Ten ways to enjoy the theatre on a budget

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little girl peeking through velvet curtains

little girl peeking through velvet curtainsA family trip to the theatre is a fantastic experience but no doubt about it, it can cut deep into the family budget. Take a look at these ten money-saving tips to ensure that you’re getting the best value for money with your visit.

1. Book directly

Unless you can get a good deal with a discount website or special offer, make direct contact with the theatre box office to avoid the mark-ups which will be inevitable with the ticket agencies used by many theatres (especially in the West End).

2. Half price ticket booths

If you’re visiting London and want to book last-minute tickets to the theatre, the half-price ticket booth in Leicester Square – or its counterpart in Brent Cross – offers a wide selection of shows on a daily basis.

3. Cheaper performances

Consider matinee shows or dates earlier on in the performance schedule, which are often slightly cheaper than those at the end of the week. New shows often have preview performances prior to their official opening nights, offered at a reduced price.

4. Restricted view seats

These less-than-perfect views can offer a cost-saving but please take care – the quality of the view will vary greatly so be careful not to spoil your enjoyment of the show. Seek the advice of the box office staff on this.

5. Go to a regional venue

London is not the sole opportunity for seeing a new, large-scale show. Many productions go on tour around regional venues after, occasionally alongside and increasingly before, a West End run. So get on the mailing list for your local venues and keep your eyes open. Consider becoming a ‘friend’ of your local theatre to enjoy booking offers and discounts.

6. Group discounts

Why not get a party together? Most venues offer discounts for groups, for bookings for as few as10 people, easily achievable by inviting a couple of families to join in on the fun.

7. Shop around

Do your homework to seek out a good deal, just as you would for any big purchase. Look in local and national press for special offers and at reputable discount websites such as LastMinute.com for London theatre bargains.

8. Consider amateur shows

There are hundreds of superb amateur companies around the country that boast talented performers and skilled production crews. So support the efforts of your local company and spend less in the process.

9. Take your own treats

Take your own refreshments if you can. As with cinema trips, theatre sweets and drinks are expensive so think ahead and take your treats with you.

10. Gift Options

Theatre tickets make great gifts, something to bear in mind the next time someone asks you for present ideas for you or your family. Or perhaps request a contribution in the form of a theatre gift token, which can be bought from as little as £5 and are accepted at venues around the country.

How do you save money on theatre trips? Share your ideas on [email protected], including ‘Theatre savings’ in the subject line.