How can I get tickets to a sold-out play in London?
March 31, 2013 4:27 PM   Subscribe

I'm going to London in May, and desperately want to see a play that's sold out for its entire run. What's the best way to get a single ticket? I'm not concerned about cost.

I've never had much luck with the off price ticket booths before and I don't know they'd even have ones for a sold-out play, but it's been a long time since I was there. I don't know if hoping for a returned seat is reasonable for a high profile play (Judi Dench and Ben Whishaw). I've known folks here in the states who'd go right before showtime and look for someone selling theirs, but I don't know if that's common in England.
posted by emcat8 to Media & Arts (10 answers total)
I've seen this play! It's really good! Your best bet is to queue up for same day returns.

From the website:
Please Note: Peter and Alice is now sold out but a limited number of £10 day seats will be released at 10.30am on the day of performance, or please keep checking the website for returns.

Good luck.
posted by Ziggy500 at 4:40 PM on March 31, 2013

The NYC performer beneficial union had at one time tickets to anything for about double, don't know if that still exists or if there is a corresponding thing in London but it's a direction to look.
posted by sammyo at 4:41 PM on March 31, 2013

Standing room?
posted by sammyo at 4:41 PM on March 31, 2013

Are you staying at a hotel with a concierge? They can be a good source of tracking things like this down.
posted by mmascolino at 4:44 PM on March 31, 2013

If they are releasing seats at 10.30 am, that's your answer. Either queue yourself or, since you are not concerned about cost, pay someone to do it for you. Probably from some ridiculously early hour.
posted by londongeezer at 4:46 PM on March 31, 2013 [2 favorites]

Best answer: What about StubHub UK? Here's the page which returns a search for Peter and Alice. I think the second entry looks like the May performance. I'd suggest moving quickly since there are only 2 tickets left...
posted by shivohum at 5:15 PM on March 31, 2013

Response by poster: Thanks for the tips so far! I didn't know about StubHub UK -- that is something I'll keep my eye on, and maybe something with my dates will come up. I'm glad to hear it's a play worth the extra effort -- I've no problem with queuing up.

I'm actually unclear about the concierge thing where I'm staying, as I'll be bookending a side trip in the middle of my stay and still haven't nailed everything down yet. But that's incentive for me to settle on a place with a good one.
posted by emcat8 at 9:22 PM on March 31, 2013

Best answer: At most theaters in the world you can stand there with a small sign reading "Need One Ticket" or "Seeking One Ticket." Many times this works, because people do have last-minute emergencies that prevent them from going to the theater, and the other person they're going with doesn't always have time to dispose of the extra ticket. (From experience I can tell you that this method works best if you can manage to look like a desperately poor but immaculately clean student who has gone to the trouble of putting on his one nice sports jacket to see his beloved Dame Judi.)

Ordinarily as well theaters with sold-out shows organize a returns line, for which the usual procedure is that the person at the front of the line is offered the first ticket returned, and if he refuses it (for whatever reason) it's offered to the next person in line.

For the "day of" seats, you can try getting up very early one morning to arrive at the theater at, say, 6:30. If there's a fairly short queue, you can join, or if there's a long queue, you can try the following day a couple of hours earlier.

Although, if, as you say, money is no object, then go ahead purchase through StubHub or some other ticket broker before you leave for London. That way you won't have to worry about "will I get in or not?"
posted by La Cieca at 11:17 PM on March 31, 2013 [1 favorite]

posted by TheRaven at 12:25 AM on April 1, 2013

I don't know how bad it is for that particular theatre but be careful about buying tickets for seats that have a restricted view... touts and agencies are not always clear about this. There's various seating plan sites on line you can check out... like this one
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:49 AM on April 1, 2013

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