It just doesn’t seem to be getting any easier, does it? In fact, in my grumpier of moments, I’d be inclined to say they were getting worse and the sigh that comes with the ‘no, not any more’ response to ‘are you a student?’ at various pay points is getting heavier. I can’t afford to socialise like I used to. Six months ago, I could go to the theatre for less than it’d cost to buy a new outfit in Primark (yes- it was that cheap). Now, I’m compiling a list of cost-effective ways to go that might keep that above statement true.

In most theatres, senior citizens, students, children and jobseekers will be entitled to discounts. Some are better than others. Keep your eye out for student standbys or midweek matinee OAP rates (a great way to treat Granny at Christmas!) If you’re like me, and are in that huge bracket of people that seems to get nothing off anything, then see below:

  1. GROUP DISCOUNTS. Groups of either eight or ten and above might get cheaper tickets. It’s always worth checking on flyers, or with the theatre, as organising a night out or party might not be as expensive as you initially think.
  2. BOOK DIRECTLY WITH THE THEATRE. When possible, don’t book online. Booking fees are expensive and can add about a tenner on to your total. Getting your tickets at the theatre itself will usually mean that you’re only paying face value.
  3. FAMILY TICKETS. I can’t remember a Boxing Day in my childhood that I wasn’t at our local panto. It’s a widespread tradition. Christmas shows, pantomimes and many children’s shows will sell family tickets to avoid them being cost-prohibitive.
  4. LIKE THEM. No, really. On Facebook. Or join mailing lists. If there’s a theatre you know you like, this is a good way to get early-bird offers or competitions. If it doesn’t cost you anything, you’re not missing out. You might only win an ice-cream at the interval, but these are the small things that add up!
  5. PREVIEWS. These don’t happen all the time, but good to keep an eye out for them. Tickets for these can be as low as £5/6, but you have to be quick to get them as these performances always sell fast. (Again, Facebook and mail is an easy way to keep on top of when the tickets are on sale).
  6. FRIENDS. Many theatres now have membership schemes that can save you money in the long run with ticket or bar discounts. These are usually best if you can be flexible with when you attend and are worth exploring if you can stump up the cash for the initial cost.
  7. RESTRICTED VIEW. This doesn’t always mean you can’t see anything. Sometimes, the restriction isn’t that bad and the tickets are usually discounted significantly. Booking these is best done with the venue as staff can give you an open and honest idea of what the seats are like.
  8. SHOP AROUND. Commercial theatres are much more expensive than subsidised theatres, and the quality of the production rarely suffers. Look at programmes for smaller theatres and don’t be afraid to give them a go.

So there’s no excuse for me really. Primark will have to wait. And chances are, a trip to the theatre will last longer than the clothes would anyway.