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10.3 London Venues Information: How To Get Tickets




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This article is from the Theatre FAQ, by aku@leland.Stanford.EDU (Andrew Chia-Tso Ku) with numerous contributions by others.

10.3 London Venues Information: How To Get Tickets

If you are planning in advance, the easiest way to get tickets is by
calling the box office and using a credit card; pretty much all the
West End box offices, as well as the RNT and RSC, will be happy to take
phone orders, and most of them can tell you exactly where you will be
sitting (by the way, the ground floor seats that are called orchestra
seats in the States are called the stalls in Britain, while the
mezzanine becomes the dress circle).

Another possibility is to buy in person at the box offices once you
reach London; this allows you to look at a seating chart and see
exactly where you will be sitting.

If saving money is important, try the Half Price Ticket Booth in
Leicester Square. Similar to the TKTS booth in New York, the Booth
sells same day tickets for many West End shows at half price plus a
small service charge, cash only, limit four tickets per person. These
are tickets that the producers haven't been able to sell elsewhere, so
you won't find the most popular shows or the best seats, but you can
see some great theatre at a bargain price. The booth is open from 12
noon for Matinee tickets, and 2:30-6:30 for evening tickets, Monday
through Saturday (although you should get in line early for the best
choice).

If the show you want to see is sold out, don't despair. First, check
with the box office; if you are flexible about which performance you
want to see (especially weekday matinees), you may get lucky. Second,
most shows offer "returns" (in theory already sold tickets which have
been returned, but often house seats or other held-back seats finally
being released) for sale on the day of the show; ask the box office how
early you should show up to get in line. Both the RSC and the RNT
reserve a small number of tickets which only go on sale the day of the
performance, at 9 am at the RSC and 10 am at the RNT, although
depending upon the popularity of the show you may need to be in line
well before that.

If you don't have time to wait in line for a ticket and are willing to
pay a premium, there are a large number of ticket agents in London who
would be glad to sell you a ticket for a fee over and above the face
value of the ticket; you can find them by checking ads or simply
walking around the West End. There are also a large number of touts
(or scalpers) outside the major shows, but it is recommended that you
don't buy from them -- there is no guarantee that the ticket is
legitimate, and you have little recourse if you discover you've been
had.

Finally, West End Cares' Charity Ticket Hotline can help you get into
sold-out shows and help a worthwhile cause. Theatre producers donate
house seats to their shows (which are usually good seats), and they are
then sold for twice their face value, with the money being donated to
an AIDS charity. It's expensive, but it allows you to do a good deed
while you see a good show. The number is 071 976 6751.

 

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