Surviving on a student budget can be difficult when there’s so much you need to spend money on: rent, food, textbooks, never mind that social life you came here to find. Being a bit of a theatre addict, I was worried that I’d miss out on my theatre fix while at uni but I’ve found there are ways to see some of the brilliant shows here in Cardiff even when your bank balance is looking a little low. Here are my handy tips! 

Off-Peak times

A lot of touring shows visit Cardiff, often stopping off at the New Theatre or Millennium Centre, but these big-name shows usually come with a big price tag. My first tip would be to check the ticket prices for each performance, as you’ll often find you can get a cheaper ticket by seeing the show on one of the less popular dates or times. I recently went to see the Rocky Horror Show at the New Theatre on a Monday night and the ticket was almost half the price it would have been had I seen the show on a Friday or Saturday. It sometimes applies to matinee performances too so take advantage of having that student schedule to get yourself a better deal. 

student discounts

While this might seem like an obvious one, many productions try to get more young people in by offering discounted tickets so it’s always worth checking before you pay full price. A notable example here in Cardiff would be the Sherman Theatre, situated next door to the Cardiff University Students Union making it really accessible for most students. The Sherman puts on a really wide range of shows from serious new dramas to comedy and music nights, and the best thing? Almost all their productions offer half-price tickets for under 25s so be sure to check out their website if you want to catch a bit of culture. 

see something amateur

As a student you have to accept that you won’t be able to see a West End show every month but that doesn’t mean you can’t see a brilliant show. There are countless amateur theatre companies in Cardiff, with multiple drama and comedy societies based at Cardiff University alone. What’s great is that tickets are usually very affordable in order to make their productions accessible to all (the last two amateur shows I saw in Cardiff cost me less than £15 combined) but you’re still in for a really entertaining night at the theatre. A couple of companies you might want to check out are The Unknown Theatre Company, Orbit Theatre or for a full list of amateur companies across Wales click here!

choose your seats carefully

You may think that the closer to the stage you sit, the better the view you’ll have, but this isn’t necessarily true. Just because these seats cost more, it doesn’t always mean they’re the best. A good way to save a few pounds is by sitting further back, as tickets in the Grand Circle (or equivalent) are much cheaper than the stalls. While you may not see every tiny detail or facial expression, you can see the whole stage from your seat and you still experience the overall atmosphere of the show. Equally, don’t rule out seats that say restricted view. Often this just means leaning forward slightly to look over a safety rail or a small portion of the stage may be cropped from your view but you still get to see the show and the tickets may be significantly cheaper. 

theatre vouchers

This isn’t so much a tip, but if you’re serious about seeing theatre then why not ask for theatre tokens as a birthday or Christmas present? They are redeemable in theatres up and down the country, as well as in the West End, and I think they’re a brilliant gift as you can see any show you like and they don’t expire, so you can even save them up for as long as you like. 

Good luck!

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Written by Olivia Bolas, 11 months ago
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