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UK Theatres

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UK theatre information:
Dealing with problems

We hope your visit to the theatre is enjoyable and the only problem you have is getting the show tune out of your head. Problems and misunderstandings occur even if you do nothing wrong, so here is a list of things that you could do if something happens.

Problems with tickets for London Theatres
We have a separate page on dealing with problems regarding London theatre tickets.

Reporting Problems with London Theatres
If you have had problems with a theatre in London, let the Society Of London Theatre know. They are a self regulatory body for London theatres and can help resolve disputes between you and the theatre management.

Reporting Problems with Regional Theatres
If you have had problems with a theatre outside London, let the local council or trading standards office know.

Generally something like "no refunds" is tucked away in the terms and conditions. You may however be able to return your tickets and get a refund, but this depends on the theatre and the circumstances.

Problems getting to the theatre/Can't attend
If you have any problems then there is very little you can do to get your money back. Some theatres and agencies have an insurance for this which might be worth taking out. TicketPlan covers you if a member of your party or a close relative becomes ill or otherwise prevents you from going to the show. It also covers you if you have transport problems. Check out their site for details and conditions.

Lost/Forgotten tickets
It can happen to anyone. Make sure you arrive at the box office early. This gives them time to check their own sales records if you bought from the theatre or the opportunity to check with the agency if you bought from an agency. If you have any proof of purchase such as a receipt take it with you.

There may be a small charge for re-issuing tickets, particularly if you have bought through an agency.

Tickets not at the box office
If you have arranged to pick up your tickets at the box office, you should have been given a voucher or a code and you may need to have proof of identification and the same card that you purchased your tickets with. Check what is required when booking your ticket. If your tickets are not available complain to the Manager who should be able to deal with the problem. If you "bought" your tickets from a less reputable agency or an Internet auction then you are not going to get much sympathy.

Disputes over seats
If there are problems with someone else in your seats, contact the theatre manager immediately and a check can be made of who has the right to those. If there is a double bookings, for example an agency has sold the same seats as the theatre's own box office, then it's up to the manager who gets the seats. Generally the person that bought from the theatre gets to keep the seats.

If you are moved and the seats are not as good as the ones you booked, complain and ask for compensation. You still have a right to complain and if you feel strongly contact one of the organisations mentioned above.

Theatres have a rule that valuables are carried and left at the owners' risk. This includes the cloak room. If something is stolen report it to the manager immediately, and if it's serious to the police too. If the management is not sympathetic then you can complain to someone higher up, but don't expect too much.

Performance is cancelled
If a show is cancelled then you should be contacted and offered a refund or replacements for another show. Don't accept inferior seats for a later show as you are entitled to get what you paid for. There will not be any compensation for other expenses, so you won't get anything back if you have already made travel and accommodation arrangements.

Advertised star not in the performance
A featured actor may miss a performance for a number of reasons. Unfortunately the conditions of sale include the clause that no refunds are given should any of the members of the cast be changed. If you really want to see someone make sure you check with the box office that you are not watching the show on their day off. Of course even then he/she could miss the performance due to ill health or other reasons.

Health problems during the show
If you become ill, through no fault of the theatre, then you are not entitled to a refund. Whether you are offered replacements or refunds depends on the theatre's management.

If something happens to you or your belongings as a result of action by a member of staff or by negligence you must complain to the manager immediately. If the matter is serious and you get nowhere then threaten to take it to the next level such as the council, trading standards or health and safety executive. If you still get nowhere then carry out the threat. The health and safety executive can shut a theatre down immediately so if you spot a serious issue let them know.

Dom Jolly
Well you've seen him on Television; loud, obnoxious and with a mobile phone! The TV show was funny, but the real characters it was based on are not. You have paid good money to watch a show and if someone is spoiling it for you let an usher know immediately or wait till the interval and complain to the manager. The action taken depends on the seriousness of the offence.

Didn't like the show
Well you are entitled to your opinion. You can let the producers know what you think, but what they do is up to them.

Didn't like the theatre
If there are problems with the theatre; too loud, too cold, no disabled facilities etc. Have a word with the manager or if you feel strongly enough put it in writing. This doesn't guarantee any results, but it makes you feel better.

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