Money matters II

Theatres, concerts etc

London used to be famous for its theatre life. Now, it’s mostly the same as anywhere else.

But you can find interesting local productions if you look around.

More theatres use dynamic pricing. As shows become popular, prices increase. Buying early saves money. On the other hand, unpopular shows can become cheaper.

Theatres outside the centre can be considerably cheaper (eg £40 v £300).

To buy a ticket, go to the website for the theatre. Follow a link from there to booking. Some theatres are in groups (eg ATG) and use a centralised booking system. Concert venues often use systems like Ticketmaster.

Be very careful of scam sites selling nothing.

For theatres, there are sites that sell tickets at full price (plus service charge, plus theatre restoration fee) plus their own fees (could be £10 or more). You may be able to get the exact same ticket elsewhere cheaper. These sites look convincingly official, but often they are not. Look carefully at what you are paying for. If in doubt, don’t. Ring the box office.

There is a reduced price ticket booth in Leicester Square. What is available may vary and could be pot luck. They are official and will give you information on seating etc. It might be worth a punt on a rainy day. You can see on-line what is available.

There are other places offering tickets (or cheap tickets) for shows. What you get may be overpriced and behind a pillar (very many theatres have restricted view) or it may be just fine and you are lucky.

Turning up on the morning of a show at a theatre may get you a cheap ticket. Popular shows may get returns. Not cheap, but available.

Look out for additional charges on-line. Some are unavoidable (service charges), some may be optional (theatre restoration fund, though increasingly this is just added regardless) and then you are invited to add more. Don’t. This all can add £30+ per ticket extra.

Programmes are nice souvenirs but are often overpriced (£10) for what they are (books of adverts).

Big ticket events always attract touts. They are not a charity. Many venues do not allow you in if you are not the named person on the ticket. It’s illegal.

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