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Top student theatre ticket offers and discounts across the UK

Are you a theatre-mad fresher looking for a thespy fix? Here's our top tips for not breaking the bank when heading to the theatre

The RSC in Stratford
© RSC, photo by David Tett

Being a student involves being perpetually worried about saving the pennies – discount porridge and cheap takeaway pizzas are pretty much a rite of passage. But how do you satisfy the theatre cravings without breaking the bank? We round up some of the best ticket offers available for students and young people – bear in mind it's always worth checking out your nearest venue to see what's on offer!

You should also bear in mind WhatsOnStage's own Theatre Club – offering a range of offers and events across the year.

1. RSC Key

The RSC really knock it out of the park with their discount scheme – the RSC Key gives anyone aged 16-25 £5 theatre tickets for shows not only in Stratford but also in London, particularly Barbican transfers. And yep, that also includes Matilda in the West End. You can join online.

2. Chichester Festival Theatre Prologue Scheme

Chichester's Prologue scheme offers £5 tickets to young people for all its productions across its summer and winter seasons (which considering the breadth and quality, is a great thing).

3. Donmar Warehouse's Young and Free

The Donmar really go all-out when it comes to bringing new people into the theatre fold, and they've been overhauling their programme in the last year to make sure their schemes are more and more accessible. Every year they make thousands of tickets freely available for under 25s. Offered by ballot, tickets are released on the last Friday of the month for the following month's performances if you sign up for the Young and Free mailing list. There is a Donmar Daily Release every day offering tickets to sold out shows, and £10 standing tickets for all performances.

4. Young Vic

You can also get £10 tickets at the Young Vic if you're under 25 or a full-time student. They also offer "Lucky Dip" seats for a tenner – you book in advance and only find out your seat number once you arrive – you could score some premium seats at a budget price! And the icing on the cake is £5 First Preview Lottery, available for all their productions.

5. Old Vic PWC Tickets

For those well prepared, the Old Vic release £10 tickets for the first five previews of each show five weeks before opening. So keep your eyes on their Twitter feed as the tickets are usually snapped up fast! These are available to those of all ages and from all backgrounds but are a very tasty opportunity to see some star-studded shows before anyone else.

6. Almeida U25s

Another one for the 25-and-unders – you can get £5 ticket to any production in the Almeida's new season, at a selection of performances throughout the run. You need to book online using the 25UNDER code. The venue also has a track record of offering free performances as part of a series of cracking day events. Those claiming Jobseekers Allowance and students can book second-price-band tickets for £25 on Monday to Thursday evenings, plus Wednesday and Saturday matinee performances.

The Almeida
© Philip Vile

7. Royal Court

The Royal Court certainly knows how to offer a discount – they've got them in spades. First look tickets are available for some shows at reduced prices when shows are in the development process, all seats in their two venues are £12 for Monday performances (available on our website from 9am on the day of the show), concessions are offered for previews and matinees AND there are £15 tickets for under 26s for Downstairs productions as part of their Young Court Friends scheme. Phew. OH and if that isn't enough, sometimes there are a number of 10p standing tickets are available for Downstairs productions one hour before the show starts. Well done Royal Court, we think you won discounting.

8. National Theatre Entry Pass

The Entry Pass, available to those aged from 16 to 25, gets you £7.50 tickets to every single show at the National Theatre, plus access to exclusive workshops and discounts at their cafes and bookshops. You can even bring a friend who doesn't have a pass along for £10.

9. Young Barbican

Aged between 14 and 25? Sign up to Young Barbican and get discounted access to theatre, film, art and more. Tickets are priced between £5 and £15, with no booking fees. How kind!

10. Sheffield Live for Five

Another great scheme giving 16 to 26 year-olds £5 tickets for selected performances of Sheffield Theatres productions – a minimum of 40 tickets will be available per production (except otherwise stated). The tickets are available on the first Friday of the month at 5pm.

11. Mousetrap Theatre Projects

Mousetrap is a theatre education charity whose aim is to bring theatre to disadvantaged young people. They have some fantastic schemes for young people – including their club Go Live, which offers discounted tickets for those aged 15 to 24, and Go Live Grads for those aged 25 to 29.

12. Nottingham Playhouse Students

Nottingham is one of the biggest student cities in the UK, so it seems only right that there are dedicated ticketing options for young people! There are a variety of group ticket prices (including £11 tickets for eight students so best to find seven thespily-inclined friends) for productions and discounts on a regular basis. Best to call the box office and see what's available.

13. Birmingham Rep Preview Club

The Birmingham Rep is another venue offering a raft of great ticket offers for students. Their Preview Club offers £5 tickets for preview performances for 16 to 30 year-olds, while their New and Nurtured programme means that, for £21, you can pick tickets for three different shows.

The Birmingham Rep
© Eliott Brown (CC BY 2.0)

14. Manchester Royal Exchange

The lovely Manchester Royal Exchange also offers fabulous prices to under 26s and students. Every weekday and evening you can get a £7 theatre ticket, and they can be booked online or by calling the box office. Advance booking is definitely advised!

15. West End day seats

Tons of West End shows offer a variety of discounts for early birds who queue in the morning or have the right app on their phones – be it Harry Potter's Friday Forty or Hamilton's lottery. Sometimes spontaneity can be rewarded!

16. No Empty Seats at the Yard

The staff at The Yard hate the idea of seats going spare – so they offer any spare seats up at a price of £5 on the day for under-25s. Not a bad deal for one of London's best up-and-coming venues!

17. Edinburgh Capital Theatres

Edinburgh's top theatres (Festival Theatre, King's Theatre and The Studio) have banded together for a "Try it for a Tenner" scheme – offering £10 standby tickets from 12pm on the day for all their shows. Student or Young Scot ID required. Spoilt for choice! They're also looking out for student ambassadors to help support shows.

18. Curve 16-26 Membership

The Curve in Leicester offers a lovely free membership for young people which can mean two discounted tickets per production, priority booking and 20 per cent off at the Stage Door bar and Green Room café. It would make anyone want to be a youngster!

19. Hampstead Under 30s

The Hampstead Theatre has also got a great scheme, offering £10 tickets to under 30s. Again you'll need to be speedy as they go fast!

20. YEP Membership at Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse

Get ready to sign up from September for the Everyman and Playhouse's YEP scheme – available for 16 to 25s and students at Liverpool John Moores University. It offers you £5 tickets to shows at the venue and free access to theatre workshops and pre-show events.

21. Cheap tickets at the Orange Tree

The Orange Tree has been responsible for some great shows, and they also have some great prices – offering £15 tickets to under 30s for all performances – over 150 tickets a week.

22. Kiln Under 26s

For you north Londoners wanting a slice of premium theatre action, the Kiln offers£10 theatre ticket offers, invitations to Q&As and workshops PLUS £5 cinema tickets for standard film screenings for those under 26s. Not too shabby!