The top theatre lotteries – how to grab £10-£25 tickets for Fleabag, Hamilton, Matilda and more West End shows (often the best seats)
What seat would £10 buy you at a big West End show nowadays? You might expect to be right up in the gods, at best. Yet a host of West End shows offer drastically reduced tickets via free-to-enter lotteries.
From Hamilton to Matilda, theatre lotteries give you the chance to buy seats that can cost £100+ (depending on the show) for just £10-£25. Last year, I took my daughter to see Disney's Aladdin in front row stalls seats via its lottery (now closed), with an amazing view of the action, for £20 each. Normally each seat would have cost a cool £63.
And with the £15 lottery for Phoebe Waller-Bridge's Fleabag ending this week, the production that inspired the hit BBC series, we thought we'd give you a reminder of how to be in with a chance.
How theatre lotteries work
We've a full show-by-show rundown below. But a nutshell:
- It's always free to enter. You fill out an online form to enter a draw for cut-price tickets.
- The performance could be the day of the draw, or up to a fortnight ahead. It depends on the show. You'll need to be flexible though – this isn't for those who need to book tickets months in advance.
- If you win, you'll be told by email. You've then normally a very limited time to decide to buy the tickets – though you're not obliged to.
- The exact seats you'll get varies. But at some theatres they're in the front row.
And the beauty of these lotteries over queuing for cheap on-the-day seats is that there's no need to shiver outside in person.
Why do theatres do this? The lotteries are a cheap chance for theatres to promote their shows (people often share them on social media). Plus they're a way to bring in new, younger theatregoers or those who might not be able to afford seats usually.
Here's a list of the top theatre shows that run lottos. All the ones we've found are for London's West End, but if you know of any others across the country, we'd love to hear about them in the comments section below. Please do let us know if you've won too.
- Now expired. Fleabag tickets £15 via TodayTix. A number of 'prime' seats for Fleabag, including some in the front row, are up for grabs at £15 for every performance via a free-to-enter lottery. The final theatre run of Phoebe Waller-Bridge's show is sold out (other than the lottery tickets) and runs until 14 September at the Wyndhams Theatre. The last lottery runs from Monday 2 September to 11.59am Wednesday 4 September.
According to TodayTix, ticket values vary as seats are scattered around the theatre. There will be 50 lottery seats available per performance, but you can double your odds of winning by hitting the share on Facebook or Twitter buttons that appear after you submit your entry. (You'll triple your chances if you share on both.)
How to enter: It's run by agent TodayTix*. The final lottery opened at 9am on Monday 2 September and closes at 11.59am on Wednesday 4 September, for all of the performances the following week. Just follow the link to register and select the dates you can attend.
Winners are notified by email (and push notification if you have its app) between 12.01pm and 4pm on Wednesdays. You've just one hour to claim the tickets and pay, and you can purchase up to two cut-price tickets.
It's definitely worth a shot, as MSE Holly found:
We won a pair of Fleabag tickets for £15 each via the lottery - a bargain price and brilliant seats. I was so happy, especially as I only entered once!
- Top-price Everybody's Talking About Jamie for £20 via TodayTix. Lottery tickets for Everybody's Talking About Jamie (£20, in the front row) are up for grabs for every performance.
Prices vary but these normally cost £67.50 to £72, according to TodayTix. The amount of lottery tickets available varies by performance but, as with Fleabag, you can double your odds of winning by sharing the lottery on Facebook or Twitter.
How to enter: The lottery is run by ticket agent TodayTix* – just search for the relevant show to enter. The lottery opens at 12.01am on the day of the performance and closes four hours before the curtain goes up. Winners are notified by email two to four hours before the performance (or by push notification if you entered via the app). You've just one hour to claim the tickets and pay, and you can purchase up to two cut-price tickets.
- Hamilton – tickets for £10. It's possible to bag £10 tickets for the mega-popular hip-hop musical based on the life of one of America's Founding Fathers, Alexander Hamilton. The number of £10 tickets available and seats offered varies by performance.
Go to the Hamilton lottery. The lottery opens at 4pm two days prior to the performance and closes at 2pm the day before. Winners are emailed at 3pm the day before and must buy the tickets by 6pm that day. The exception is Monday performances, where entries open at 4pm on Friday and close at 2pm on Saturday – winners are then emailed at 3pm the same day and must pay by 6pm (they can buy up to two tickets).
- Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – parts one and two for £40. Every week, 40 tickets at £40 are up for grabs for every performance of J.K. Rowling's sought-after show Harry Potter and the Cursed Child the following week. (The play is split into two consecutive performances and you pay £20 per part, so that's £40 per guest in total.)
Seats vary but agent TodayTix, which runs the lottery, says they will "always be some of the best seats in the house". Top price tickets normally cost up to £160 in total (£80 per part). Normally you can buy parts separately, but with the lottery you need to buy two consecutive shows.
How to enter: Submit your entry on TodayTix*. The lottery opens every Monday at 12.01am and closes on Friday at 1pm. It notifies winners (via email or, if you've the app, push notification) between 1pm and 5pm that day, and they have one hour to claim. Winners can buy up to two tickets per part. See full details.
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- Matilda – best seats for £25. Every fortnight you can enter a lottery to bag tickets at £25 each for Matilda, the musical based on the Roald Dahl children's book. Each day, the theatre releases one pair of Band A tickets at £25 each for performances five days ahead (normally at least £70 each).
How to enter: Visit the Matilda lottery and enter your details and preferred performances. After you've entered, it gives you the option to hit buttons to share on Facebook or Twitter and boost your chances. You'll get an email three to five days in advance to let you know if you've won. It is a rolling lottery with no closing date, but you can only enter once every two weeks, so set yourself a reminder. See full terms.
- The Book of Mormon – tickets for £20. One pair of tickets for the musical The Book of Mormon, written by the creators of South Park, is available via a weekly online lottery for £20 per ticket. The theatre could not confirm what seats people are offered, but when we checked seats normally cost from £30 to £98.
How to enter: Go to the Book of Mormon lottery. The lottery opens at 12.01pm on Wednesday and closes at 11.59am the next day. You can select as many performances as you like, but can only win one pair per draw. It notifies winners by 11.59pm on Thursday for the following week's shows. See full terms.
- School of Rock – best seats for £20. Four top price seats are available for £20 per ticket for every performance of School of Rock, the stage musical version of the hit movie. These are normally up to £77.50 each.
How to enter: Fill in your details on the School of Rock lottery. You can apply at any time for all performances in a two-week period. Winners are notified by email three to five days in advance of the performance and you'll have 24 hours to book. You can purchase up to four tickets at £20 each. See full terms.
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