There’s no denying that theatre ticket prices have been on the rise over the last few years, particularly since the Covid-19 pandemic. In fact, it is estimated that prices have gone up by as much as 21% since 2019.
In today’s tough economic times with the price of pretty much everything on the rise, buying tickets to the West End can feel like a bit of a luxury purchase – and one which might be just out of your reach right now.
This is such a shame given that the theatre can be an enriching and joyous experience for so many. But thankfully, it’s not all doom and gloom. There are lots of theatre companies out there that want to make these tickets accessible to everyone, so they offer different ways to bag a bargain.
One great way is rush tickets, which can reduce the price to around £25 per ticket and sometimes even lower! The tricky part is securing yourself rush tickets in the first place.
But fear not, if you’ve never heard of rush tickets before or if you’re not sure where to get them, this guide is for you. With a bit of careful planning and some of our top tips, you could be at the theatre in no time.
Read on to find out all about rush tickets and how to get them.
Before we go any further, what do we mean when we say rush tickets? Well, these are tickets for chosen shows that are released on the morning of the performance. Because they are sold on the same day, they cost a fraction of the normal price.
They are sold on a first come first served basis, which means these tickets can be limited, hence why they are called rush tickets because you have to rush to get them.
These can be purchased either online or in person if you go to the box office on the day. Neither guarantees you a ticket, but with a bit of planning and a keen attitude, you might be able to secure yourself the bargain of the year.
There are some clear advantages and disadvantages to rush tickets. The biggest and most obvious reason to wait for these tickets is that you can snap them up for a fraction of the price. In some cases, this can save you an absolute fortune depending on the show and the number of tickets you intend to buy.
However, you are not guaranteed to get tickets, as the theatre releases a limited number. So in some cases, you may miss out on watching a show that day.
What’s more, the locations of these seats are at the theatre’s discretion so you could have less choice about where to sit. That being said, these are usually clear-view seats and work out as great value for money, particularly when you end up sitting around people who you know paid full price for their seats.
It’s also worth noting that some shows will only let you buy two tickets per customer, so you cannot try to buy for the whole family or a large group if you are just one person. In these circumstances when there are more than two of you, several of you will have to join the queue either online or at the box office to secure enough seats.
Now let’s get down to it, these tickets sound great but how do you actually secure yourself a seat?
As we’ve said, there are two places you can get rush tickets, but we’ll now go into more detail to increase your chances of getting some sweet seats for your chosen performance.
The first thing you need to do is decide whether you’re going to try and get tickets online or go to the box office. This will very much depend on how close you are to the theatre and which will be easiest for you. Once you’ve decided, you can start to get a plan in place.
Whether you’re joining a virtual queue or a real one, it’s important that you arrive early to increase your chances of getting tickets. If you’re buying online, be sure to log in at least five minutes before the tickets are released so you’re ready to go. These typically go on sale around 10:00 am.
If you’re going to the box office, give yourself plenty of time to get there and factor in possible delays if you’ve got some distance to travel.
There are a couple of sites you can use to get rush tickets and some will have their own dedicated apps. In fact, some tickets are only made available via this app, so be sure to download this in plenty of time if that’s the case.
Alternatively, if you’re going direct to the theatre website, ensure you have a strong internet connection and everything is ready to go.
If there is a group of you, it’s best to check the maximum number of tickets you can buy before you start the process. This will avoid any disappointment on the day or might prove that it’s better for you to go to the box office in person rather than risk it online.
As soon as the tickets go on sale you need to be as quick as you can adding them to your basket. That being said, you need to remain calm and ensure you have selected the right show title, date and time before buying. This is especially important for shows that have matinee and evening performances.
Unfortunately, most vendors will not refund rush tickets, so if you select the wrong performance or can no longer attend, you’re unlikely to get your money back.
Finally, if you’re lucky enough to get rush tickets, you have to check out and pay within the allotted time. Otherwise, they go back up for sale. So don’t waste time once these are in your basket, you need to check out quickly to secure those seats.