Cheap Theatre Tickets

Cheap Theatre Tickets

Incl £4+ West End tickets, ticket lotteries & how to watch Hamilton from home

Many see going to the theatre as an expensive treat or even an unaffordable luxury, and while it's true that prices for hot-ticket shows can be eye-watering, there are ways to cut costs and make it a cheap night out. Here are our top tips and tricks for getting your bum on a seat for less...

Among other things, we'll show you how to bag £4+ West End tickets, enter the £10 Hamilton ticket lottery and check the view from your seat before you buy your tickets. We've added lots of ways to view shows online too, in case you'd prefer to watch from the comfort of your own sofa.

While a lot of these suggestions explore the many (many, many) ways of saving in London's West End, we've also included a ton of tips tailored to venues and events across the UK, from Belfast to Edinburgh, Manchester and Chichester, as well as ways to save at your local theatre, wherever that might be.

  1. Before booking, benchmark prices direct from the theatre, then check for discounts

    When booking tickets online, watch out for many sites' ridiculous booking fees. For example, we've seen Ticketmaster add an eye-watering £16.25 fee per £82.50 ticket, even if you elect to pick them up at the box office yourself. So before you book, follow these steps:

    1. Check the official site

    You want to make sure you don't pay over the odds, so check either the theatre's own or the show-specific site and see what tickets are going for on there. This'll give you a benchmark to compare against.

    Warning: Sites that slap on massive fees can rank higher in search engine results than official ones, so always double-check you've reached the right place.


    2. Look online for reduced tickets

    With so many seats to fill across the country, theatres frequently offer discounts to entice people in if a show isn't selling. These are typically available through ticket agents and not at theatres themselves.

    Last minute theatre tickets app

    Decent sites to monitor for discounts include:

    •*, which also offers meal and show deals which can offer good value if you want to eat beforehand. We've spied tickets to The Comedy About a Bank Robbery from £12, with up to 50% off certain price bands.

    • Time Out Londonwhich we've seen offering up to 50% off the best seats for various Royal Opera House shows, with tickets from £5.

    • TodayTix*, which is also an app – we've seen up to 70% off Doctor Who: Time Fracture, with tickets from £20.

    • LoveTheatre, which has £12 tickets for Only Fools and Horses the Musical – do watch out for full-price tickets here though as they can add on lots of fees.

    • Stagedoor, an app collating reviews and offers for London shows. It also boasts the free Stagedoor Loyalty Card which gives you £10 off your first booking and various discounts on the rest. 

    • Little Bird often has theatre deals (London or touring) that are the cheapest around for a limited time.

    • SeatPlan has a useful page dedicated to London theatre discounts.

    While these sites also sell full-price tickets, you can often grab a bargain. Though as always, before buying from a seller you don't recognise, check reviews on a site such as Trustpilot to make sure it's legit.

    3. See if you can save even more with special schemes

    We cover all these below in more detail, but if any of the following grabs your attention straightaway, here are quick links to some of our top tips: cheap tickets for under-30s£5 Shakespeare's Globe tickets£10-£15 West End ticket lotteriestop secret 'free' ticket schemes and how to bag cheap seats by queuing on the day.

  2. Open to anything? Join free ticket schemes

    If you're happy to see whatever comes your way, consider signing up to 'free' ticket services – secretive organisations used to fill up shows that aren't selling well or need a full audience for a particular performance. Unfortunately for the rest of the UK, most seat-filling sites cover London only, but it can still be worth joining if you make occasional trips to the West End.

    These tickets aren't actually free as you usually pay the company £2.50-£5 a ticket to cover admin costs, or in some cases an annual membership, but in general they're a lot cheaper than buying from the theatre itself. Popular shows sell out fast, and some have different levels of membership where the people who go the most get access to bigger shows first.

    Many only accept new members during small windows a few times a year, so check back regularly if applications are currently closed – chances are they'll reopen at a later date.

    Here are some of the more popular ones we've tried:

    • Central Tickets – Tickets are usually between £4-£6.50 each (certain events may cost more) and there's a wide range on offer. Also sells non-discounted tickets which don't tend to be the best deals. London only.

    • Masterclass – For 16 to 30-year-olds, it offers West End show tickets for £5, as well as completely free workshops with actors/writers/directors etc. London only.

    • ShowFilmFirst – Charges an admin fee of £2.50 or more. Also offers cinema screenings. London and New York only.

    • Play by Play – A service fee of £1-£3 applies. London and surrounding areas only.

    • Audience Club – A £5 membership fee applies, then a £3ish fee per ticket. Gives access to more popular shows the more you see. London only. Not currently taking new members so check back monthly.

    Make sure you don't brag about your cheap tickets when you're at the theatre, as all the schemes ask you to be discreet about them. Often you'll also be asked to leave a review of the show you've seen. For more on free ticket schemes, see MSE Jenny's blog.

  3. Buy cheaper tickets with theatres’ dedicated schemes

    As well as offering discounts if a show isn't selling out, some theatres and production companies have cheap ticket schemes for certain performances, or promise to offer a certain number of tickets for £10 or £15 each. Some hold back cheap tickets for the day of the performance, sold on a first-come, first-served basis online or at the box office (also known as 'rush' tickets).

    How it works varies between theatres, but to give you an idea, here are some of the theatre-specific schemes we've checked out:

    National theatre london
    • The National Theatre in London offers a limited number of 'Friday Rush' tickets for £10 when you book online.

    • Southwark Playhouse in London has a 'pay-as-you-go' scheme, where you can buy a pack of five tickets for £60 to be used for most of its shows (and you can use it to buy two tickets for one performance if you want to take someone else).
    • Disney Magical Monday offers tickets for participating Disney shows for £25. A limited number of tickets become available on Mondays at 12pm (midday) for that week's performances. You'll need a Disney account (it's free to register).

    • Almeida Theatre in London offers last-minute tickets at low prices through its 'Almeida Rush' initiative every Tuesday at 1pm. It's online only and first come, first served, so be ready on the mouse at exactly 1pm.

    • Royal Court Theatre, London, operates 'Monday Tickets', released each week at 9am for that evening's show. Expect to pay as little as £12 or thereabouts.

    • Young Vic in London often sells 'lucky dip' tickets online in advance for £10. You don't find out whether you'll be sitting or standing until just before the performance begins, but 90% of the times we've tried it, we've got a seat.

    These are just some of the schemes available, so if there's a theatre you've got your eye on it's worth checking with it to see if it's got anything similar.

  4. Willing to chance your luck? Enter lotteries


    If you're happy to gamble with your theatregoing, you could try entering some of the many lotteries out there.

    Usually this involves going to the specific theatre and putting your name in a ballot, or entering online or via an app. This gives you a chance to 'win' discounted tickets for a show, at typically £10-£35.

    Hamilton (West End, Broadway and various US cities) runs a dedicated lottery online and via its official app. Winners can buy up to two £10 tickets. Chances are slim – we've heard about people entering every day for years with no success, though a few lucky individuals have been successful multiple times.

    Theatremonkey has a list of current West End shows' policies, many of which are run via TodayTix.

    Speaking of TodayTix, the app is a good place to visit for lotteries for various West End shows, such as 'exceptional' Cabaret tickets for £25.

    Learn more by visiting MSE Jenny's theatre lotteries blog.

  5. Check the view from the seat before you buy

    Before hitting 'buy' on those cheap seats you've found, you probably want to make sure you can watch the entire show in comfort and won't be stuck behind a pillar or with your knees jammed into the seat in front.

    If you're wondering whether a seat's worth its price tag, you can check what sort of view you'd have at many major theatres with SeatPlan (UK-wide) or Theatremonkey (London only). These are packed with detailed info on views, legroom and more – cheaper seats are often further from the stage, or have a restricted view, so these can be useful tools to check what sort of experience you might have before you buy.

    And now SeatPlan has gone a step further and released a handy round-up of analysis entitled Restricted view seats – the West End’s best kept secret, which draws on its wealth of seat ratings to unearth the hidden gems. A good example is some of the rear Stalls seat of Les Mis: they're discounted due to the circle overhang, but are consistently rated 5 stars, because only a couple of moments on top of the barricade in Act Two are actually obstructed.

  6. If you’re flexible with dates, see a  preview or go midweek for bargains

    When a new show starts, it'll have a preview period before it opens to the press to give the company a chance to play in front of an audience and make tweaks.

    As these performances occur before a show officially opens, tickets are often cheaper too. West End shows have been known to have half-price previews and as an example, London's Old Vic sells at least half of all seats for the first five previews of every production for £10.

    Down the road, London's Young Vic sells every seat of the first preview for £5. That applies to all its Main House productions.

    Chichester Festival Theatre usually runs a preview period of four performances that are cheaper, but prices vary according to show. Check upcoming productions on your local theatre's website to find out if the first few performances are marked as 'preview'.

    Manchester's Royal Exchange Theatre offers half-price tickets across all price bands for the first three or four performances.

    Some theatres also make midweek performances cheaper, as these days are usually quieter than weekends, so if you can be flexible on dates, you could save a few quid.

  7. Prepared to sit in the gods? The ticket’ll be cheaper and you might be upgraded

    kids at theatre

    If you buy tickets for seats high up in the theatre, where they're cheapest, you can often be upgraded to better seats if the show isn't selling.

    Again it's a gamble, as busy shows mean you'll be left at the top (not good if you suffer from vertigo!), so it's not for everyone. But we employ this tactic a lot, always buying the cheap seats in the hope we'll get bumped up to better ones – and in big theatres at the less-oversubscribed shows it happens surprisingly often.

    Yet it's still a good idea to check what sort of view you're likely to have using SeatPlan or Theatremonkey in case the gamble doesn't pay off.

  8. Go off the beaten track with fringe shows


    If you don't mind what you see, off-West End or fringe shows are usually cheaper, and you can find some real gems if you look hard enough. OffWestEnd, a website for independent theatres in London, lets you filter tickets by price bracket in £5 increments.

    Look out for regular fringe theatre events throughout the year, such as Skipton Puppet Festival which descends on Yorkshire every other October, Northern Ireland's annual Outburst Queer Arts Festival which has previously offered 'pay what you can' if you're broke, or Brighton Fringe which attracts hundreds of thousands each year.

  9. Hunt out a 'pay what you can' performance

    Some theatres offer 'pay what you can' performances, where the price is up to you to decide. They'll usually be on a specific date in a show's run, and will have limited availability so you may need to book quick.

    Theatres we've seen doing this include:

  10. Happy to stand come rain or shine? Get Globe tickets for a fiver

    Shakespeare's Globe

    One of the most famous theatres in London, the iconic Shakespeare's Globe also has one of the most attractive cheap ticket schemes.

    If you're happy to stand and brave the elements completely uncovered then you can get one of the 400 £5 'Groundling' tickets that are available for every performance.

    Not only are these a bargain, you're often right in the middle of the action with actors moving through the crowd as they perform. The smaller Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, part of the Globe complex, offers standing tickets from £5 for its productions as well.

    These can be booked online, over the phone or at the box office.

  11. See if you can get a concession or group rate

    Unemployed, carer, registered disabled or booking for a large group? There could be a concession rate for you.

    There are also heaps of initiatives for helping young people (under 26 in most cases) afford theatre tickets – so many that we've given this topic its own section below.

    Here are some of the ways you might qualify for a concession rate:

    • If you're registered disabled or a carer...

      Lots of theatres offer discounts for disabled people, so if you or your theatregoing buddy has a disability, it's always worth checking with the theatre before booking – you can usually get 50% discounts or helpful extras such as a free ticket for your carer. Most theatres should be able to accommodate any access requirements, and productions often have dedicated captioned, signed or relaxed performances.

      See our 31 MoneySaving tips for disabled people for more suggestions.

    • If you live near the theatre...

      Some theatres will try to entice nearby residents with cheap ticket offers. The Young Vic and the Almeida in London are known for offering a special discount for those who live in the neighbourhood, for example. Check your local theatre website or booking line before you buy.

    • If you belong to an underrepresented demographic...

      There are representation initiatives that help make theatre accessible to demographics who might be less able, less inclined or less encouraged to attend theatre. A great example is Black Ticket Project, which fundraises to supply young black people with free or discounted theatre tickets. The company is based in London but has worked in Bristol, Sheffield and Manchester and aims to continue expanding its reach.

    • If you're booking for a large group...

      Many theatres offer discounts for groups of eight to 10 people or more. You should find information about this on the theatre's official website. Group discounts might not always be possible when booking online – instead many theatres require you to call up to book.

    • If you're unemployed...

      It varies from theatre to theatre, but in some cases, those out of work are entitled to a concession on their ticket. This is the case for many of the main West End theatres, for instance. Check your local theatre's website or phone to find out if this applies.

  12. Under 30? Join free schemes for cheap tickets

    national theatre seats

    If you're under 26 (or under 30 at some theatres), you can nab cheap tickets through a plethora of schemes offering tickets to shows for rock-bottom prices.

    Be ready to show your ID when you pick up the tickets – most schemes mention in their terms that ID is required, even if it isn't always enforced.

    Off-West End and fringe theatres are much more likely to run a student discount scheme than the big West End venues. It's always worth asking at your local theatre if it does a deal for students or young people. Here are some of the cheap tickets available:

    For all of the offers mentioned above, you generally need to be organised and buy tickets as soon as they go on sale as the schemes are popular and there are limited numbers available for each show.

  13. Kids go free to West End shows during Kids Week

    The misleadingly named Kids Week runs throughout the month of August every year. With every full-paying adult, a child can go completely free to about 45 varied top West End shows. This year, booking opens at 10am on Tuesday 14 June. In the past there have been 150,000+ tickets up for grabs, with 100,000 snapped up by midnight of day one.

    With West End prices hardly the easiest on the wallet, and there usually being no difference between a kid's and an adult's ticket, Kids Week could save you anywhere between £15 and £80 depending on what you see.

    Some might find the official Kids Week Facebook page useful. Here, theatre fans recommend shows and good value seats to one another the whole year round (not just during Kids Week).

  14. Watch a theatre screening in your local cinema

    Phoebe Waller-Bridge starring in Fleabag

    A growing trend is screenings of theatrical productions, live or in 'encore' showings, at cinemas across the country.

    These are typically cheaper than going to the theatre itself, and give you a close-up view of the action. Plus, if you don't live near the theatre you'll save on travel and accommodation if you go to your local picture house instead of trekking halfway across the country.

    Past showings include Present Laughter which starred Andrew Scott, Phoebe Waller-Bridge in Fleabag and the Bridge Theatre's production of A Midsummer Night's Dream.

    And if that sounds like too much effort, there are occasionally even ways to watch live-streamed plays from the comfort of your own living room. The play The Vote, starring Mark Gatiss, was broadcast live on More4 on the night of the 2015 general election.

  15. See a West End show without a shlep to the West End

    book of mormon

    Many shows that are destined for the West End tour the UK before arriving in London. These performances are often cheaper than they would be in the West End, with the added bonus that if you don't live in London you don't have to pay for travel and hotels on top.

    There are also lots of West End shows that go out on tour across the UK after the London run finishes, or even while the West End production is still running. Shows that are currently touring include The Book of Mormon, Les Misérables and The Mousetrap.

    You can keep track of which shows will soon be touring the UK using sites such as WhatsOnStage and British Theatre.

  16. How to get cheap tickets at Edinburgh Fringe

    Go to Edinburgh in August and it's easy to be overwhelmed by the amount of theatre, comedy, music and more on offer at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

    With thousands of shows to choose from and performances at all hours of the day and night, it can be easy to spend a fortune, so here are our top tips to cut your Edinburgh Fringe ticket costs:

    Edinburgh Festival Fringe
    • See Free Fringe shows. With typical Fringe shows costing £5-£15, a way to save some ££s is to see some of the hundreds of shows that don't charge. The official Fringe programme lists many free shows, and see Free Fringe and Free Festival – though it's nice to chuck the performer(s) a few quid at the end of the show if you've enjoyed it.

    • Go to the Half Price Hut. This is an official booth selling up to half price tickets for shows that day or the following morning.

    • Join the Friends of the Fringe. Best if you're with someone else and plan to see a few shows, you can join the Fringe Society's membership scheme from £32. This gives you access to 2for1 tickets on a variety of shows – in 2018, there were more than 2,100 participating.
  17. Happy to queue? See if you can get a day seat

    Another cheaper option offered by many theatres is 'day seats'. These are tickets that theatres hold to be sold on the morning of the performance, which typically range from £5-£35 each.

    Often seats are on the front row of the stalls or the best available, and you can usually get two tickets per person. You might have to pay in cash so it's best to phone the box office before you go to check – it'll also often have a good idea of the sort of times people start queueing from so you know when to get there.

    Numbers are limited, with many shows having about 20 or fewer available, and if it's a popular show you may have to queue as early as 7am (box offices largely open at 10am Monday-Saturday and noon on Sundays so wrap up warm).

    The TodayTix app also runs a lot of West End theatre 'rush' schemes – these are like day seats but you don't have to queue in person at the theatre. Instead, tickets become available in the app at 10am for that day's performance(s).

    If you're heading to the West End anyway, it's worth visiting the TKTS theatre ticket booth, which has stood in Leicester Square in one form or another since 1980. Run by Society of London Theatre, it's open every day of the week and offers a list of same-day London show deals. As an added bonus, it's staffed by knowledgeable theatre buffs who can recommend shows and answer any other questions about your theatre trip. If you can't go to the booth in person, the TKTS deals are also available online these days.

    Tickets for popular shows sell out in seconds, so you'll need speedy fingers to nab 'em – though a trick if you miss out at first is to wait 10 minutes in case people don't buy the tickets they add to their baskets (as you only have this long to buy them).

    For a decent list of current West End shows' day seat policies, see Theatremonkey's day seat finder.

  18. Attend press nights for free as a volunteer reviewer

    press nights

    If you're not shy about speaking your mind and you're able to string a decent enough sentence together, you might like to try theatre reviewing. There are lots of websites out there with volunteer writers on their books. Those writers are sent to press nights for free in return for a review of the show. Although most review sites don't pay, you could save hundreds in theatre tickets each month if you're a regular theatregoer.

    • The Upcoming covers London theatre from West End to fringe, as well as music, art, film, fashion and food. You can apply to join the team as a volunteer writer by sending some writing samples by email or online form.

    • Fringebiscuit began as a platform for reviewing Edinburgh Festival Fringe shows, but has since covered fringe theatre across the UK and US. Send an email if you'd like to be considered for a volunteer writing role.
  19. Going to New York? Save money on Broadway shows

    If you're heading to New York and want a theatre trip, top-price tickets can be $100s. But don't despair, there are plenty of ways to hunt out cheap tickets for Broadway shows, including lotteries and day seats.

    For full info see our New York On A Budget guide.

  20. Avoid touts and suspect ticket sellers

    It's becoming less common, but hang around a theatre with a hot show on and you may well see someone selling tickets in hushed tones outside the front, often at huge markups. It goes without saying that it's a bad idea to buy tickets from these people as you could end up paying over the odds for seats, or in the worst case scenario be without any valid tickets at all.

    Star logo

    Another (more common) thing to avoid is non-authorised online ticket sellers. These often have huge booking fees and can charge much more than the face value of tickets.

    If you want to buy tickets, in person or online, look for the STAR symbol. This shows that the seller is a member of the Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers and adheres to its code of practice, meaning you're better protected.

    • In central London?

      If you're in central London and want to head to a ticket booth, TKTS in Leicester Square is the best. It's run by the not-for-profit Society of London Theatre, and tends to have the lowest booking fee of any of the booths in the West End. The tickets are normally half price with a £3 booking fee, though a £1 booking fee is added if you pay full price for a show.

    • Is touting illegal?

      While ticket touting (reselling tickets) isn't actually illegal, there are laws in place to protect buyers of secondary tickets. Ticket resellers must disclose the original price of the ticket and the nature of any connections they have with the event organiser or selling platform, among other things. You are entitled to this information, and if it isn't forthcoming, the ticket reseller could be selling counterfeits, or simply not observing these laws while legally reselling.

  21. Be ready for Official London Theatre's 'New Year' sale

    Every year, Official London Theatre's New Year sale begins in December and takes us into the following year. Top West End tickets are available for £10, £20, £30 or £40.

    In 2018, for example, there were 100,000 tickets available at the sale's start, spread across shows such as Les Misérables, Matilda and Swan Lake.

  22. Grab a super-last-minute bargain – you could stand for 10p

    London Royal Court Theatre

    A slightly riskier way to bag a cheap ticket, this, as you could end up not seeing the show at all, but a good way to get in for rock-bottom prices is to go to the box office an hour or less before the show is due to start.

    If there are unsold seats you can often get cut-price tickets as the theatre tries to fill any remaining gaps. Some theatres even have special last-minute offers in place – London’s Royal Court offers 10p standing tickets one hour before each performance in its Jerwood Downstairs space. Keep in mind that a show might last more than two hours with or without an interval, so with this one you'd need to be comfortable remaining on your feet for the duration.

    Last-minute bargains can be snagged online too. Although it's not advertised, many booking sites run dynamic pricing, which means tickets for a show tonight may be cheaper than the same seats on the same day of the week later in the month, since there's a more urgent need for theatres to fill those seats. 

    To see if we could find evidence of dynamic pricing in action, we compared tickets to Mary Poppins at the Prince Edward Theatre for the same night, a Monday, against future Monday nights. We found that seats C25 and C26 in the stalls cost £67.50 for that night's performance, but £87.50 for all future Monday night performances.

  23. Can’t find a discount? Go to the box office to save on fees

    If you've a show in mind but can't find a discount and the venue's close by, the best plan of action is to go directly to the box office.

    This'll bypass most fees, including booking or postage, though be aware that many tickets include a 'restoration levy' in the price which goes towards the upkeep of the theatre – this'll be charged regardless of how you book.

    What's more, be nice to the ticket office staff and you could even bag an upgrade. It goes without saying that you should always be polite when buying tickets (or indeed anything), but turning on some extra charm could even get you a bargain. 

    While box office staff can't give you freebies or massive discounts, they are sometimes able to pull some strings and give you a 'band A' seat at a 'band C' price, for example. Some ticket sellers have been known to throw in a couple of free drinks after having a good natter, so you never know what you could get by being nice.

  24. Earn rewards for reviewing your seats

    SeatPlan (mentioned above as a seat-checking tool) also has a rewards scheme you can join to earn 'theatre tokens'.

    If you're a regular theatregoer it's definitely worth joining as you'll gradually accrue vouchers and can then spend them all at once if you'd like to. Sign up for free and you can earn 50 points for each photo you upload of the view from a seat.

    Once you've earned 1,000 points, SeatPlan will send you a £10 theatre token, which can be spent at theatres across the UK – so, to get £10 you'll need to upload 20 pictures (which is 20 theatre visits). Or you can opt for an Encore voucher for 750 points (that's 15 photos) instead.

  25. Eat and drink at the theatre for less

    So you've made it to the theatre with your bargain ticket, and you're feeling a bit peckish or thirsty. Go to the kiosks and bars in venues themselves and you'll often find yourself paying through the nose for food and drink.

    Make sure you don't spend the money you've saved booking tickets on refreshments by preparing in advance – pop to a supermarket on the way to the theatre and pick up some bargain sweets or soft drinks. Sadly we haven't found a way to keep ice cream from melting so if only that'll do for your interval treat, hope there's a newsagent nearby (or shell out at the venue on a fancy tub).

  26. Only want cast info? Save money on a programme and look online/pick up a free cast list

    Wicked cast Nikki Bentley and Helen Woolf

    If you want to know who's in the show but can't face spending £5, £10 or even more on a programme, you can often find out info about the show from the official website, or dedicated theatre sites such as WhatsOnStage and Official London Theatre (if you're in the capital).

    Alternatively, some venues have handy takeaway cast lists in the foyer for free. Ask staff if you can't see any – they may be available on request.

    If you've got a West End show coming up, the Twitter account WestEnd Understudies is a nifty tool for finding out if that performance is subject to any cast changes.

  27. London theatres have made streams of past shows available free or cheap online

    Wicked cast Nikki Bentley and Helen Woolf

    While theatres were closed during lockdown and hundreds of shows were cancelled, lots of venues made recorded performances available to stream online for free for the foreseeable. This is a brilliant way to soak up a bit of culture from your living room without having to fork out for a ticket.

    Andrew Lloyd Webber's company set up a YouTube account called The Shows Must Go On! and released a full-length musical every Friday, beginning with Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat. Though the full-length shows are no longer available, you can still stream performances of songs as well as medleys.

    London International Mime Festival has been running for 44 years. When lockdown meant it wasn't able to run in 2021, it made a chunk of its back catalogue free to stream. That includes dance, acrobatics, puppetry and all sorts of wonderful, experimental madness.

    The National Theatre was allowing free streams of shows on its YouTube channel for seven days each, beginning with the online premiere of One Man, Two Guvnors starring James Corden. Unfortunately this is now over, though it has now made the National Theatre Collection free to state-funded schools.

  28. Watch live-streamed shows, including brand new writing

    London's Southbank Centre has a programme of free live-streamed plays which can be watched via Zoom. Look for the 'FREE' tag. You'll need to book a ticket to reserve your slot.

    The Bush Theatre's Monday Monologues comprises plays written and recorded during lockdown, making them a real snapshot of recent history. They're available to watch for free.

    Showstopper! The Improvised Musical has been playing in the West End for over 1,000 performances, and every single one has been different, thanks to its troupe of quick-witted improvisers. Faced with an empty auditorium one night, they live-streamed a new show on Facebook. That show is still available to watch today and it might just be the cheerer-upper you need.

  29. Watch Hamilton on Disney+


    You can now watch Tony Award-scooping musical Hamilton on Disney+, the new streaming channel from Disney. The filmed stage performance stars the original Broadway cast, including creator Lin-Manuel Miranda as Alexander Hamilton.

    Unfortunately the free Disney+ trial is no longer available; the service costs £7.99 per month or £79.90 for a year. But that's pennies compared to a top-price ticket to see Hamilton in the West End, which can ran into the hundreds of pounds.

    See our guide for more about watching TV & movies online

  30. Experience an immersive app-based show

    Exciting things are happening via app – immersive shows that 'take place' in your own home and really push the boundaries of what theatre can be.

    Available on the Mercurious app, Swimming Home is another app-and-earphones show, but this one's set in your bathroom. The 35-minute piece is a meditation on our relationship with water, and requires the listener to wear a swimming costumer and goggles and to run a bath. Tickets are £5. See the trailer for Swimming Home.

    Pioneering theatre company Darkfield launched a series of unique immersive audio shows, intended to be experienced from your home. The season has now ended but they're one to keep an eye. You might like to sign up to their emails to find out when the next season's due, and the to possibly score the occasional discount code. The shows require earphones, a smartphone and, depending on the show, some simple household props. Last season, two tickets cost £10 plus a service fee.

  31. Listen to audio plays for free or cheap

    Bitter Pill Theatre runs an ongoing playwriting competition as part of The Painkiller Project. The winners are released as radio plays each fortnight, and you can listen to them free on The Painkiller Podcast.

    Wireless Theatre Company is offering a free one-year subscription that gives you unlimited downloads of its entire catalogue of audio plays. Most aren't well-known works, but there are some Shakespeare plays, a series narrated by Brian Blessed and Jo Brand, and a play featuring Stephen Fry. A hidden gem, the 'binaural audio plays' section is optimised for earphone listening, with each ear receiving slightly different sound effects to create a feeling of immersion.

  32. Watch 350+ pre-recorded shows with a free Scenesaver subscription

    Theatre streaming site Scenesaver offers a catalogue of over 350 pre-recorded shows from across the world which you can watch from home, including kids and foreign-language shows. There's an emphasis on fringe and Off-West End theatre, so you can be sure of discovering some gems you hadn't heard of. You'll need to register to watch but it's totally free.

    For Valentine's Day, Scenesaver has created printable tickets that you can fill in and give to your date before you settle onto the sofa for a night at the theatre.

  33. Watch archived Broadway shows online with a free BroadwayHD trial

    American site BroadwayHD has made hundreds of Broadway show recordings available to stream on most devices. It usually costs about £6.54 a month ($9ish) but you can claim a seven-day free trial. You’ll need to enter payment details and create an account but as long as you cancel several days before the seven days are up, you won’t be charged for renewal and will still be able to take advantage of a full week of watching. When we tried it out, we found good quality streams of musical Kinky Boots, the play Salomé starring Al Pacino and Jessica Chastain, the ballet Swan Lake and the notorious Jerry Springer the Opera, plus family shows like The Wind in the Willows.

    Its terms say that it, “makes no representation that the BroadwayHD service is appropriate or available for use outside of the U.S”, but we had no trouble using it on mobile and PC here in the UK.

    Important: Don’t forget to cancel if you don’t want to be charged.

What have we missed? With countless theatres and ever-changing shows out there, it's impossible to list all the ticketing tricks around, but we'd love to grow this page. Let us know your top thespian tips in the comments below, by tweeting us @MoneySavingExp or by posting on the MSE Facebook page.

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