The little-known secret that could bag you free theatre and concert tickets

Theatres in Shaftesbury Avenue, London
There are a number of ways to get cheap theatre tickets in London. (Picture: Getty Images)

There’s nothing quite like going to the theatre, but we all know that getting good seats can sometimes feel like taking out a second mortgage. Being able to see the stage doesn’t come cheap!

But it turns out you don’t need to spend a fortune to score a ticket to some of the West End’s dazzling musicals, and jaw-dropping plays — the same goes for concerts, comedy nights, and other events in London and across the UK.

That’s because there’s a little-known secret way to bag yourself incredibly cheap or even free passes into some of the biggest and best shows.

All you have to do is sign up to become a seat filler, and there are a number of different sites and companies you can do this with.

And the great thing about it is that anyone can use this trick, it’s not exclusive so you won’t have to offer up your first born child in exchange for membership, and it won’t cost you an arm and a leg either.

Friends dancing at festival with arms in air
You might also be able to nab tickets to gigs, festivals, and more. (Picture: Getty Images)

From The Audience Club (which has a £5 membership fee, or is free to join for those with a Blue Light Card), to Central Tickets, SeatFillers, AJTix, and Show Film First, websites such as these offer last-minute seats and entry to help fill unsold space at events.

This includes everything from local pub comedy nights or cabaret events to fringe previews, outdoor concerts, festivals, West End productions, regional theatre, film screenings, and even movie premieres.

A lot of seats will be free, but sometimes members will have to pay a small fee to secure tickets. Other events may have a heavily discounted price — for instance several big gigs are currently listed on one of the sites for less than £20 a ticket.



Other tricks for scoring cheap theatre tickets:

If you aren’t already using the TodayTix app, you need to download it immediately. On here you’ll find cheap prices on tickets and be in with a chance of scoring lottery or rush seats daily.

The rush tickets are released at 10am each day and cost £25 each. You can buy one or two if you manage to get hold of some, and these will be for matinee or evening performances. The best part is, the cheap tickets are often for really great seats, that could have cost around £70+ a pop if you’d paid full price.

Currently the app offers rush tickets for shows such as Mean Girls, Frozen, The Book of Mormon, Heathers, Tina, Fawlty Towers, Stranger Things: The First Shadow, Starlight Express, and Guys & Dolls, plus many more.

The lottery is even more exclusive with draws for tickets to some of the biggest shows right now. Hamilton has £10 lottery tickets available for performances, while Harry Potter fans can enter the Friday Forty for a chance to win £40 tickets to see The Cursed Child. There are also draws for Wicked, and MJ The Musical.

Box Office Sign at a Theatre in London, UK
Always check the box office for last-minute tickets. (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Other tips for nabbing cheap tickets include heading over to a box office on the day of a show to see if there are any unsold, returned or last-minute seats available as these could end up being cheaper.

It’s also worth keeping London Theatre Week in your diary, as there will be a number of great deals running during this time, with discounts on various shows.

And if you’re still struggling, it’s worth looking at theatres outside of London, as a number of big, hit West End shows end up touring the country after they close in the capital. Hamilton, & Juliet, Dear Evan Hansen, Come From Away, Hairspray, Kinky Boots, are either currently on tour, or about to embark on one.

Those who work in the emergency services, NHS, social care sector, and armed forces are entitled to a Blue Light Card which you might have already known, but have you heard about the Blue Light Ticket scheme?

Blue Light members are able to enter ballots and access first-come-fist-served tickets to venues, sports teams, attractions, and festivals.

The only catch is that you might need to be rather flexible with your plans, as often a lot of the seat filler spaces will come through at the last minute. This could be a week before an event, or even on the same day.

And, naturally, there are a few terms and conditions you’ll have to adhere to if you want to sign up to these sites.

The first rule of being a seat filler? Don’t talk about being a seat filler!

Discretion is key as part of these clubs and you aren’t meant to advertise the fact that you got a free ticket to an event, especially while you’re at the event. So keep those lips sealed.

You’re also not allowed to post about the clubs on any social media, forums, or blogs, or you risk having your membership suspended.

There are also some etiquette rules for the events you go to, but these are all pretty straightforward.

Happy booking!

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