• Fri. Feb 23rd, 2024

A Guide to Theatre on a Budget

ByPauline Thormann

Nov 3, 2022

We are students, we are in a cost-of-living crisis, our budgets are tighter than ever before, and we still want to enhance our cultural views or at least feed our special interests in it. But how is it possible to indulge our desire for theatre when our living budget is too tight to even feed ourselves? As a new student in Edinburgh, I went on a search to find the best ways to visit the theatre on a budget.

1. Try it for a Tenner

Especially if you are unsure if an acclaimed performance is worth the money, it is nice to not spend a small fortune on tickets. The “Try it for a Tenner” Tickets are an innovation by the three Capital Theatres. The Festival Theatre, King’s Theatre, and The Studio have £10 standby tickets if you have an eligible YoungScot card and show up at the box office in person the day of the performance from 12 pm on. So, if you thought that the YoungScot card is only useful for buses, think again; it can also get you into the theatre for much less.

Still, remember that sadly not all performances have discounted tickets, and check the Capital Theatres website for further details.

2. Still studying and under 25?

Capital Theatres are not the only ones with a discount scheme; The Traverse has a scheme that is even better. If you’re young, a student, unemployed, have disabilities, or you are receiving low-income benefits, you are eligible for limited £1 tickets at The Traverse. You simply need to register for an account on The Traverse website and then you are all set up and able to browse for these tickets.

3. Pay What You Can

Sometimes the thought is what counts, or even the small amount of money you have. The Lyceum is offering “Pay-What-You-Can” dates for certain performances, where you are able to simply pay what you can. Most theatres do this to widen the diversity of their audiences, and no matter the amount, a donation will help. And as most of us are interested in the art of the theatre, no one needs to be reminded that a certain amount of money needs to be used for theatres to survive.

4. Previews and Queuing are our best friends

Ever heard of free previews? As I am from Germany, I had never heard of this concept and was equally surprised to find out it exists. A lot of theatres offer free or cheaper tickets for their previews. These previews are played during the first few days of performances and the show is not open to the press. Most preview tickets are handed out on the day/night of the performance, and it mostly means that the queues are going to be very long — the efforts we take for further cultural education.

5. Free Fringe in Edinburgh

If you can stand to stay in Edinburgh during Fringe Season, you’re not only incredibly strong-willed, but also only a few steps away from some amazing opportunities for free performances. Free Fringe is the budgeted version of the traditional Fringe and takes place during the same time. There’s no need to buy tickets (not even free space-holder tickets) and you are allowed to simply show up and enjoy the shows. You only need to comb through the website and find your favourites.

Image ‘Factory Theatre‘ by kaykayberrie is licensed by CC BY 2.0