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UK Theatres

Theatres listings and details of shows across the UK

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  4. Buying tickets for a sold out shows

London theatre information:
Booking tickets for London theatres
Buying tickets for a sold out shows

The thing to remember is that "sold out" shows just mean that the theatre box office has no more tickets. There may be tickets available through agencies and returns so don't get worried when you see "sold out". You still have a number of options, see below. You should also read our page on Buying tickets on the day/last minute for idea of some of the places to try.

These are tickets which people or agencies have bought in advance but can't use, so the Box Office sells their tickets and refunds their money. Most shows have a queue for returns. Be sure to get there early, a couple of hours, though you may need to be even earlier for popular shows. There may be a limit on the number of tickets per person and of course you may not get a choice of where you sit.

Online Auctions
There are a number of sites where you can buy tickets for sold out shows such as E-Bay and there are specialist agencies that deal with tickets for sold out shows and events. You will certainly pay over the odds for tickets bought through these sites and should be very careful about what you are getting. Whilst many sellers are legitimate, touts have moved off the streets and onto the net. Even "agencies" may not be legitimate. Check out their site and unless you see the STAR logo don't buy.

BE Flexible
Remember that if you really care about seeing the show, you may have to settle for something less.

  • Take a seat with a restricted view if that's all that is available. These are less popular and tend to be the least thought of. ASK by ringing the theatre box office if they have any available.
  • Split up if necessary. You may not be able to get seats together. You may not want to be apart from your beloved, but if single seats are all that's available and you really want to see the show, you need to rearrange your priorities.
  • Compromise on when you go and where you sit if you really want to see a show.
  • If money is not a problem then you can opt for the VIP option to get a special night out.

Things you may not have thought of
There are all those nice people that provide services and packages which includes tickets to top shows. Examples include hotel breaks that include tickets to a West End show, coach tours from outside London which make block bookings, Theatre clubs (groups of people who join up to buy tickets to shows at group rates) or travel agents which might have tickets reserved for visitors to London. Obviously these are more complicated and expensive, but if you have exhausted all other options and are desperate to see a show, then you can try these out.

Don't buy from touts
This subject is dealt with on the page about touts, but we need to mention it again. Be very wary of these characters as they will NOT be offering you what you want and in some cases you will not be able to use the tickets they sell you.

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