I have a very annoying habit where, with most theatre trips, I end up impulse buying my ticket. This is usually because the seat was cheap or it was a production likely to sell out or the Fear Of Missing Out was strong that day. Either way, I’ve realised lately that this is really not a great way for me to ensure I see loads of theatre because ultimately, my schedule becomes really busy and then I find myself in a similar position to my bank balance. Absolutely drained.
I’m trying to spend my time this year being more cautious about what shows I actually want to see and spend money on. Now as we all know, West End theatre is not cheap! So I’ve decided to try to be more cautious about the type of tickets that I purchase.
Sometimes, there are some absolute bargains that are just irresistible and I must snap up right away. This includes the TodayTix rush tickets which tend to be in the stalls, at least speaking from experience, which pretty much guarantees a great view for about £25 or less. A bargain! I’ve done the TodayTix rush for The Ferryman and I’m so glad I did. However, I have made the mistake of impulse buying a balcony seat to Chess next week when if I had waited, I would have seen that TodayTix announced rush tickets would be available and I would’ve had a better seat for the same price as the balcony seat I bought on impulse.
Another price factor for me is if a theatre offers discounts for being under 30. I am actually going to be lost when I become ineligible for these. Some really great theatres offer discounts like The Bunker Theatre which offer £10 tickets for under 30s, the Young Vic offer £10 tickets for under 25s and the National Theatre even offer half price tickets to under 18s. I wish more West End theatres actually offered a discount like the recent run of The Grinning Man did, where every seat was £25 for under 25s. My friend and I sat in £85 seats for £25 just for being under 25! A bargain!
The Leg Room
I am long legged, I need leg room! To be honest, most restricted view/balcony seats I’ve sat in haven’t been too bad. I sat in the balcony of the Harold Pinter theatre and while I wouldn’t necessarily recommend the seat due to getting slight vertigo, I did manage to squeeze three bags and a coat under my seat during a performance of Oslo. But last year I saw Don Juan In Soho starring David Tennant and I was ridiculously over the moon to grab a (yes, balcony seat at that) seat for £10! And I have to say it was the most uncomfortable seat I have ever sat on in a West End theatre. It didn’t even feel like a seat, it was more like a block of wood. And I had to spend the show sitting sideways because there was absolutely no leg room.
So, how much of this show I’ve booked a ticket for will I actually be able to see? As I mentioned, when I’ve sat in restricted view seats, the view hasn’t actually been that bad. Sure you might have to lean and fidget a bit but at least this stops me from going completely stiff. Now, of course going into a theatre I’ve never been to before, it is going to be hard for me to know what the view will be like. But there is an excellent resource that helps myself and plenty of other West End theatregoers choose what seat is worth buying.
I have been using Seatplan for the last year or so and it is honestly such a useful tool. Seatplan lets users upload their own reviews of, not just the shows they’ve seen, but the seats they sat in too. You can upload photos of your view, as long as they respect the guidelines, as well as comment on how comfortable the seat is, the amount of leg room and what the view is like. I genuinely can’t go to a West End show without writing a review afterwards. There is a whole community of West End theatregoers on Seatplan so the pool of reviews is big and more reviews will only make it bigger. In addition to this, there is a cheeky reward for reviewing seats and you can buy tickets to West End shows, sometimes even at a discounted price. For more information on Seatplan please visit https://seatplan.com
I hope you enjoyed this post! I want to know, what do you look for in booking a good theatre seat?
Until next time,