I thought I’d do a bit of a round up of 5 frequently asked questions about theatre breaks and see if I could find you some good answers. This is a follow-up to a series of posts I did a couple of years ago so have a look here too: Theatre Breaks FAQ.
If there is anything I’ve not covered do leave a comment & I’ll try to find out for you.
1. What is the difference between the Stalls and the Dress Circle?
Stalls is short for Orchestra Stalls and is the ‘ground floor’ of the theatre. Some of the best views of performances are from the middle of the stalls. You want to be far enough back to not strain your neck but near enough to see all the action. Seats to the sides of the stalls will sometimes not have quite such a good view but are still probably better than anything in the balcony. I always like to try to get the middle of the middle row of the stalls, if I can.
Dress Circle is the next floor above the Stalls. Good views from here usually. The Dress or Upper Circle is the next one up and has good views, it might feel a bit less intimate than the stalls but you will see everything. The Upper Circle is sometimes called the ‘Grand’ or ‘Royal’ at some theatres.
The Balcony is the circle above the Upper Circle and is the cheapest in the theatre. You might need opera glasses if you are up here!
2. Can I book tickets for a Sunday or on Bank Holidays?
Nearly all West End theatres are only open Monday to Saturdays. A few now offer Sunday shows but they are the exception. Most theatres only close on Christmas Day. Don’t forget you can sometimes get theatre break packages which include a matinee performance.
3. Are Matinee Performances as Good as Evening Ones?
Surprisingly enough, yes, especially mid-week matinees! It really can be quite magical to disappear into a theatre on a rainy London afternoon and be transported somewhere totally different for a few hours. Mamma Mia is particularly good for this!
4. When Should I Arrive at the Theatre?
Try to get to the theatre foyer for about 30 minutes before your show. This will give you chance to pick up your tickets if you need to, order interval drinks, find your seats etc. without a panic. If you are really late you might find yourself not being allowed in until the interval, (which is a real pain!)so give yourself plenty of time to get there.
5. The show I want to see is sold out, is there any way to get a ticket?
If you are having trouble getting the show you want for the dates you have available then it is worth remembering that some nights are busier than others. Saturdays are often the most popular so if you can manage a mid-week show, particularly Monday or Tuesday then you might do better. Agencies that offer theatre breaks packages often have block bookings for the newest, hotest shows. You book your tickets, hotel and maybe travel as an inclusive package and you get to see shows that appear to be sold out, even for Fridays and Saturdays Have a look at our TBM Readers Offers if you are looking for anything in particular or just browsing.