There’s nothing like topping off a short-break in the UK capital with a visit to the West End theatre. A big-budget, glitzy musical, an acclaimed drama, a Shakespeare comedy or tragedy, or the hot new thing on the London stage; take your pick – there’s so much to choose from. There is one thing that puts off some London visitors, though; West End theatre can be pricey. So how to get around this? Well, you could approach a third-party seller such as the excellent TKTS company, of course, yet one of the best open secrets ofthe West End is that a number of shows release decent tickets on the day of performance at knock-down prices…
An approach the theatres have adopted is holding ‘daily lotteries’ for cheap tickets. Those interested are usually required to go along to a theatre and enter a lottery two-and-a-half hours before the performance, with the draw made two hours before it starts –
half-an-hour later. Should you be lucky enough to get hold of a ticket this way,exactly how much it will cost is, of course, down to the discretion of the theatre that’s selling them – and dependent on the show too. However, shows for which you may be able to get cheap tickets this way include:
• Aladdin (Prince Edward Theatre, 28 Old Compton Street W1D 4HS/ May 27th-October 1st) – seats in the stalls for £25 each
• The Book of Mormon (Prince of Wales Theatre, Coventry Street W1D 6AS/until August 20th) – seats in the stalls for £20 each
• Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (Palace Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue W1D 5AY/ June 7th 2016-May 27th 2017) – preview seats £30 each; seats thereafter £40. Moreover, on Fridays at 1pm tickets will be available to buy online for each of the following week’s performances (20 tickets in total).
Another way to get hold of cheap West End theatre tickets is to pop along to a venue just before 10am on the day you hope to see a performance – which is ideal should you be staying in the area at, say, The Piccadilly West End hotel. In doing so you might be able to get your mitts on a reduced ticket for a performance that day. Shows that this policy’s in operation for include:
• The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (Gielgud Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue W1D 6AR/until Saturday October 29th) – seats are available from the theatre box-office from 10am priced £15 on the day, while 150 tickets each priced £12 are available daily (maximum 2 tickets per person in both cases)
• Funny Girl (Savoy Theatre, Strand WC2R 0ET/ until October 8th) – 15 stall seats each priced £15 are available on the day of the performance from the theatre box-officefrom 10am
• Matilda (Cambridge Theatre, Earlham Street WC2H 9HU/ until May 28th2017) – eight tickets each priced £5 for thoseaged 16-25 are available on the day of performance from the theatre box-office, from 10am (one ticket purchasable per person).