Entertainment

How to get the best deals on panto tickets this Christmas

Seeing a live theatre show can be a magical experience – and whether you’re an audience regular or you only go once a year to a Christmas panto, there are ways to reduce the costs.

Here are some tips from Jim Dixon, manager at theatre seat guide website SeatPlan, for finding pantomime discounts and using seating hacks…

1. Time it well

“If you would like more seat choice, then you should book your festive panto as far in advance as possible, as this allows you to have the best choice of seats across all price bands,” says Dixon.

“If you are willing to take a risk, then you could wait for same-day tickets. It must be noted, however, that there is no guarantee tickets will still be available, as many pantomimes, especially ones starring famous faces, do tend to sell out,” he adds. “Booking same-day tickets can be done via the venue’s websites or by visiting the venue on the day you’d like to attend.

Theatres are gearing up for panto season (Andrew Milligan/PA Archive)

“You should also consider the performance date and time you opt for,” Dixon advises. “School holidays and weekends are considered peak times, which typically boast more expensive seats, but try not to let this put you off. The price difference between nearby seats can be huge, so it’s worth looking at different seats and comparing the prices.”

2. Pick seats near those considered the ‘best’

The best seats are often considered to be those close to the front row. Dixon says: “This is perfect for those who love audience participation and feel as though they are really part of the show, however, these seats typically come with a premium.

“Instead, look for seats nearby and consider the value for money of the tickets. There are numerous seats that offer decent views of the stage and allow audience members to feel part of the fun, for a fraction of the price.”

Seats that are advertised as having a restricted view of the stage can also often be far cheaper, he says. For example, SeatPlan carries reviews of some restricted-view seats, which may help people weighing up whether or not they would be happy with one.

3. Look for extra discounts

If you’re catching up with family and friends for a panto trip, it could pay to find out about any group discounts.

“For particularly busy shows, especially pantomimes, you may either not be able to choose your specific seats, or you may have some of your group separated,” says Dixon. “However, most venues will try and accommodate where possible.”

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As well as family tickets, some other discounts for children, depending on how young they are, may also be available. “Some pantomime performances allow ‘lap seats’, where a child up to 18 months can sit on an adult’s lap for free,” adds Dixon. He says these still need to be booked in advance, and some venues may charge a small amount for this.

Grandparents taking children to the panto may also be able to save on ticket discounts for over-65s. Dixon says it’s worth asking about pensioner discounts when booking, as they’re not always advertised.

4. Look out for other deals tailored to people’s circumstances

Dixon says venues may offer a discounted or even free tickets for those who are accompanying a disabled person, as well as discounts for people with disabilities. Discounts for key workers may also be available.

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