Lots of people love the theatre, but not everybody can afford to go as much as they would like – especially students. I personally spend lots of money on theatre tickets, but theatre is my passion (I’m a theatre editor, so you’d hope so!), and not everybody can afford to prioritise theatre. You might prefer sports, or the movies, or perhaps you’re not in a good financial state for any hobbies…
Most people just want to go to the theatre sporadically for some fun (unless you’re going to watch Les Misérables. That’s not fun – ‘miserable’ is literally in the name…), but they worry that they won’t be able to afford the tickets, or that they should be spending their money on more practical things.
Manchester arguably has the best theatre scene outside of London, though, of course, I’m biased… Whilst tickets here are much cheaper than in the West End, “cheap” is relative. Fortunately for us youngsters and students, Manchester’s theatres recognise this. There are schemes, memberships and discounts available, but make sure you pay attention to the requirements…
The city’s landmark theatres are ‘sisters’ the Palace Theatre and the Opera House. Most of the ‘big’ shows visit these theatres. I’m talking Wicked and Les Misérables. If you’re not fussed about being a part of the action, seats in the Circle and Gallery can be as cheap as £13! But even for those theatre-snobs amongst us, many shows offer discounted tickets (including good seats) for students and under-25s, but be sure to bring ID to prove this!
The Lowry, in Salford, is home to two theatres and a few studios. The Lowry receives a huge variety of shows, including ‘big’ ones, like War Horse (and they’re also getting Les Mis!). They have relationships with Opera North and the Royal Shakespeare Company. Most impressively, they offer £5 and £10 tickets for under-26s, if you become an Under 26 member (for free!). You can also bring along somebody else (including non-students and people over 26) for the same price!
The Royal Exchange Theatre offers £7 tickets for students and under-26s for all of its weekday shows in the main theatre. Its studio offers some discounted tickets too, but they’re not always £7. They also do the odd free or pay-what-you-decide show, as does the Lowry.
Home offers a limited number of £5 ‘Advance’ tickets for students for almost all of its shows. Once these are gone, there are ordinary student tickets, but these will only save you a few pounds. Likewise, Hope Mill Theatre offers concession tickets (which includes students) that will save you a few pounds. Contact Theatre, which also offers concession tickets, is currently running a pay between £5-15 scheme, with audience-members who pay £15 supporting cheaper tickets for other audience-members.
Lastly – come write for The Mancunion’s theatre section! If you’re a student of the University of Manchester and want to review plays for our theatre section, you’ll get free press tickets for some amazing shows and get to write down your feelings in a review.
So, don’t think that theatre is unaffordable and not for youngsters and students. If you like theatre, and have some money to spare, there are schemes, discounts and offers to make sure you don’t miss out.