How to choose the best seat
Buying theatre tickets in London couldn’t be simpler but to make sure you get the right seat for you, we have compiled a few tips.
- Theatre Seats are usually compiled of the following;
- STALL SEATS – these are known as Orchestra seats or Orchestra Stalls in the US and are the seats on the ground level. The seats at the front of the stalls are often seen as the best seats in the house, however if yours are in the front few rows you can find yourself looking upwards at the stage, which can cause discomfort during long performances. Equally the last few rows will be under the floor above.
- DRESS CIRCLE/ROYAL CIRCLE- these seats are are on the first floor of the theatre. The front few rows in the centre will be premium seats and often provide the best views in the theatre. The upper floors are sloped so the seat in front of you will be slight lower, which can help with views.
- UPPER CIRCLE - in large theatres there is a third floor. These are similar to the Dress Circle seats but are a cheaper option.
- BALCONY SEATS/ GALLERY SEATS - often referred to as the nose bleeds or the Gods and widely dismissed as awful seats but it very much depends on the theatre. In some of the largest theatres these seats are exactly that, very high up, cheap and restricted, but in others it is just the highest seats in the house. Often a bargain and an experience in itself, balcony seats can be a great option for a cheaper night out at the theatre.
- BOXES - some theatres have small private rooms on the side of the theatres that they sell to groups, but expect to pay a premium.
These seats are then broken up into categories 1-5 depending on the quality of the seats, for instance distance from the stage, how central the seats are and any restrictions.
2. Restricted View Tickets
All theatres have what is known as restricted view tickets. This is a vague description and can range from anything from having a handrail in front of your seat, not being able to see all of the set or in the worst instance having a pillar in your view. All theatres and agents are obliged to tell you before purchase and all tickets will have “restricted view” printed on them. Most restricted seats are fine for the money they cost, with some being a bargain if the restriction is minimal, but check the plan.These are often sold by touts at full price so make sure you ask.
*example of a theatre seating plan and restriction warning.