Theatre tickets are not refundable in general, but there are options depending on where you book.
Booked a ticket months ago and can't make it anymore? Want to exchange your ticket for another date? Another show? Or cancel your ticket altogether for a refund?
It goes without saying that if your performance is cancelled, you are entitled to a refund. This post is however about situations where the show is happening as planned but you can't make it (for non-covid reasons).
Are TodayTix theatre tickets refundable?
No, TodayTix does not refund your tickets once they are booked. However, if you can't make it to your show, you can request your tickets to be exchanged for the same show on another date. Keep in mind that
1) Your exchange request must be completed 48 hours before your originally booked show begins, which means you should consider writing to TodayTix requesting for the exchange a good one week before your original show date. That way, you give them enough working days to respond and process your exchange, and the whole thing is done 48 hours before your show begins.
2) Once you request the exchange, they will send you a cash voucher for the value of your ticket. Once you use this voucher to rebook, they will cancel your original booking.
3) You must rebook before the voucher expires and 48 hours before your originally booked show begins. You can use the voucher on the same show only, and for the same number of seats only. The new seats you pick on the new date should equal or be costlier than the voucher value (if costlier, you have to pay the difference, naturally). For complete and most updated details, look at the TodayTix website / app FAQ.
4) There is no charge for exchanging the tickets.
Are Official London Theatre tickets refundable?
No, unfortunately OfficialLondonTheatre.com is the worst place to book tickets if you're looking for flexibility. Tickets booked on this site are neither exchangeable nor refundable.
Are tickets refundable if I booked with the theatre or venue directly?
Sometimes. It is best to head over to the site directly and check, or call the box office and request them. For example, the Bridge Theatre site allowed Theatre Bee to cancel its tickets and get a credit voucher to book again on the site. Now, this isn't a refund in the strict sense of getting your cash back in your bank account or credit card, but at least you get a voucher. Your voucher can be used for any other show, any other date, any other seat, any other time, and the voucher never expires, as long as you book with Bridge Theatre directly. No extra charge. Pretty neat, right?
For another example, consider LW Theatres (parent of Adelphi Theatre, Cambridge Theatre, Gillian Lynne Theatre, Her Majesty's Theatre, The London Palladium and Theatre Royal Drury Lane). If you booked directly at www.lwtheatres.co.uk (i.e. you must have booked on this site. It doesn't work if you booked on a third party site for a show that's running in one of these theatres), then you have 4 options in case you can't or don't want to make it to your originally booked show.
1) Exchange your tickets for the same show, another date by calling the box office on the phone
2) If you call the box office and an exchange is not possible, they might be able to put your tickets up for resale on their site. It is not guaranteed that someone else will buy your tickets, but if they do, you can get your money back. You can't decide the price of your ticket, though, as tickets are always sold at face value. You may be charged a fee of £2 per ticket sold as administration fee by LW Tickets.
3) You might have the option to put up your tickets for resale with Twickets, a resale partner for LW Theatres. You may be charged a fee for this service. Twickets is a legal and ethical ticket resale platform that lets you buy and sell tickets online at the face value.
4) If you anticipate in advance that you might need to cancel your ticket, choose the Booking Protect option at checkout when booking on www.lwtheatres.co.uk. For a small fee, you can buy the option to cancel your ticket for a full refund provided your reason for cancellation is either extreme elements, terrible transport and other extenuating circumstances - for the full list you should consult the terms and conditions of Booking Protect, the provider of this option, at the time of booking. Note that if you finish booking your ticket without opting in for Booking Protect, you cannot add this option later.
Are tickets refundable if I book at a third party ticket site?
Generally, no. As the bee explained earlier, TodayTix for example does not do refunds, only exchanges, and that too only for the same show and same number of seats - you can't decide to watch a different show or spend less than the full value of your original booking.
If you anticipate needing to cancel, then you might want to book at a site that has flexibility options. For example, London Theatre Direct (www.londontheatredirect.com) lets you pay a small additional fee to make your ticket refundable. The amount you pay depends on the value of your ticket, but as an example, the bee tried to book a £48 ticket to Moulin Rouge and was given the option to pay £4 for the refund protection programme. But beware - you don't get a full refund for simply changing your mind about going to the show. You can only get refunds for reasons like traffic delays, illness, adverse weather conditions, strikes, accidents etc. (read the full policy on the London Theatre Direct site's page on booking refund protection).
Ticketmaster (www.ticketmaster.co.uk) is another great place to buy tickets if you think you might need to cancel - they let you put the tickets back up on their platform for resale (at face value + fee), and if you do end up finding a buyer for your tickets, you can get most of your money back. If nobody buys your ticket, however, your tickets are yours again and you can choose to go to the show if you wish.
Can I put up my tickets for resale on a reselling platform like Viagogo or Tixel or Stubhub?
Please be careful because reselling theatre seats on these platforms may or may not be legal. You must check with the original ticket issuer if their terms and conditions allow resale. Theatre Bee is aware that many theatre ticket holders have successfully resold tickets online even when their original ticket issuer frowns upon, or outright prohibits, this kind of resale. The bee does not advocate doing this unless you are completely sure it is legal - check the terms and conditions on your original ticket, and if the resale policy is not clear there, then call up the box office and ask if you can put up your ticket for resale on these platforms legally. Sometimes, the box office might have other options for you that may be preferable to you. If you can't establish that reselling your ticket is legal and still go ahead and do it, you do it at your own risk.
If you're buying tickets with the intent of just reselling them at a higher price for a profit, that's called touting and is usually illegal. If you have a genuine emergency or reason to cancel, your best bet (if your issuer does not allow refunds or exchanges) is to call the box office, explain your circumstances, and they just might be kind enough to exchange or refund your tickets (exchange is more likely than refund).