Saturday, 31 January 2009

Cheap London Theatre Tickets

I keep reading posts on the web about where is the best place to get cheap tickets for London's West End shows - musicals and plays. I think I come across about one article every day on average. Needless to say, different people have different views and this depends largely on their own personal experience.

I have read about going to Leicester Square in the early evening to buy tickets from booths there or recommending going to the theatre box office itself about 30 minutes before the show starts, etc.

Some also recommend buying from prominent (and not so prominent) websites giving various reasons for the various sites they recommend.

If one searches for London theatre material online, one comes across a myriad of sites offering information and tickets for London musicals and plays. One is led to believe that there are many stakeholders in the London theatre industry. The truth is that the London theatre ticket scene is controlled by a very small number of organisations.

In fact, it is dominated by literally a handful of them. Please do not make the mistake of confusing ticket re-sellers with theatre business stakeholders. There are tons of ticket re-sellers but very few who actually ‘own’ the tickets.

In most cases, the ticket ‘owners’ are the theatre owners themselves or the musical or play producers themselves, who are sometimes the same people. Major ticket brokers buy tickets from the theatre or producer and distribute them, either directly or through re-sellers, of which there are hundreds.

Nearly everyone, theatres/producers, ticket brokers and ticket re-sellers sell the same tickets for the same shows at the same prices. With this in mind, the biggest winners are those who can get the best exposure and can inspire the best confidence in the visitor.

Time (lots of it) has led me to conclude that it is not really worth shopping around for cheap tickets as most sources sell the same tickets at the same prices. By the way, the above applies to all musicals including top sellers like Sound of Music, Grease, Hairspray and Dirty Dancing or classics like Les Miserables and Phantom of the Opera.

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