When it comes to cheap theatre tickets, the early bird, the late bird and the clever bird can all get the worm.
Many of us see a trip to the theatre as a rare treat - something expensive that we can only occasionally indulge in. But if you know the different ways to get hold of cheap theatre tickets, you can make theatregoing a regular event in your life.
The first way to save money is to be the early bird. The first show, especially the first matinee performance, will often have a flat-rate ticket for any seats, allocated on a first come, first served basis. To get the cheapest tickets any other night, it's often best to simply book on the day the tickets go on sale.
The second way to save money is to be the late bird. If you dont mind turning up to the theatre speculatively, to see if any seats are free, you can grab yourself a bargain.
You need to get to the theatre about 30 minutes beforehand (as some box offices close shortly before the show), and buy your tickets for that days performance as the box office is closing. This way, youre buying tickets they wouldnt have otherwise sold - so they offer them at bargain prices.
The risk of being the late bird is that the show could be a sell-out, and you walk away empty handed, having made the trip to the theatre for nothing.
If youre in London, you are more likely to benefit from being a late bird. With so many theatres to choose from, and so many shows on every night, you are more likely to find a show that hasnt sold out. Also, there is a late ticket service in Leicester Square, in the centre of London, which sells tickets for that days shows cheaply.
The late bird can also benefit from specialist websites, which allow you to purchase theatre tickets at bargain prices when buying them last minute. Unfortunately, many of these sites cover just London theatres, so you have to be willing to shop around online to find theatre shows in other UK towns and cities.
Many of the cheap tickets available are for shows that have been running for some time. If a theatre show has just been launched, its unlikely you will be able to get cheap tickets by being a late bird.
The third way to save money is to be the clever bird, by having ticket deals sent to you. Most theatres now have free email newsletters that you can sign up to on their respective websites. These newsletters will include deals only available to subscribers.
Deals are also published in the going out sections of local newspapers - and the clever bird makes sure they check these pages in any weekly free paper they receive, as well as in the Friday edition of any daily local newspapers in their area.
Cheap tickets available for early birds, late birds and clever birds vary from 10% off to half-price tickets. There are bargains to be had, but expect to have to put in some leg work.
There are many ways to source cheap theatre tickets, from buying early and buying late, to subscribing to theatre newsletters and scouring your local paper for deals.