The £50 theatre challenge


 I’m going on a mission to see as much theatre in London for £50. 

As is typical of anyone that lives in London, I get that familiar nagging feeling I should do more. You know, see more sights, go on the Eye, meet the Queen. Stuff Londoners are supposed to do.

Thing is, you’re always at risk of letting living in London pass you by. It doesn’t take long for your eyes to glaze over as your bus rolls past Big Ben, for the thrill of jumping through the slamming doors of a tube carriage to wear off. You forget that the rest of the country doesn’t have access to a near unlimited choice of restaurants, that no one else is paying by debit card for a bus journey, that you’re living in a city literally bursting with stuff to see and do and eat. Instead, you put your head down and earphones in.

To combat this weird pseudo-guilt, I’m dedicating £50 of this month’s paycheck to theatre. I’m gonna see as much of it as I can physically (and financially) can fit in. And it’s going to be awesome.

Why theatre? Why £50?

I DO WHAT I WANT THAT’S WHY. Also because I love going to the theatre, and I just haven’t been able to find the time or money to get tickets this last year. There is so much of it in London, and it’s not all £90 tickets for West End musicals. I want to dig out the freebies, the am-dram gems, the Shakespeare and the weird stuff too. I’ve picked £50 because that’s enough to keep it interesting without breaking the bank or restricting myself too much. I’m going to prove that theatre is accessible in London, and that it can be cheap as chips if you know where to go.

The rules:

  1. I have exactly £50 reserved- not a penny more.
  2. I want to see as many shows as possible- I’m not blowing it all on one ticket to see a Jacko impersonator.
  3. If I see a show for free, I will donate £2 to Mousetrap (a children’s theatre charity). This means a maximum possibility of 25 shows.
  4. It has to be a play. This excludes stand-up and cabaret, for instance, but includes musicals, improv and that stuff.
  5. There is no time limit, because sod that.
  6. I can get a ticket from wherever I want, including YPlan, Entry Pass, begging, and winning them at a poker game.
  7. I’mma review every show on the basis of how good it was, whether it was worth the dollar and on whether I’d pay full price for a ticket if it was discounted or free. Also if there were any hot cast members.

The plan

So I’m pretty confident I’ll be able to see upwards of five shows. I’m gonna call it now and say I’ll see 8, though more would be fantastic. The aim is to see at least one West End musical, because they’re the notoriously expensive ones, and for the rest to be as varied as possible.

I’ll try and restrict the ways I find cheap tickets to one per avenue, if that makes sense. I won’t just overdose on YPlan, or only use my under-25 discount five times, because that would be boring and I wouldn’t want to exclude the oldies reading. I’m aiming for one show a week until my funds run out, but don’t hold me to that.

So, there’s nothing more to say now until I actually, well, see a show. So I’ll shut up now and keep you posted. Here’s to the cheap seats!


PS: If you want to come with me, please do! I mean, as long as you are in London and don’t plan on stealing all my snacks or feeling me up at the interval, you’re more than welcome to join me. Just let me know and make sure I’ve got you on Facebook/mobile no, and when I find tickets I’ll message out to see if you fancy whatever show I’ve dregded up. 

Farrah Kelly


  1. This sounds like a really interesting project, good luck with it! Are you signed up to Masterclass? Sometimes they send out emails about £3 tickets for shows (you have to grab them quick because they sell out fast)

  2. My advice would be to use Entrypass (which you’re already aware of), if you dont have a time limit sign up to Masterclass http://www.masterclass.org.uk/ as they send out very cheap tickets last minute for a variety of shows, excluding the ‘oldies’ but you can queue for Matilda tickets in the morning (say getting there 7am) for £5, and not excluding the oldies there are a large range of shows that offer day seats if you queue on the day for as low as £10 – the cheapest at the moment being King Charles III which comes highly recommended (see http://www.theatremonkey.com/dayseatfinder.htm). Additionally, the Sam W Theatre at the Globe, Old Vic, Young Vic and the Royal Opera House all have tickets £10 (or cheaper at the ROH http://www.roh.org.uk/events/8zpqq) if you book up early enough.

    That’s all that I can think of at the moment but there are lots of ideas there so I hope thats of help!

    • This is PERFECT! Thanks so so much, I knew about Matilda but had no idea about the rest :) Thanks Rebecca! xx

  3. I would love to join you, please add me on fb and message me what shows you will see! :)

  4. Try the tabard theatre in Chiswick, they usually have good plays and are not expensive.

    • Perfect! These look really useful, get snapped up quickly (all part of the fun!) xx

  5. I’ve been dying to do/see more in London. If you ever want someone to tag along with you to a show just drop me a line! Good luck, fellow broke Londoner x

  6. Hotukdeals mentions free lion king tickets for first 750 queuing from 6am tomorrow 13/10/14 for tickets for a show on 19/10?! I would queue but I’m 250 miles away!!!

  7. I’m a theatre student so I know a few ways and places for amazing shows and super cheap tickets! I’d love to tag along :)

  8. Fantastic idea. I LOVE the theatre, and it only occurred to me recently that I should blog about it more. There are some brilliant fringe shows out there, that don’t cost as much as the West End, and if you want a dirty tip, CASA Latin American Theatre Festival is usually brilliant, even for those who aren’t remotely Latin American x

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