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FAQ's
About London theatre in general

For "Frequently Asked Questions" about theatremonkey website, click here.
For "Frequently Asked Questions" about theatremonkey mailing list, click here.
 

Tickets:
Questions about tickets purchased:
Theatremonkey website gives pointers towards reliable companies, but it does not operate them and thus can't answer questions about specific transactions readers make with them - either by telephone or online via links mentioned on the site.

You will always need to talk to the company from whom you bought your seats originally. If you bought them from the theatre or the box office telephone line, call them, online - email them at the address given on their websites. If you purchased them from any agency mentioned on this site either online or by phone or in person, you will need to talk to that agency directly, again by telephone or email as appropriate. 

For tickets purchased from the "Theatremonkey Ticketshop" ONLY: Questions can be dealt with by the shop's owner, "LoveTheatre". They may be contacted Monday to Friday 10am until 8pm (Saturday 10am to 6pm) on 020 7420 9778 (0044 207 420 9778 if calling from outside the United Kingdom). (quote "theatremonkey ticketshop" when calling), or by email at tix@lovetheatre.com

 

 

Collecting Tickets at the Box Office:
When you can collect tickets ordered online or by telephone but not mailed to you will depend on where you bought your tickets from. If you bought them through the actual box office's website, then normally you can collect your tickets any time you like when you are passing (except in the hour before any performance you are not attending, when they are busy with other customers). Just give them your booking reference number (bringing along a copy of the confirmation print out helps) and produce the actual card you used to make the booking, and you’ll be fine. If the card is going to expire before you see the show, hang on to it – particularly if the number will change.

If you bought your tickets through any ticket agency rather than the box office, then you do have to collect your ticket in the hour before the show. This is because the agents don’t deliver the tickets to the theatre before then. Lines move pretty quickly, and anyway the show doesn’t begin until the house manager has checked that the box office and all other front of house areas are happy. So, if there was a very long line at the box office, the curtain would be held until it had cleared. Relax, it'll be fine...

 

How do I find out about ticket availability?
Unlike Broadway, London is secretive and does not reveal anything publicly about how well a show is doing.

If the monkey could post such information, it would, but since it is a regular theatregoing member of the public it is not privy to box office information. 

The best way to find out about availability is to call the box office direct and ask. Mention specific seat numbers and see if they can offer them to you. Even ask directly if seats go to Leicester Square TKTS to be sold at half price. They will often tell you.

Leicester Square TKTS booth posts its own day's ticket availability online. Go to www.tkts.co.uk, and look for the "What's On Sale" option in the top menu. 

Overseas visitors might also try using the online ticket agency systems to see what they are offered. The monkey notes, however that on occasion these systems only offer poor quality tickets. An international phonecall can prove a good investment.

 

What is the difference between "preview" performances and "normal" performances?
Previews are the performances before the official opening night, when the press arrive to review the show.

Previews are a chance for the cast and technical team to see how the show works in front of a live audience for the first time after weeks of rehearsal. For a brand new production it is also a time when songs, dances or scenes may be added or cut depending on audience reaction and production team instincts. For revivals of productions there is of course usually no need to add to or cut the text, but things like where people stand on stage or how the set / lighting works could change a little to make the revival the best it can be before the press write about it. For all shows, whether new or revival, it is also a time for the actors to find out how audiences will react to the lines they deliver - and adjust their timing to the expected laughs / silences / movements of scenery etc.

As a general rule, the bigger the show, the more likely the earliest previews are to be cancelled as the scenery breaks down or the show isn't quite ready to be seen in public! You'll get a refund or chance to change your ticket to another performance (if seats are available), but it may prove inconvenient to you of course. As the official opening night date gets closer the show is "frozen" - no more changes are allowed so that everybody can finally settle into the routine that the show will have for the opening night and beyond. Audiences at these later previews will see the finished show, and these performances are often the time that invited industry professionals see it.
 

 

I don't have a credit card to make a booking?
This is a real problem now that most bookings are done by telephone or online quoting a number.

For U.K. based people, the theatre will accept a written booking with a cheque or postal order. Sadly, many agencies do not allow you to do this and will not hold theatre tickets while they wait for your money. If they will not hold an option, then you are best off writing to the theatre itself and stating the seats and date you will be willing to accept.

For payment you could also send cash in banknote form. The theatres do not like getting cash in the mail, and the post office discourage it, but if it is not detectable to thieves then you could consider it.

Overseas visitors face similar problems, without the luxury of postal orders. For them the monkey suggests either an international money order or sending English ponds sterling banknotes. 

Overseas visitors could also try local ticket agencies who will often be linked to an international company e.g. Ticketmaster. These will let you buy in your own currency, over the counter. They may even have tickets when London is sold out! The downside is that they do charge a higher commission fee than usual. Considering the cost of exchanging money though, you may still find it a reasonable option.

 

Do London Theatres take the "Euro" currency?
No, not at the moment. The monkey will monitor the situation as it changes.

At the moment, only the TKTS Official Half Price Ticket Booth in Leicester Square takes Euros. The only other way to buy other tickets in Euros is to use a ticket agency in a Euro using country before you arrive in London. 

 

What are "Day Seats" and what does "Personal Callers at the Box Office" mean?
"Day Seats" are tickets, often the front row of the stalls, kept for sale direct from the theatre box office counter on the day of performance to those who visit the theatre personally to buy them. Where shows offer them, "Day Seats" can't be reserved in advance by telephone. Those seeking them should go direct to the theatre box office counter on the day of the show. Unlike Broadway's "Rush" seats there is no ballot system. The tickets go on sale when the box office opens (usually at 10am) on a "first in line gets the most central seat" basis, and when they are gone, they are gone. For this reason, the line can form much earlier on popular shows at busy performances. Tickets may be limited to 1 or 2 per person, and take both credit cards and cash, as the box office may require one or the other. To beat the touts / scalpers, you may be asked to pay by credit card at the time, be given a receipt, then have to call back and exchange the receipt for actual tickets just before the show, by producing the same credit card used earlier.

 

I'm larger than average, can you help on locating suitable seats?
A page of advice is available by clicking here.

 

Where can I find more information about captioned performances?
STAGETEXT are the people who know: http://www.stagetext.org/performance/ 

 

Where can I find more information about audio-described performances?www.vocaleyes.co.uk  The website of the audio description service available for some shows.


Where can I find more information that would help a disabled audience member generally?www.artsline.org.uk offers Disabled Theatre visitor information researched from recent site visits, and also offers access information on other London tourist attractions too.

The Society of London Theatre website www.officiallondontheatre.co.uk also has a comprehensive listing, together with an opportunity to download the "Access Guide to London's Theatres" book in PDF format.

 

 

Dress:

For London Theatres

There is NO formal dress code in any London Theatre.

Once when this monkeys' uncle was a monkeys' great-grandson, the term Dress Circle meant just that - full Evening Dress for all seated there, or else. Now dress is almost always informal - think "what would I wear to dine in a favourite local restaurant" - and there you will have the maximum folk usually rise to when attending the theatre.

Theatremonkeys can get away with jeans, sweatshirts and trainers at all performances except first nights and the first Saturday evening of a new show when a sober lounge suit should get an airing. Comfort is first on the list. In general, suits, jackets, slacks or casual wear are acceptable for men at almost all times - casual especially during the afternoons. Suits really are only compulsory at openings, but are frequently seen on weekend evenings.

Monkeyesses as usual have a sartorial minefield to negotiate. Dress for comfort and to embarrass any hairy companion to look good for you. As for theatremonkeys, casual is fine at most performances, dresses, slacks, jeans and sweatshirts all acceptable. First nights require a smart but comfortable evening attire, not elaborate unless you are a celebrity though! Weekend evenings too can be a bit dressier than a weekday.

On a Saturday evening, denim is not really appropriate for either gender if one is sitting in the Stalls or Dress Circle. The monkey does not know why, but finds it to be so, based on observation!

One tip though, if sitting anywhere but the Stalls, monkeyesses should consider skirt length carefully. Your knees will often be at head height to the person in front. A monkeyesse of the theatremonkey site's acquaintance wore a microskirt and spent the performance in mortal terror of offering a view to the gentleman in front which he hadn't reckoned on. This is passed on purely for information. But Theatremonkey thinks it is worth knowing.

In general London nights are cool, even in summer. It is worth remembering a warm garment if you have a long journey home after the evening performance as temperatures will have plummeted while you enjoyed the show. This tip also beats an over enthusiastic air conditioning system too.

But what about Pop Concerts?
For pop concerts, dress is almost always casual - plenty of denim in evidence at Wembley and Earls Court. You may want to wear thin layers as it can get fairly hot in these places.

The Royal Albert Hall?
The Royal Albert Hall always indicates on tickets if the event requires more formal attire. Otherwise, for pop concerts aimed at younger audiences the dress is often denim and other casual wear. 

For the classic pop groups and singers which attract an older audience, and events like popular classical concerts and popular opera, dress is smart / casual. Denim is rarer unless in the "cheaper seats" of the venue, and the thinking is dress as for a casual "evening out at the local restaurant" - i.e. a little smarter but not "ambassador's luncheon" formal. A comfortable equivalent of your everyday office attire is the level.

Other Classical Music Concerts and venues?
For most classical concerts, dress is almost always the same as for theatres - comfort as much as elegance. A recital by a famous musician will merit the "evening out at the local restaurant" again, and the Wigmore Hall tends not to see much denim, but that's as far as it goes.

 

 

Contacting casts:

Postal addresses for West End performers are online in a searchable database at www.spotlightcd.com. Visiting film star addresses are found in the database at www.imdb.com

Actors currently performing can be reached by addressing letters "c/o Stage Door" at the theatre addresses the monkey lists for each show.

 

 

I want to be in Showbiz:

Remember: when looking for a job, do not agree to meetings in private homes / hotel rooms - stick to offices and public places. Also, do not hand over money for anyone to find you work unless you are CERTAIN you will get some benefit from it. A legitimate company normally makes money by placing you in a job and being paid by your employer....

Actors
In the UK, good drama training is hard to find. Websites www.drama.ac.uk and www.ncdt.co.uk offer information on the options available. Actors' newspaper "The Stage" has information at www.thestage.co.uk/connect/.Another informative article about the training process in the UK is available by clicking here. The book "An Actor's Guide to Getting Work" by Simon Dunmore, publisher A&C Black, may also help.

Another book suggestion is "So You Want to Tread The Boards" - The 'everything-you-need-to-know insider’s guide to a career in the Performing Arts' by Jennifer Reischel. A J.R. Books Ltd paperback ISBN. 978-1-906217-02-0, it is available from Amazon.co.uk priced £16.99, this guide deals with all those questions that are seemingly impossible to find answers to, and provides an authentic first-hand account of the pitfalls and difficulties encountered in the pursuit of a career in the performing arts. Outstanding reading, the monkey recommends it highly.

 

Behind the scenes
www.abtt.org.uk
has an incredible list of the skills needed to get the "show on the road" each day, and is a good place to start your hunt. An article that theatremonkey wrote on the subject is available by clicking here. www.stagework.org is another site with information too.

Work experience
Start with your local theatres and remember that if you are under 16 and need to work at night, you have to be chaperoned (not usually possible for venues to arrange). 

Not many theatres offer this facility, so it can be VERY difficult indeed - and only the most persistent and flexible might succeed. The most popular producers and venues get around fifty applications a day! Lists of theatres and producers are published in the annual "British Theatre Directory" (Richmond House Press) expensive, but many libraries do have it in stock; or "Contacts" (spotlight.com) much cheaper and updated annually - the full title includes the year e.g the book will be called "Contacts 2007" for the year 2007 etc.  Addresses are also on company websites, so hunt around on the web.

Think laterally too and apply to local TV and radio offices, as well as suppliers to the industry - costumiers, ticket agencies etc as you may be luckier there.

When writing, a simple single (or at most two page) CV / Resume is enough, with a covering letter explaining what you are looking for and what you can offer the company. Including a stamped, self addressed envelope for a reply is good manners, and will more likely ensure a response to your application.

An article that theatremonkey wrote on the subject of working in theatre is available by clicking here.

Please note that theatremonkey website cannot accept any work experience people at any time, as it is too small.

 

 

How do I get a donation for a charity event / can you donate anything?
The monkey is increasingly asked this question, and regrets that theatremonkey.com itself doesn't have access to anything - either tickets or souvenirs - that would help.

Obtaining items from theatres is sadly difficult simply to the demand. Most shows now have a particular charity that they support and limit free tickets / goods to that exclusively. The same is true of many production companies - simply because there is no way any of them could give away anything to everyone who asks, without going out of business themselves! One major chain of theatres, for example, limits itself to just two tickets per month - and those are mostly to charities with whom it has historic links.

The only way to seek donations, alas, is to just keep writing. The books "Contacts" and "The Original British Theatre Directory" (both add the current year in the title if you are searching online) list addresses of all major production companies, venues and marketing organisations, and approaching them is the only way.

Should any theatrical organisation have items it IS willing to donate, the monkey would be happy to put it in contact with deserving causes, of course...
 

 

Tourist queries:

What else is there to do in London?
Plenty. The monkey lists a few well known sites here, with a link to others that may help you!

Is London Safe For Visitors?
The monkey lives here and feels secure at all times.  Life goes on at all times in this city - so visit London and see a show!

Can you recommend anywhere to eat in London?
No, but the monkey knows a site that can! www.london-eating.co.uk is rather like the monkey in that it is a "public driven" guide, allowing ordinary diners to report on restaurants in their own words. The monkey does not dine out often (the reason it can never advise on places to eat), but has found this site invaluable as a reference and heard much positive feedback about it from other users too.

Do also note that "Meal Deals" combining restaurant dining with a theatre ticket are often available too. The monkey sometimes lists a few on the "Current Special Offers" page, and sites like www.whatsonstage.com and Encore Tickets often feature great deals too.

 

Beyond London:
Is there a New York and Broadway version of this site?
Not by theatremonkey, no, but some sites exist that offer much of the same type of information.

www.theatremania.com offers some comments about seating, highlighting the best seats by price. http://www.talkinbroadway.com/eopinions/browse.php?cat_id=3 offers a public forum to post opinions of seats they have had www.nytheatre.com is a near equivalent, offering listings, general seating plans and a little advice on disabled access and air-conditioning etc. Sadly, the few comments about seating have disappeared from their site. For simple listings and disabled access advice, www.livebroadway.com and www.ilovenytheater.com are also helpful.

www.broadwaybox.com like theatremonkey's "current special offers" page, lists local discount offers to Broadway shows and how to obtain them. http://home.roadrunner.com/~frugaltheatergoe/ is an excellent summary of what must surely be almost all possible discount sources and sites about shows on Broadway. www.tdf.org lists the shows likely to be available at Broadway's TKTS Half-Price Ticket Booth for the week. www.bcefa.org and www.actorsfund.org offer donated tickets to sold out shows at high prices, with the funds going to charity.

The book, "The Back Stage Guide To Broadway" by Robert Viagas  (Back Stage Books) published in October 2004 is also worth a look. Available at www.dresscircle.com online in the U.K. It contains many useful tips and hints, plus a VERY brief guide to best / worst seats in theatres (sounds familiar!). For seating plans, "Seats - 150 seating plans to New York Metro Area Theatres, Concert Halls and Sports Stadiums" by Jodé Susan Millman (Applause Books) may prove helpful. Amazon.com stock this one.

Deadly sharp re-written versions of shows are available at: www.broadwayabridged.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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