Your student loan is running low, you dread your parents discovering your overdraft or you really might have to quit the part time job. You just graduated and you’ve got a hectic portfolio of part time arts jobs. Have you ever wondered where you can get cheap theatre tickets for students and young people? Do you ever ask, can I afford to go to the theatre? With these tips, the theatre, opera and arts will seem more affordable.
Specifically for Students and Young People
1. Entry Pass at the National Theatre Book £5 tickets for all that splendid theatre at the National, with your first ticket completely free after signing up.
2. Last Minute at the National Theatre If you’re a student, go to the box office 45 minutes before the show start time and you can buy best available seats for £15 – a huge reduction from tickets potentially worth £30-40. If there aren’t any tickets left (and only then) you (anyone – not just students) can buy standing tickets for £5.
3. RSC Key with Loyalty Card If you book early, the RSC sells £5 tickets for 16-25 year olds. Use the discount code 1625 on the website. If you sign up for the RSC Key you will be sent a loyalty card and you will get every sixth show completely free.
4. Young Barbican The Barbican Arts Centre offers a variety of discounted tickets (£5, £10, £15) for theatre, dance, art, music and film to 16-25 year olds. Free to join!
5. Access all Arias with the ETO The English Touring Opera Company (ETO) offer discounts for opera and ballet to students and anyone under 30, for in house productions at the London Coliseum. Tickets range from £10-£30 and you can bring a friend for the same price.
6. The Old Vic U25s Club Hundreds of £12 tickets every performance for U25s, book online using the promo code (PWC U25) or join the U25s club.
7. Bush Connect Become a member of Bush Connect to obtain £12 tickets for shows at the home of young theatre-makers and new playwrights.
8. Theatre Fix Theatre Fix brings discounted tickets for London’s hottest shows to 16-26 year olds. A brilliant website which rounds up the latest opportunities and offers for young people.
9. Mouse Trap Theatre This charity is dedicated to bringing the magic of theatre to the lives of young people. They advertise offers and organise an event each month, for 19-23 year olds. WestEnd4£10 offers £10 tickets to 19-23 year olds to see a professional show, as well as offering the chance to attend a pre or post-show talk with the cast or creatives.
10. Studentbeans.com You can get up to 50% on popular West End shows, often together with offers such as dinner included.
11. TRIKE at the Tricycle Theatre Join TRIKE for free to get £10 theatre tickets and £5 cinema tickets for people U26. Also perks of free workshops included in ticket price!
12. A Younger Theatre A website set up specifically to voice the opinion’s of young people, which often posts offers to see all kinds of theatre with student discounts or offers, as well as competitions to win free tickets.
13. Orange Tree Theatre £10 tickets for Under 30s from Tuesday to Thursday evenings.
14. Young Friends of the Almeida Join the YFA for £15 for access to Happy Mondays tickets at £5, their young companies and creative board, newsletter and creative projects. The Almeida also sells £18 tickets for Mondays to audience members U30 – book online with the discount code UNDER30.
15. Royal Opera House £10 Student Standby Become an ROH Student member for free to access £10 tickets, dedicated booking and more discounts.
16. Young Vic Book early to get £10 tickets for students and Under 25s.
17. Hampstead Theatre £10 tickets for Under 30s and Students at the Downstairs (£15/£10 Upstairs)
18. Roundhouse Get In Free membership scheme, providing £5 tickets for gigs and shows to 16-25 year olds.
Last Minute Cheap Tickets
1. Queue for Returns on the Day Depending on the theatre, check individual websites, you can queue for tickets returned by people who can no longer make the show. If you turn up just before a show, you can sometimes be lucky and find someone selling a ticket from a partner or friend who couldn’t make it.
2. Check the Website on the Day Some theatres like the Royal Opera House release tickets online when the box office opens in the morning and you can sometimes get great bargains.
3. Lastminute.com Use this website to find popular West End shows at discounted prices.
4. Monday Tickets The Donmar release £10 front row tickets every Monday at 10am for shows that week. The Royal Court also sells some tickets for their Monday £10 shows at 9am the day of the show, so you can even get tickets for sold-out productions.
5. Leicester Square Ticket Booth TKTS This is the only street seller’s booth I would buy from in London and as a last resort if I am desperate to see a big name show. Tickets go for around £30, which is a huge saving from full price West End Shows.
6. Pay What You Can Tuesdays at the Arcola Theatre They suggest a donation of £5, but on Tuesday evenings you can pay what you can at the Arcola. Best chance of getting these tickets is queueing well before 6.30pm in the week of performances before press reviews. They also have concession tickets for students etc.
1. Get a Bulk Discount with Some Friends Gather together a whole group to all see a show and receive huge discounts. This would be most feasible if you want to see a play related to something on your course. You could also lobby a university society to buy group tickets.
2. Ask for a Friends Membership as a Gift This route can pay for itself if you go to the theatre often enough and you will get priority booking.
3. Previews See new shows as early as possible, reruns go up in price and previews are after often cheaper.
4. Social Media The RSC, for example, is great at posting group booking cancellations on Twitter, which go for £10 a ticket. Other theatres do the same. I recommend signing up for the Ambassador Group’s email list, as they send out last minute deals. You are also more likely to get popular tickets which go quickly if you are keeping up on social media.
5. Newspaper Discount Codes Go old school and check the papers in the library for discount codes or check websites like Bargain Theatre (@bargaintheatre) and Theatre Monkey (also had good advice about where to sit in the theatres).
6. Seatwave Exchange your tickets for something you want on this online tickets marketplace. Particularly useful for sold out shows.
7. Digital Theatre Download performances from British theatres such as The Globe, The Young Vic and the RSC to your laptop to watch whenever you like. These are particularly useful for revision! You can get student discounts with an NUS card.
8. Live Screenings If you don’t live close to London then how about seeing shows broadcast in the cinema? National Theatre Live, Globe on Screen and RSC Live, among others, broadcast their most popular shows across the country. You can buy student priced cinema tickets and won’t need to spend money on travelling.
9. Student Theatre Support your fellow students and go to see their plays. The tickets are inexpensive and often even free.
10. Student Journalism Become involved with your student newspaper or an online student journal and you might be able to go to the theatre absolutely free with a press ticket if you write them a review.
11. Stewarding Become a volunteer steward at Southwark Playhouse and you can see all of their shows completely free! You just have to commit to at least two shifts a month. Theatre Delicatessen also have a volunteer stewarding programme.
On a final note, do not buy from Ticketmaster or ATG Tickets unless you want to be thoroughly cheated of your money. They may charge both a booking fee and a fee to post your tickets.
*Updated May 2015. All correct to my knowledge at this date – do comment if any information is out of date!