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THEATRE IN LONDON - MUCH LESS PAINFUL THAN THE OPERATING KIND!
Theatre in London - Tips & Comments
Member Name: Torialou
Theatre in London - Tips & Comments
Date: 27/05/13, updated on 27/05/13 (64 review reads)
Advantages: Everything lol.
Those of you who know me outside of the world of dooyoo will know that I am a huge theatre fan, to be honest I think that might be an understatement lol. I can not imaging spending any long periods of time being unable to park my rear in a theatre seat somewhere to see another 2 -3 hours of live music, singing and dancing in who knows what genre of show!
Now I know most people wonder why, for me I wonder why more people do not want to go! The performers on these stages are some of the most talented singers, dancers, performers and musicians in the world, why would you not want to have the chance to watch and listen to them?
The calibre of these people really is outstanding, they have to perform the show's 6 days a week, that's 8 shows a week on average. They need to be fit enough to dance and sing their way through all of these shows as well as being talented enough actors to convince us that they are the characters they are playing and usually all of this in an array of accents whilst in front of an audience of hundreds to thousands of people, there is no room for error and day after day these people pull off perfect show after perfect show for us.
For many London Theatre is the creme de la creme of theatre and with the number of theatres in the city there certainly is the largest choice of shows to see so choosing the right show for yourself and then finding the right ticket can admittedly be a bit of a mine field.
WEST END THEATRES ....
The main district of theatres in London is referred to as the West End, there are over 40 theatres in this area, they vary greatly in size, the largest venues being the Apollo Victoria and the Palladium seating 2,300 people down to the Donmar Warehouse which seats 250 people. There are also lots of studios that hold a variety of events, its hard to imagine ever being unable to find something to watch.
Along side the larger theatres there are also many smaller venues, these can be anything from small pub theatres to small theatres and tend to be located outside of the main West End area. These theatres can hold anything from 40 to 500 people on average.
OFF WEST END ....
There seems to be some cross over between Fringe Theatre and Off West End, however you will most often find that this term is used to describe the small theatres found located within the West End of London but who are not classed as West end Theatres. They tend to be smaller venues that host new theatre, comedy & cabaret shows.
There are also several commercial theatres in London, these theatres are on the fridges of the centre of London, these shows tend to show touring shows (the shows that you would see at your local theatre).
BUYING TICKETS ....
There are many ways you can purchase tickets for London theatre:-
Sometimes you can get the best offers online, buying your tickets in advance. However I would always warn you to be careful that the site that you are purchasing tickets from is legitimate and I would highly recommend that you check to make sure that the site is a member of The Society Of Ticket Agents and Retailers.
If you are thinking of booking online before you travel, then I would highly suggest that you take a look at a website called Theatre monkey. This can be found at www.theatremoney.com, I call the site my theatre bible, because I spend so much time reading it and preaching about it's virtues! I would say this site is probably the best there is online for information about West End shows and venues. This site really is a handy tool for anyone thinking of seeing a show, they have a list of all current ticket offers to be found for all of the west end shows including any links/phone numbers required to book and also any promotional codes required to allow you to take these offers.
On top of this the site also has details information about all of the venues, including seating plans which give you a pictorial view of the entire theatre along with colour coded pricing for each area of the theatre. These prices are based on tickets bought directly through the theatre. They also indicate if the theatre has any Day Seat, Stand by or Lottery systems in place for the show currently in the theatre. Contact information for the venue and also the best method of transport to get to the venue.
If you do not mind where you sit, Lastminute can be a really good site to pick up some cheap tickets. The company will tell you what area of the theatre you are sat in but you will not find out what seats until you pick your tickets up on the day of the show.
IN PERSON ....
There are several options for buying tickets in person closer to the time or in advance if you live local to London or are there for a period of time. These are as follows :-
TKTS - previously known as the half price ticket booth ....
This booth is located on Leicester Square, it is on the south side of the square and has always reminded me of a public convenience building lol. This booth is the main ticket booth and usually has the best selection of tickets. These are displayed on a board by the booth or you can check online. TKTS have changed their policy in the recent years, they are no longer half price but are usually a good ¼ off the face value of the ticket. Please note that not all shows that are currently being shown in the West End are available in TKTS, the theatres release tickets to them at their discretion and depends how each show is selling, as such some shows are never or rarely available for example only available on week days, which are generally much quieter days to watch shows.
You can also advance book at TKTS now, anything up to a week in advance, again depending on what the theatres have released. They also have a small number of full priced seats for shows that can be purchased here with no mark up or booking fee so if you are wishing to see a show that is not available at a reduced price when you get there then it may be worth still asking what they have at full price for the show to save you walking up to the theatre.
LONDON THEATRE BOOKINGS ....
After TKTS the next best known ticket booth is London Theatre Bookings, this company owns many of the west end booths and have a really good selection of tickets often at very similar prices to TKTS so it is often worth checking their booths or you can also buy with them online before your trip.
I would not suggest using any other booths that are not owned by either of the two above.
AT THE THEATRE ....
The last method I would suggest is actually going to the theatre either before or on the day. Many shows have restricted view areas that can be purchased much cheaper that the general priced seats and some are not as restricted as you would expect. It is always best to do this in the actual theatre because the box office staff will let you know why the seat is restricted and how it may affect your viewing of the show.
DAY SEATS ....
Many theatres have a selection of tickets that they hold back from general sale, these tend to be called day seats, they are generally slightly restricted view seats or the front row of many theatres. These tickets are only ever available in person from the theatre and are usually on sale from 10am in the morning. These tickets are generally very reduced in price, however the only down side is there is often only a handful of them and at some shows you need to que from around 7-8 in the morning to insure you will be lucky enough to get them. It can be a bit of a lottery. However many theatres do have back up's to offer after the day seats have gone and will sell you any other restricted view seats they have left before trying to sell you full priced seats they have available.
A recent new variation of day seats that some of the theatres have started doing are offering a lottery for tickets. The rules for these vary but usually all names go into a draw and it is random who get tickets. I am yet to trial any of the shows running a lottery for tickets for day seats because they normally do not tell you if you have won the lottery until an hour and a half before the show. It is a little to last minute for me.
STANDBY TICKETS ....
These tickets are usually only available for senior citizens or students with full student ID, however it is worth checking with all theatres to see what their standby policy is because all theatres vary. Standby tickets are generally only available on the day or the show and as last minute as the hour before the showtime.
When a show first opens the tickets are always cheaper, so if you are willing to see the show while it is still in previews then it is a good time to pop down and grab yourself a discount ticket.
FOOD AND DRINK ....
If you are on a budget, then buy any soft drink and nibbles that you want to eat during the performance before you go to the theatre. You can pay as much as £2.50 for a bottle of water alone at some of the theatres so it really can add up for a family. I will say do think when buying snacks about the wrapping. There are many theatre fans who adore the shows and want to hear them, not you eating a bag of crisps or rustling a noisy packet.
Do not talk during the show, what is there to really talk about while you are watching the show? And if you really must whisper. I heard a good saying one, "excuse me! I paid to hear them, not you!"
Do enter the auditorium by the door stated on your ticket, these are printed on there so that you arrive at the right side of the theatre for your seat. If you do enter by the wrong side, go to the back of the seating area, and walk around, do not try and climb over 30 odd other people.
Lastly Enjoy the show and at the end feel free to give the cast and band a standing ovation if they were good. This is the ultimate form of respect you can pay any performer or musician and is always warmly received by them. If you do have someone in front of you who does decide to stand up simply follow suit, there is no point in complaining, standing for the bow's and encore is an accepted theatre tradition and the usher will not insist that the people sit back down again.
For me London Theatre gets 5 stars out of 5, there really is so much choice I believe I could find something even for the people sat here reading this and thinking it's still not for them.
Summary: Another Opening ... another show!!! :-)