO BOOK?: Whether to book a long time in advance or when tickets first become available can be a double-edged decision. In some cases booking in advance can get you great seats and good prices. That is, IF there aren’t suddenly discounted tickets for the show that later come up on offer.