Advanced search

Why are theatre tickets so expensive

(69 Posts)
TheoriginalLEM Sun 03-Mar-19 17:00:54

I want to take my dd to see harry potter and the cursed child. I had to have a little lie down when three tickets (ok both shows) cost nearly £700. They were the only available seats.

That is more money than i spend on a holiday!!!

Then i tried to book war horse locally. Ok ish seats £200 for three if us.

I really want dd to see cursed child. I cant justify £700 without train fares and food.

Am i doing something wrong? They were by no means the most expensive seats and there were some cheaper but sold out. My worry is that the cheaper seats will have limited view.

So my question is twofold

1. How can i book reasonably priced seats and 2. Where do people recommend to sit that isnt £££ but doesn't compromise view?

Also is it even worth it? Ive been told its excellent but for that sort of money id want life changing!!!

PurpleFlower1983 Sun 03-Mar-19 17:04:09

It’s ok, not not worth £700! Wait until a new block goes on sale and buy the cheaper tickets. Sign up for e-mail updates.

Etino Sun 03-Mar-19 17:09:32

It’s not worth it. Those tickets are that price ^solely because people will pay that^; they’re or iced at what the market will take. I go to dozens of plays/ shows concerts a year and rarely pay more than £20/ head. Most expensive in the past year was my favourite band ever’s final show at £90.

jellymaker Sun 03-Mar-19 17:11:36

Try seeing shows that are touring the country. They are way cheaper at local theatre

ataleoftwothenthreethenfour Sun 03-Mar-19 17:11:45

There is a bit of a captive audience for this sort of thing. The only thing to do is book really well in advance. For some things (like Shakespeare in Stratford) there are lower prices for those who are members and go regularly. But probably not for Cursed Child

HarrysOwl Sun 03-Mar-19 17:12:04

Completely agree.

Even my local theatre sells tickets between £40-90 which sadly just isn't affordable for me. Even if I go for seats up in the God's on a Thursday afternoon performance.

TheTurnOfTheScrew Sun 03-Mar-19 17:13:45

Get email alerts for new dates. DH and DC1 went in £35 seats, so £140 total spend, and they said the seats were fine.

Petalflowers Sun 03-Mar-19 17:15:01

If you don’t mond what you see, go up to London and get some last minute tickets. They can be greatly reduced.

Alternatively, look around for local theatres, and watch the touring productions.

Petalflowers Sun 03-Mar-19 17:17:24

Also, kids week is great. You get one free child ticketper adult ticket. It lasts all throughout August (so is actually a month, not a week). The popular shows do sellout quickly, so you have to be on the ball, but it’s so worth it.


Seniorcitizen1 Sun 03-Mar-19 17:17:43

Some productions are expensive to stage and this is reflected in ticket prices. But the key factor is market forces - the charge what people will pay and for harry potter people will pay lots - not me but others will

Redcliff Sun 03-Mar-19 17:19:52

Booking way in advance for Harry Potter is the only way - still expensive but way less than £700. I took my mum to an Agatha Christie play in Southend last year - the train tickets there and back plus lunch for both of us plus tickets to the play was cheaper than two west end tickets by themselves

LIZS Sun 03-Mar-19 17:25:11

The TKTS booth in Leicester Square has tickets discounted a day or two ahead (look online for availability) or you can queue for day returns at a fixed price at the theatre box office. Some theatres also operate a lottery system where you register ahead for specific dates and may get lucky (Hamilton is one). National Theatre and RSC/Barbican are among those which offer student and children discounts. Register with the london theatre website for newsletters offering packages and events like Get into London Theatre and kidsweek.

SusieFlo Sun 03-Mar-19 17:25:40

I booked a year in advance for the Harry Potter plays and managed to get dress circle seats for £35 each. However I must confess I found myself wishing I'd forked out for better seats. A few of the effects in the show had extra 'wow factor' for those with better seats in the stalls.

Duchessgummybuns Sun 03-Mar-19 17:26:11

My daughter and I want to see Hamilton, but for £200 a ticket it’ll have to wait confused

LIZS Sun 03-Mar-19 17:28:25

Hamilton has recently released June tickets and you may still be able to get less expensive tickets if you are quick. If you "like" their fb page you get advance notification of the releases.

JagerPlease Sun 03-Mar-19 17:29:27

I saw cursed child in the cheapest possible seats, I think it was £20 per show. We were really high up but could still see fine

melj1213 Sun 03-Mar-19 17:31:50

Tbf the Harry Potter tickets will be expensive bc they are either late release tickets or returns which tend to be the more expensive tickets. And £700 for 3 tickets is around £120 per person, per show. While that is on the higher end of the scale, £120 for decent seats at a popular West End play is not unheard of. The Cursed Child is bumped up because it is 2 3-hour plays and they're a package deal.

The Cursed Child tickets are still like gold dust - tickets get released every 9/10 months and get snapped up early ... I have been twice, once was cheap tickets in the Friday Forty because I happened to be in London and got lucky. The other time was for my friends birthday last February and we had to book them 16 months in advance on the day they were released (and it took 2hrs in the online queue)

Add on the cost of the production (which is high due to the visual effects and cost of making changes to the theatre to accommodate the production), running costs, wages for actors/musicians/front of house staff/security (including the additional needed for security checks for both shows) etc and it bumps the prices up.

SusieFlo Sun 03-Mar-19 17:39:37

It's worth keeping an eye on a few cheaper options that make it possible to take kids to the theatre.

For the big West End shows, besides Kids Week, you can sign up to an email list for the official half price sale that happens every Dec/Jan. You get an email towards the end of the year with a list of shows and a release date when tickets will go on sale. You need to set a diary reminder and be ready to buy as soon as the tix go on sale. In the last 2 rounds I was able to get very good seats for Matilda and School of Rock, for around £40 each.

Also I'd second the earlier comment about touring shows. And sign up for the mailing lists with smaller theatres and fringe venues. Top seats at outer London venues such as Richmond Theatre or The Rose Theatre in Kingston cost a fraction of West End prices - and these venues often have decent shows pitched at kids.

AttilaTheMeerkat Sun 03-Mar-19 17:40:09

The website Theatre Monkey has information re seating on theatre venues and is a very useful website in this respect.

JaneEyre07 Sun 03-Mar-19 17:40:23

Last theatre I went to was at the RSC Stratford to see a show, and it cost £160 for the 2 tickets, £40 in fuel, and £10 in parking.

It was amazing, but I really struggled to justify spending over £200 on a night out when my arse was so numb from the seating when we came out, I thought I'd left it behind (Swan Theatre)

I wouldn't pay over £700.

TheoriginalLEM Sun 03-Mar-19 17:40:27

I looked at the friday 40 thing but they only seem to release pairs. I also cannot take random days off work so it isnt feasible.

Is there a way of getting notifications of release dates? Dont mind waiting.

DontCallMeBaby Sun 03-Mar-19 17:41:05

I booked mine and DD’s Hamilton tickets in August for February halfterm. £80 each but if I’d left it until just after Xmas (when I normally plan our halfterm trip) it would’ve been £200, based on what was left for October. Not that I would have paid £200 ...

Various websites are good for seat plans and reviews. I go for the ones that are cheaper and get bad reviews for poor legroom - we’re 5’4” and 5’2”, we don’t need much legroom!

TheoriginalLEM Sun 03-Mar-19 17:42:11

My dd is a funny girl and 13 now so would turn her nise at many kuds productions. She is harry potter obsessed though

SluggishSnail Sun 03-Mar-19 17:42:21

There is a website called Theatre Monkey which collects reviews and organises them by seat. They give suggestions about which seats are best value for money and the degree of any restricted view.

I wouldn't pay £700 for Cursed Child, and that's coming from someone who paid £100 per person for Hamilton.

SluggishSnail Sun 03-Mar-19 17:43:32

X post with other Theatre Monkey fan smile

whiteroseredrose Sun 03-Mar-19 17:44:56

We went to see Hamilton last Saturday night. Tickets were £37.50 each - very back of the top tier but the view was fine. Friends and family railcard paid for itself.

The trick is to plan well in advance. I booked the tickets in July for February half term. Same with the apartment. Train tickets as soon as they became available.

gowgow Sun 03-Mar-19 17:46:11

My local theatre has not only touring productions, but "Live" or "Encore" screenings of stage productions. Fantastic value @ £15 per seat.

SoftPlant Sun 03-Mar-19 17:49:33

We bought our Cursed Child tickets over a year in advance, just through the normal website, £30 per person per showing (so £60 per person for both parts). So would be £180 ish for three people to see the whole thing. £700 is crazy. You just need to check the website when new tickets are released, and buy well in advance. The cheap ones sell out first.

There will always be tourists willing to buy tickets for a couple of hundred quid on the day, hence the high prices.

ClosestThingToCrazy Sun 03-Mar-19 18:02:09

Tickets in the West End tend to be dynamically priced - the more the tickets are in demand, the higher the ticket price- hence show posters say "tickets from" on them.

Try booking tickets on the day they release tickets for an extension. I bought Hamilton tickets for £37.50 on the day they released tickets for the next booking period.

Some shows run lotteries on the day for cheap tickets. And Today Tix is a good app for finding low price tickets, but you won't find tickets other than Friday Forty on there for Cursed Child. I bought Come From Away tickets on there for £25 each when other websites were selling the seats behind for £55 (there's currently an offer on until 10th March for selected shows).

West End shows are expensive to put on. A musical can be £1,000,000 to get to first days of preview, and I don't imagine Cursed Child cost much less. But it's cheaper to mount a West End show than a Broadway one. Most West End shows don't make money (About 1/10 do).

ClosestThingToCrazy Sun 03-Mar-19 18:06:59

It says the next lot of tickets will be released in the spring, so should be fairly soon. There's a link on that page to sign up to the newsletter that will tell you when they're next released

Paddington68 Sun 03-Mar-19 18:06:59

The Cursed Child is not that good.

elizzza Sun 03-Mar-19 18:08:38

The most expensive tickets for the Cursed Child (through the official site) are £80 which would be £480 for 3 people to see both parts, so yes I’d say you are doing something wrong - were you looking at buying second hand through a tout website?

Aragog Sun 03-Mar-19 18:08:39

Were really big HP fans. Have been for years. And we are, fortunately, financially good. However, although we'd love to see it I just can't justify the cost. When you add in travel costs and hotel, which we'd need, it's the cost of a week abroad for the three of us. And I don't want a rubbish view so the cheap tickets won't cut it for me, esp after reading too many reviews of the cheap seats. And not close enough to go for the special offer last minute type seats.

I'd rather go to see other shows locally for far far less and have a few weekends away, than spend it in one go.

I know there's a lot of money that goes into shows etc but I guess ultimately for us we have other priorities we'd rather spend the cash on. Maybe one day.

TheoriginalLEM Sun 03-Mar-19 19:44:49

Elizza no from the main people (i think!)

melj1213 Sun 03-Mar-19 19:53:29

Did you buy them through Nimax or ATG websites? Elizza is right, according to the website, currently the max price is £80 per part (though you can get VIP tickets at £100 per part)

Arnoldthecat Sun 03-Mar-19 19:54:30

A couple of years back i went to see the lion king at the Lyceum in London. The most shocking part was the scandalous,rip off bar prices.

Hunter037 Sun 03-Mar-19 20:02:00

Book further in advance (so there will be cheaper seats available) or wait until it comes to you.

We saw Wicked at our local theatre recently. Seeing the same show at their "home" theatre in London was 50% mpre expensive for similar seats.

Happierlife Sun 03-Mar-19 20:06:13

I bought the £15.00 tickets for War Horse. Right at the top and where the aisle is so hoping for unobstructed views for Saturday afternoon. Didn't want to pay anymore than that.

modgepodge Sun 03-Mar-19 20:07:31

I have seen £350 per ticket (for both parts) on the proper cursed child website, I don’t know where the max £80 per part thing came from. It is expensive.

However, I went to see it for £40 pp in the summer. I’m a teacher and was available basically all summer. Every singe day I checked the official website - they release all returns daily. I checked every date I could do, individually, every day for about 3 weeks. Eventually 2 tickets at £40 pp came up for a day u could do and I snapped them up!! Mostly it was wading though individual tickets or ones which ere £350, but eventually something affordable came up. Took a considerable time investment though!!!

It was AWESOME. However we were right st the back in very small seats with a limited view. I’d like to go again and would spring for stalls tickets. Can’t justify £350 pp though.

Boysnme Sun 03-Mar-19 20:16:02

That seems really expensive! How many people is it for? We booked in May for Feb past and got stalls seats for £270 (£67.50 per part). We absolute loved it (DS & I) but I would not have paid £700 for it.

Boysnme Sun 03-Mar-19 20:17:23

Also just to add I completely agree with you that prices are so high now. We’ve also booked to go and see Matilda locally and o would have been cheaper going to London to seen it!

TheoriginalLEM Sun 03-Mar-19 20:21:45

melj1213 thanks. That is the site i looked at. It does appear to have seats available but when i try to select them it says unavailable. I think its because i need 3 tickets.

Will keep looking.

Was hoping for stalls as i have bad eyesight. What is the dress circle?

SellFridges Sun 03-Mar-19 20:22:04

We went to Cursed Child yesterday. It’s utterly amazing and worth it.

We’ve actually been twice now - first time in the £15 restricted view seats which was fine for DH and I. Yesterday we were in the Stalls at £75 a seat with DD and we did feel much more a part of it. DD wouldn’t have been able to see from the cheap seats at all.

cardibach Sun 03-Mar-19 20:22:19

Theatre can be very expensive to put on, especially musicals.
Booking ahead is the answer - I’ve seen Hamilton twice, once for £50, once for £37.50. I’m going to two other shows in London this year, both under £30 per ticket. They are always near the back, but I’ve never been disappointed with the view.
Provincial theatre can be a bit cheaper, but not always.

ZippyBungleandGeorge Sun 03-Mar-19 20:22:40

@TheoriginalLEM what about one of the longer running shows, Les miserables, phantom etc you'll get good seats at reasonable prices especially if you let her have a cheeky afternoon off school (dentist...) and go mid week. I saw Les mis the first time at 14 and was enthralled

ErickBroch Sun 03-Mar-19 20:23:12

Should be £100 per person for very good seats, I have seen it 4 times and always paid that with excellent seats.

ErickBroch Sun 03-Mar-19 20:23:32

Hamilton tickets are £200... crazy, for one play.

Technically Cursed Child is £50 per play

TheoriginalLEM Sun 03-Mar-19 20:24:07

Happier are you in the south east? Cheapest tickets at Canterbury were £19.50 with limited views. Mostly unavailable. Only tickets now available are £65 each.

StoorieHoose Sun 03-Mar-19 20:48:16

Hamilton tickets are not £200! What nonsense. I paid about £80 each and the view was excellent

modzy78 Sun 03-Mar-19 22:33:05

Get the newsletters and be on your computer the second new tickets are released. We did that with both Cursed Child and Hamilton and were able to get tickets fairly soon after they opened (so original casts for both). Just be aware to stay away from seats on the sides for Cursed Child. Ours were not the cheapest, but we still ended up with a restricted view. Hamilton, on the other hand, has no bad seats. The theatre was gutted and redesigned in order to guarantee views from all. The only issue is that if you have the cheapest seats in the last couple rows of the balcony, you won't be able to see all of the actors' heads when they're on the higher platforms.

PurpleFlower1983 Sun 03-Mar-19 22:33:53

StoorieHoose You’re right, top price are now £250. Not nonsense at all! hmm

PurpleFlower1983 Sun 03-Mar-19 22:36:32

Mayjane5 Sun 03-Mar-19 22:41:35

We waited for new release tickets for curses child if you sign up to webpage they email when new lot go on sale they release every 6 months I think? You can sign up for the cheap ones on a Friday too but it’s very limited. We paid £200 each for both parts booked 18 months in advance you have to play around with the dates. It was most definitely worth it being a big Harry Potter fan I would go again. Each part is about 3 hours long.

mogtheexcellent Sun 03-Mar-19 22:45:27

I always buy preview tickets if I can. So decent seats at the RSC in Stratford are 20 pounds max.

Onviously a bit late for cursed child previews.

bruffin Sun 03-Mar-19 22:45:34

The tickets in the gods at cursed child are awful, we couldnt see , and dh had to look through the wrong part of his varifocals.
Dd was an expert at getting cheap tickets for Cursed child and the restricted view tickets in the stalls are good value. Also at xmas i won friday 40 and got front row centre tickets. For £20 each part. Couldnt see back of stage but definitely worth it.

Mayjane5 Mon 04-Mar-19 12:29:39

Just seen the next lot of tickets to be released starting of April

AlpacaPicnic Mon 04-Mar-19 12:37:51

We saw Cursed Child quite high up - I felt that I missed out on some of the special effects due to the height and I was terrified getting to the seat as there wasn't a hand rail going down the steps (I am very afraid of falling)
I paid 65 per play so 130 per person. I would get better seats if I was going back.

GorkyMcPorky Mon 04-Mar-19 20:56:20

I think theatre ticket pricing is grossly elitist. We paid £160 recently for a family of four to see Matilda, sitting in the upper circle. It simply isn't accessible for most. Just leaves a nasty taste to me.

The Cursed Child pricing is fetishistically ludicrous.

ErickBroch Mon 04-Mar-19 21:05:01

Hamilton tickets are definitely £200. The vast majority of tickets are £150+.... thanks

HostessTrolley Mon 04-Mar-19 21:09:18

Can the Friday 40 tickets be given to someone else as a gift, or does the person who has won them have to attend? I’m not a fan but wondering if it’s worth starting to enter it for Dd and friend...

StoorieHoose Mon 04-Mar-19 21:09:52

Honestly I didn't pay £200+ for my Hamilton tickets. Get signed up for the emails about when the new tickets are released - the cheapest ones are about £35. I got two the grand circle for £75 each.

You get good deals if you buy as soon as the new tickets are released of course only the expensive ones are available if you are in the middle of the ticket run

StoorieHoose Mon 04-Mar-19 21:12:05

purple flower I wasn't talking about 'top price Hamilton tickets' I was talking about if you know when the new tickets are being released you dont have to pay top whack. So it is ridiculous to suggest ALL Hamilton tickets are £200+

LonnyVonnyWilsonFrickett Mon 04-Mar-19 21:23:50

I've had Hamilton tickets for £75 and £100. They aren't all £200.

Op, register and be ready to jump on the new allocations. It's only £££ if you want to go once the run has more or less sold out.

SpiritedLondon Mon 04-Mar-19 21:23:55

I bought tickets when they first went in release ( approx 10 months before it opened and 18 months before I went) and used the “ best available” option at Ticketmaster. The first and second attempts it offered me tickets at £200 each and I rejected them and on my third attempt it offered me two at £79 which I took. They were on the second row of the stalls which I presume is considered less desirable than the front of the dress circle. I had no problem with the seats by the way but I like being in the stalls. My tip would be to book a long way in advance or to try And go on a weekday matinee if possible - I would allow my DD6 to bunk off school for a show if it was a special occasion or the resulting savings were enough to off set the missed school work. Alternatively select a show which is not just such a “ hot ticket”

SpiritedLondon Mon 04-Mar-19 21:24:24

Oops sorry I mean for Hamilton.

TeenTimesTwo Mon 04-Mar-19 21:32:03

Next release for HP&tCC is 2nd April or thereabouts. I had an ad come up earlier.

We went last autumn, we had seats at the back of the stalls @ ~£65 per person per performance. The view was absolutely fine, we were much nearer the stage than we feared. We did miss some higher up stuff due to the overhang of the circle but it really didn't impact us. One of the best £500 I have spent recently. (Well, when I say recently, I booked the seats nearly a year in advance!)

Villanellesproudmum Mon 04-Mar-19 21:36:51

I agree, I wanted to see Motown two weeks ago and the cost was too high to justify seeing it.

absolutelyknackeredcow Mon 04-Mar-19 21:38:05


ninja Mon 04-Mar-19 21:41:29

I got cursed child tickets £200 for 4 of us - just watched for when they first released and got the cheapest ones

Join the discussion

Registering is free, quick, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Get started »