Your insider’s guide to buying theatre tickets for shows on in London
There are numerous ways to buy tickets for West End shows in London. The obvious first ports-of-call are the box offices at the theatres in London. However, often the best seats are allocated out to all the various ticket agents, so in theory, the theatre box office could be sold-out of tickets themselves, when in fact, there is still availability through other channels.
The producers of the shows in London also tend to give the best deals to the ticket agents, so to buy cheap tickets for shows in London it is often best to go to a ticket agent.
Why are the deals not available from the official box office, you may ask? Well, ticket agents invest a lot of time, energy and money in marketing and promoting all the shows on in London, so have more choice – not just of seats but also prices and indeed the variety of shows available within the West End. Ticket agents will generally, as we do at Shows in London, spend their own money on advertising and marketing shows, therefore the producers are supportive of these efforts. Due to the larger volume of tickets sold and the direct route to customers, ticket agents can negotiate great deals on tickets for theatre shows in London, and therefore pass on the savings to their customers.
West End theatre tickets can be purchased either over the telephone or on the internet. When searching on the web, either via Google or one of the other search engines, chances are you will find a whole host of ticket agents. These can range from the official ticket agents, such as Shows in London, through to ticket touts who sell tickets for inflated prices. Therefore it is important to ensure you are dealing with a legitimate agency. Official ticket agents are registered with STAR, the regulatory body of all official ticket agencies. STAR stands for Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers and they operate a strict standard code of practice, including rules regarding prices. To check out the full list of regulated official ticket agents go to www.STAR.org.uk
The vast majority of West End theatre tickets in London are bought with no problems at all. Over 10 million tickets a year are sold for theatres in London’s West End alone and most people simply buy their tickets, turn up and enjoy the show.
Occasionally however, things can go wrong and customers sometimes find that the tickets they thought they were getting aren’t what they receive, so it is important that you look out for the STAR logo on a website, with the caption “Secure Tickets from Authorised Retailers”.
You should also look out for a UK telephone number and call centre – it’s always best to call the ticket agent if in doubt and speak to them directly. An address in the UK is also a good indicator that you are dealing with a legitimate enterprise.
Lastly, when it comes to paying for your tickets, the safest method is to use a credit card – especially for purchases over £100. The Consumer Credit Act legally covers you for any purchases made on a credit card between £100 and £30,000. Section 75 of the Act removes the risk from the purchaser, so if things go wrong, both the credit card provider and the trader are jointly responsible for the purchase. If you use a debit card, try to use one with a big name bank such as Barclays, RBS or HSBC, and ensure the payment is made through a secure server, such as the one provided by Shows in London.
You can also use Shows in London gift vouchers or Theatre Tokens as part or full payment towards your tickets – just give us a call on 020 3567 0620 to redeem them.
And when all the boring bits are done, and you have the tickets in your hand – just enjoy the show!