The student guide to London theatres on the cheap

The Christmas holidays are finally here and we students now actually have the time to squeeze in those London theatre trips we didn’t quite manage during term time. Being students, however, you probably still don’t have a lot of cash to spend on these theatre visits, but with the know-how anyone can get cut price tickets. London’s theatre scene is unrivalled with a wide array of shows so there’s something to interest everyone. Here’s a selection of the best ways to access cheaper tickets ranging from musicals to opera:

The National Theatre:

The National Theatre, an obvious first choice, runs an Entry Pass scheme. The scheme is free for anyone aged 16-25 and means you can book £5 tickets to all of their productions. If you’re interested in a career in the theatre the scheme also advertises workshops and events. For more details on how to sign up online see here.

If you miss out on the £5 allocation there are also Travelex £15 tickets available for certain shows. The theatre’s partnership with Travelex means that an increased number of seats cost just £15 in certain performances. Currently Behind the Beautiful Forevers and a new production, JOHN, are a part of this scheme.

The Royal Court:

If you fancy some political or social commentary over Christmas The Royal Court’s £10 Monday scheme is for you. All tickets in their Jerwood Theatre Downstairs and the Jerwood Theatre Upstairs cost just £10 on Mondays. The tickets are released on the day of the performance at 9am online. See here for more details. And if you miss out on those tickets the theatre also offers student discounts for all performances.

The Old Vic:

The Old Vic theatre reserves £12 tickets for under 25s at each performance. You don’t even have to sign up for this scheme, all you have to do is bring ID with you to the theatre. London shows with famous names can cost upwards of £70 but with this discount you could see the likes of Kristen Scott Thomas and Kevin Spacey for a mere £12! For more details see here.

The Donmar Warehouse:

This theatre reserves two thirds of the front row and puts the tickets on sale for £10. The seats are released every Monday at 10am for the performances that take place two weeks later. Keep an eye on their website for more details. This could be your chance to see City of Angels their current musical with sassy femmes fatales figures.

Barbican centre:

This incredibly diverse venue offers a 50% discount to students on Wednesdays. There is also the Young Barbican discount scheme for 16-25 year-olds which offers tickets starting at £5. Find more information here: and see if opera or modern dance is to your taste.

Matilda the Musical at The Cambridge Theatre

16-25 year olds can enjoy £5 tickets to this West End show if you arrive in person from 10am at the Cambridge Theatre Box Office. From personal experience I’d recommend arriving a little before 9am but queues do vary each day. Make sure you bring ID with you when you queue and each person is only allowed to buy one ticket each. For more details see here.

Royal Opera House:

Ballet or Opera your thing? Take a look at the Royal Opera House’s student discount scheme. Sign up here for access to student tickets costing £1-£25 and once you’ve registered look out for the Student Booking days. The next booking day is the 26th January, so this is one to bear in mind for trips next term or in the Easter holidays.

Young Vic:

And finally it’s worth knowing that the Young Vic has £10 tickets for each production for full time students and people aged 25 and under. These seats sell out fast so it pays to be organised and book well in advanced to secure the tickets. See here for full details.

And there we have a selection of the best deals. For long-running, larger shows make sure you shop around and compare to find the cheapest tickets. Last minute tickets are usually less pricey. Make sure to meet up with Uni-friends in London so that you can crash on their couch and have a guided tour on the way to the theatres. If you live in London already there really is no excuse. You could see a world class show for the price of a BT Studio ticket.


PHOTO/ Flickr user David Rowlzi