Planning a theatre trip on a budget

From musicals to Shakespearean plays, there's no better way to brighten up an evening than with a trip to the theatre. We've looked at ways to enjoy a little comedy or culture without breaking the bank.

Discount ticket outlets

If you're flexible about the seating – or a particular show you wish to see – it's worth leaving the ticket purchases to the last minute. Many ticket sellers will be offering half-price or discounted tickets to the top shows on the day itself, or up to seven days beforehand. Online dealers such as Last Minute and Today Tix have discounts on theatre tickets for theatre goers to enjoy.

Standby for discounts

A risky but potentially successful strategy can be to go directly to the theatre on the day of the show. The box-office of shows usually sells any returned or last-minute tickets before every performance. The catch? There's no guarantee that you will get your first choice of show or seat.

Cheap but reliable

If you find the thought of leaving your ticket to the last minute too risky – especially if you want to see a particular show, or have children in tow – tickets to the top shows can be purchased online at changeable discount rates from 60% from many places like Cheap Theatre Tickets and See Tickets.

Train tickets and parking

If you're travelling by train, make sure you book your tickets in advance. Using sites such as Mytrainticket.co.uk or Raileasy.co.uk might save you up to 80%! If you're driving, you may be able to take advantage of a 50% discount on your parking, with carpark services such as Q-Park.

Staying local

If you've opted for a night out at your local theatre to see a pantomime or play, try looking online for local discounts or offers, or queuing for stand-by tickets on the day. Many theatres will also offer discounts for families or groups, so try getting together with some mates to cut the cost (and increase the fun-factor).

On the day

Think the expense ends at the ticket booth? Think again. Trips to the theatre can be notoriously pricey – with programmes, packs of sweets, interval drinks or souvenirs costing a lot of money. If you'd like a programme, try buying one between your group – there will be plenty of time to read the information during the interval! Alternatively, try researching the production online before you go – most of the information contained in the programme will be readily available.

Bring your own

As well as being shockingly expensive, drinks during the interval can also be a nightmare to collect. Even if you order before the performance, the rush to the bar can mean you receive your drink at the last minute and have to hurry back to your seat.

Many theatres now allow customers to bring in their own drink, provided it's in a plastic bottle. While you might not be popping Champagne corks, a little drink of water or juice should be enough to get you through the second half and will cost a lot less money.

Line your stomach

Snacking has become a commonplace at the cinema – the same isn't true at the theatre. The sound level will be lower, meaning the rustling of plastic bags or the crunching of crisps is likely to annoy your fellow theatregoers. Try eating before the performance to stave off any cravings and unwanted costs.

Sneak a snack

If you do want to enjoy a few sweets and treats, some theatres allow customers to bring their own. Check with your theatre beforehand, as individual rules may apply.

With forward planning and a little flexibility, the show can go on without spending too much!

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