While it’s too late to write a review on Blues for an Alabama Sky, which I watched last Friday night at the National Theatre, it was so good I felt compelled to write an article about the theatre all the same, to share even just some of its brilliance and magic, and to let others in on the secret finding cheap seats (or standing space).
I couldn’t believe my luck when I found out that the National Theatre does £5 tickets if you’re aged 16-18 (£10 tickets if you’re aged 19-25 – but they didn’t even ask for any ID, just waved me in after seeing the date and QR code on the ticket). There’s a fantastic selection of plays to choose from, and if they are a similar quality to Blues then you are in for something special.
As I mentioned before, Blues was fantastic. Some might say parallels could be drawn with A View from the Bridge, but Pearl Cleage’s writing combined with the rotating set and Samira Wiley’s stunning voice created a vision of burning emotion, hungry dreams and startling tragedy. Five stars and a standing ovation from me all the way.
However, if you want to go to The Crucible (whose run is nearing its end), you’ll have to try your luck with Friday Rush tickets, which is where you click on a link at 1pm on Friday and get put in a randomly assigned queue for cheaper tickets for shows for the next week. There’s a comment on the page saying if you’ve got a number bigger than 150 you’re going to be waiting for a while - I was 718th.
This got me wondering: what else is out there? It turns out there is quite a lot.
I found that at The Old Vic they do something called “PWC £10 Preview” tickets for the first five performances of every show. Then I went looking for student concessions and couldn’t find any, so I’ll have to wait until I’m over 60 to get a discount there! The Young Vic does a similar thing: £10 tickets for full-time students and people under 25.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t find much for the Royal Albert Hall apart from a discount of 7% on a dodgy website page called “Student Discount”. If you find anything better, let me know.
At BFI Southbank, for cinema enthusiasts under 25, they offer £3 cinema tickets (for any screening) and £5 festival tickets. They do older films, foreign films, the latest releases: something for anyon (I must also mention the Ciné Lumière does £5 tickets for under 25s. About a 5-minute walk from South Kensington campus, as well).
Continuing with my investigations, things got better and better…
If you’re a classical music fan, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment offers a great bargain of £5 for any seat if you’re a student. There isn’t a huge choice, but after the next performance (Sounds for the End of a Century, featuring works by Camille Saint-Saëns on the 26th of January), the choice goes Handel Bach Mozart Mozart, which isn’t half bad for half a tenner.
Meanwhile, The Royal Opera House does £11 standing/restricted view tickets so you can file in alongside people who have paid £235 to see the same thing.
And then then there is the well-known one at The Globe and its sister theatre, the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse of £5 standing tickets. Henry V is the only play showing throughout November, and Hawkawatis: Women of the Arabian Nights begins on the 1st of December.
I haven’t even begun to look at the big theatres and see if they do last-minute discounted tickets for the big names like Phantom of the Opera, The Mousetrap or Hamilton. Next month’s project, anyone?
Lastly, a call to any theatre lovers out there who would like to come to any of these! Share your advice and experience, I’d love to hear it. I am competing against the lure of clubs and Halloween parties as I write this; my accommodation, Xenia, is wonderfully placed for, ahem, all sorts of cultural endeavours.