Updated: Jun 4
By Raphael Kohn
Everyone who knows me knows just how much I love a good deal. In my real-world day-to-day life (outside of my work here at All That Dazzles as our resident Birmingham and West Midlands reviewer, Shakespeare nerd and Opera-lover), I’m a student myself, currently studying at the University of Birmingham. With the constraints of student loans and the cost of living crisis, I know very well how important it is to keep a tight budget, but I also love the theatre and want as many people to love it with me as possible!
Therefore, allow me to present my (as comprehensive as possible) guide to getting great deals for young people for the theatre. There are plenty of other ways to get affordable theatre experiences, but this article will be focussing solely on discounts specifically targeted towards younger age groups (mainly the 16-30 age bracket). If you’re aware of anything I’ve missed, please do get in touch at email@example.com or contact me on Twitter @Raphaelk0hn and we will add your suggestions in!
Without further ado, here is your list of schemes for young people this summer, accurate as of 17/05/2023:
Donmar Warehouse: We’ll start off this list with one of my favourite theatres. A 251-seat theatre boasting some of the UK’s biggest stars and making some truly exceptional productions in the heart of the West End, the Donmar is always producing top-notch theatre. They run two schemes:
‘YOUNG+FREE’: A lottery for under-25s for free tickets to all productions. Tickets are offered 2 weeks before productions begin.
‘Donmar Warehouse Barclays Under 30s tickets’: £10 tickets for all under-30s to all performances.
National Theatre: London’s flagship producing theatre, with its excellent three auditoria consistently producing a diverse range of groundbreaking theatre runs the following scheme:
16-25: £5 tickets are available for people aged 16-18 and £10 tickets are available for people aged 19-25 for all productions in the Olivier, Lyttleton and Dorfman theatres (unfortunately not in NT transfers to other West End theatres, such as The Crucible or Standing At The Sky’s Edge).
For more information, please visit https://www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/16-25-tickets/
Park Theatre: With its two small auditoria in the heart of Finsbury Park (easily accessible on the Victoria and Piccadilly Lines), the Park Theatre is always a favourite here at All That Dazzles for its intimate spaces and world-class performances. It runs the following scheme:
‘ParkUp’: £10 tickets are available for under-26s for all performances in the Park Theatre, as well as a whole host of other perks.
For more information, please visit https://parktheatre.co.uk/park-up
Regents Park Open Air Theatre: A perfect way to spend this summer – enjoying the definitely never-rainy outdoors of London at the Open Air Theatre. But don’t let the small chance of rain put you off, the Open Air Theatre is truly a special place indeed. Creating hit productions that regularly transfer into the West End and beyond, the Open Air Theatre is a real gem, and its new season for 2033 looks to be a stunning one. It runs the following scheme:
‘Breeze’: £10 tickets are available for under-25s for all performances in the Open Air Theatre, as well as discounts at the bar.
For more information please visit https://openairtheatre.com/breeze
RSC: The UK’s very own Royal Shakespeare Company is a treasure indeed, not only constantly revitalising the great works of the Bard to find new meaning year after year, but also bringing non-Shakespeare productions to London and around the country. With hits such as Matilda The Musical in their line-up, the RSC is one of the greats. They run the following scheme:
‘TikTok £10 Tickets’: £10 tickets are available for under-25s for The Empress, Matilda The Musical and Hamnet in London, as well as all productions at the RSC’s home in Stratford-Upon-Avon.
For more information please visit https://www.rsc.org.uk/tiktok-10-tickets
Barbican: Just outside of the West End but only a few tube stops away, the Barbican really is a one-stop shop for all your cultural needs. With a theatre, concert hall, exhibition centre and cinema, it’s the perfect place to get lost in London’s rich cultural scene. It runs the following scheme:
‘Young Barbican’: £10 tickets are available for under-25s for theatrical productions, concerts and dance productions.
For more information, please visit https://www.barbican.org.uk/join-support/young-barbican
Royal Court Theatre: London’s premier boundary-pushing theatre, the Royal Court is a favourite for all wishing to truly explore what theatre not only is, but can be. It runs the following scheme:
£15 tickets are available for under-27s, as well as 10p standing tickets.
For more information, please visit https://royalcourttheatre.com/your-visit/tickets/ways-to-save/
Young Vic Theatre: South London’s most versatile auditorium, the Young Vic can do it all! From becoming an American village hall in Oklahoma! to being in the round, thrust, immersive and of course in traditional platform staging, you’ll never see any two similar productions at the Young Vic. It runs the following scheme:
Tickets from £12 are available for under-25s and full-time students for every production.
For more information, please visit https://www.youngvic.org/visit-us/concessions
Almeida Theatre: This theatre really is taking off at the moment, with filmed versions of its productions (such as The Tragedy of Macbeth) hitting our screens and its Olivier-guzzling production of A Streetcar Named Desire practically breaking the internet when booking for its West End transfer opened. Consistently excellent, it runs the following scheme:
£5 tickets are available for every production for under-25s, as well as 20% off food and drink when you show a same-day £5 ticket.
For more information, please visit https://almeida.co.uk/your-visit/25s-under/
Lyric Theatre Hammersmith: West London’s jewel of a producing theatre, the Lyric produces its own shows as well as co-productions with regional theatres across the country. It runs the following scheme:
£5 tickets are available for Young Lyric members for their main house productions, as well as a range of other benefits. Membership is only for under-25s living in West London.
For more information, please visit https://lyric.co.uk/young-lyric/membership/
English National Opera: The UK’s opera company that prides itself on its relative accessibility and performs almost everything in English, the ENO has been getting young people into Opera for years with a winning combination of excellent productions and affordable tickets. If you’re not already an opera-goer, the ENO will show you just how awesome opera can be, even for a relative newcomer. It runs the following two schemes:
‘Under-21s Come Free’: One free ticket is available for each ENO production for under-21s.
‘ENO Under-35s’: Heavily discounted tickets are available for under-35s for each ENO production.
For more information, please visit https://www.eno.org/your-visit/ways-to-save-offers/under-21s-come-free/ and https://www.eno.org/your-visit/ways-to-save-offers/under-35s/
Hampstead Theatre: One minute away from Swiss Cottage station is the Hampstead Theatre, a versatile space that has hosted productions of a tremendous array of past hits, including 2018’s sensational Caroline, Or Change. It runs the following scheme:
£10 tickets are available for under-30s for every Hampstead Theatre production.
For more information, please visit https://www.hampsteadtheatre.com/your-visit/under-30s/
Finborough Theatre: This tiny little 50-seat theatre in London is not to be underestimated, with many productions (many of which are world premieres!) here receiving rave reviews. It runs the following scheme:
Low-price tickets for under-30s are available for the first week of a main show run.
For more information, please visit https://finboroughtheatre.co.uk/booking/
Bush Theatre: In the heart of Shepherds Bush lies this truly awesome theatre, producing plenty of brilliant work across its two spaces. It runs the following scheme:
‘Bush Connect’: £10 off standard price tickets in the Holloway Theatre and £5 off standard price tickets in the Studio are available for under-30s at the Bush Theatre.
For more information, please visit https://www.bushtheatre.co.uk/your-visit/ways-to-save/?#connect
Bridge Theatre: One of London’s newest theatres, the Bridge theatre is constantly mesmerising audiences with its productions. Often with big star names, this is certainly one to pay a visit to with its current immersive production of ‘Guys and Dolls’ wowing audiences and critics. It runs the following scheme:
‘Young Bridge’: £7.50 tickets for under-25s via Bridge7.50 for select Bridge productions, or £15 tickets for every show, apart from Guys and Dolls. Young Bridge tickets for Guys and Dolls are £19.50.
For more information, please visit https://bridgetheatre.co.uk/youngbridge/
Go Live Theatre Projects (formerly Mousetrap Theatre Projects): While not itself a theatre, I can’t not mention Go Live. This is a charity helping young people see West End theatre for subsidised prices, and we love how it brings young people into some of the West End’s biggest productions.
For more information, please visit https://golivetheatre.org.uk/
Queens Theatre Hornchurch: Just nearing the outskirts of London is this fantastic theatre, producing lots of new productions each year. It offers the following scheme:
£8 tickets for under-26s across all performances.
For more information, please visit https://www.queens-theatre.co.uk/news/2020/02/07/8-under-26s-tickets-now-available-across-all-performances/
Thank you to Emma E J Prendergast (@EmmaPrender) on Twitter for letting us know!
Menier Chocolate Factory: Consistently producing incredible brand-new productions of both new works and old classics in the form of intimate, new reviivals is this brilliant small theatre in South London. A real treasure, it is set to host both a brand new musical (The Third Man) and an old Sondheim classic (Pacific Overtures) this year. It runs the following scheme:
Choc Chips: £20 yearly fee for membership allowing under-25s to purchase £25 tickets for all Menier productions and other exclusive benefits.
For more information, please visit https://www.menierchocolatefactory.com/memberships/.
Thank you to Amy from Lost In Theatreland (@Lostintheatre) on Twitter for letting us know!
Sadler’s Wells: London’s premier dance auditorium, Sadler’s Wells is an excellent venue showcasing the very best of dance from Britain and beyond. But it also hosts a fine array of other productions, such as last year’s South Pacific and the upcoming Curve co-production of 42nd Street. Other auditoria managed by Sadler’s Wells include the Lilian Baylis studio and the Peacock Theatre (soon to host Everybody’s Talking About Jamie). It runs the following scheme:
Barclays Dance Pass: £10 tickets to productions at Sadler’s Wells, the Lilian Baylis Studio and the Peacock Theatre.
For more information, please visit https://www.sadlerswells.com/barclays-dance-pass/
Thank you to Maria Mădălina Ifrim on Facebook for letting us know!
Kiln Theatre: A gorgeous small theatre in Kilburn previously known as the Tricycle Theatre, the Kiln produces some truly excellent productions, some of which make their way into the West End. It runs the following scheme:
Under 26s can purchase £10 tickets to the theatre and £5 tickets to their cinema, as well as other benefits.
For more information, please visit https://kilntheatre.com/creative-engagement/young-people/
So there we have it – tonnes and tonnes of ways for young people and students to explore all of London’s fantastic theatres at spectacularly low costs. So what are you waiting for? Get out there!