Theatre Ticket Lotteries | How to win the best theatre seats for bargain prices

One of the easiest ways to get the best seats for cheap are theatre lotteries. Theatre Bee has never paid full price for any play or musical that runs a theatre lottery.


This post answers all your questions about digital theatre ticket lotteries in London

  1. What is a theatre ticket lottery?

  2. Are theatre ticket lotteries hard to win?

  3. Where can I find these theatre ticket lotteries?

  4. Where can I find theatre ticket lotteries?

  5. Consolation for those who enter the theatre ticket lottery every day and never win

 

What is a theatre ticket lottery?


It is a digital lottery run by a few shows - both plays and musicals - in London to give out great seats at discounted prices to a few lucky winners. Most West End ticket lotteries are free to enter and if you win, they let you buy tickets for a fraction of their face value. You wind up paying just as much as you would for a bad seat (like an upper circle corner seat with restricted view), except that you get to watch in style from the stalls!



iPhone screenshot of email from TodayTix stating that Theatre Bee won the ticket lottery for Cabaret
iPhone screenshot of email from TodayTix stating that Theatre Bee won the ticket lottery for Cabaret

You can potentially win the chance to buy the best seat in the theatre for a bargain price, which might sometimes work out cheaper than even the cheapest priced ticket in the house. Really, it works, the bee speaks from experience - just look at the screenshots peppered about this page!

 

Are theatre ticket lotteries hard to win?

Lotteries must be hard to win, right? Wrong! London theatre lotteries are nothing like the regular lotteries (the jackpot lotteries that promise one in a billion people a million pounds, i.e. the type that you are less likely to win than to get struck by lightning or die in a cataclysmic hurricane). Theatre Bee hates to pay full price for any play or musical that runs a theatre lottery.



iPhone screenshot of email from ALW group stating that Theatre Bee won the ticket lottery for Cinderella the musical
iPhone screenshot of email from ALW group stating that Theatre Bee won the ticket lottery for Cinderella the musical

A theatre ticket lottery is really not that hard to win. The Bee was able to get one of the best stalls seats (worth at least £100) to Andrew Lloyd Webber's Cinderella for £25. And second-row-from-the-stage stalls seats to Harry Potter and the Cursed Child for £20. Buying these seats the usual way would have cost at least £120-150 per person per part. That is at least £400 for two people to watch both Part 1 and Part 2, while the Bee and a companion bee got the whole deal for just £80. What's more, both of these tickets were won in the bee's first attempt t the lottery.

The bee's most remarkable win to date is the Cabaret lottery at the Playhouse Theatre. The bee won two Cabaret seats worth £150 each for just £25 (that's fifty quid for a table with 2 seats). Granted, the Cabaret lottery was not that easy to win and the bee tried every day for nearly six months before it had its lucky day.


But the bee still won tickets to Cinderella and Harry Potter on its first attempt - really, no kidding. The bee may have been incredibly lucky with one, but more than one win suggests that these lotteries are really not that hard to win, and with a little patience, you too can have your lucky day.



iPhone screenshot of email from TodayTix stating that Theatre Bee won the ticket lottery for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
iPhone screenshot of email from TodayTix stating that Theatre Bee won the ticket lottery for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

 

Wow! Where can I find theatre ticket lotteries?


You can find lotteries either on the show's official website (for example, Moulin Rouge, Matilda) or on the TodayTix app (for example, Cabaret, Hamilton). TodayTix lotteries are popular and quite hard to win. Although the bee did win Friday Forty tickets to the Harry Potter shows on first attempt, the bee still thinks such a thing is an exception rather than the norm, because it took the bee months to win the Cabaret lottery once, and the bee has entered the Hamilton lotteries every draw for months now and never won. Make of that what you will.

Official website lotteries are easier to win because, well, they are harder to find and not many people know about them. The Bee believes the theatre makes them hard to find on purpose. Don't believe me? Head over to the Moulin Rouge official website and see if you can find the lottery there. Takes a while to find the lottery page, doesn't it? Don't worry, the Bee has you covered with the links to all such lotteries (to the best of the Bee's knowledge).


Official site lotteries

  • Moulin Rouge - official site lottery page

  • Matilda - official site lottery page

  • Phantom of the Opera - official site day-seat page

Also download the TodayTix app to enter the lotteries free of charge for

  • Hamilton - lets you buy £10 pp tickets for 2 if you win

  • Cabaret - lets you buy £25 pp tickets for 2 if you win

  • Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - lets you buy 2 seats x 2 parts at £20 per part per seat = £80 for 2

Any other lotteries? Any other tips for cheap tickets?


Why, yes. Watching a National Theatre production? Never spend more than £10. Every Friday, 1 pm London time, go to the rush landing page of the National Theatre (and bookmark the page), and you can find rush tickets for ten quid for shows in the coming one week. Yes, ten pounds, no fees, no hidden charges, nothing. You can get even stalls seats for this price if you are on the page at exactly 1 pm.

What! £10 tickets for National Theatre? They must be hard to get!


No, the Bee has almost always been successful whenever it has tried. Just follow these tips and you'll be fine:

  1. Be on the page at exactly 1 pm.

  2. Watch the page like a hawk for your turn (your place in the queue can jump from 102 to 67 to 3 in under a minute).

  3. When you get your turn, be quick to select your play, your seats and your show time (the longer you spend browsing, the less likely you are to land the best seats), and click through to checkout as fast as you can.

  4. If you do not see any £10 rush seats, do not linger there; they probably sold out while you were making up your mind! Quickly go back to the listing page and find a different date and time that still has rush seats available.

  5. Get your National Theatre tickets for 10 and bask in the glory of your savings! And maybe write to the Bee sharing your experience? It just might help the Bee help out others.​

 

​I enter the theatre ticket lottery every day and I never win.


The bee is so sorry to hear that. Consider making yourself and others laugh about your losing streak with some cute merchandise from Theatre Bee? How about a coffee mug or a t-shirt or a tote bag that says "I lost the Cabaret lottery 289 times and counting"? Check out Theatre Bee's exclusive line of theatre-themed gifts, lovingly made for you, theatre-lover. Check out the Theatre Bee Store here.

A white mug with text that reads 'I lost the Cabaret lottery 289 times and counting'
'I lost the Cabaret lottery again' mug from the Theatre Bee Store

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