Whether you are used to theaters or the first time you go there, it is never easy to know how to choose your place. This is all the more the case when you want to book for a musical in London: you also have to deal with the English vocabulary of theaters. Not always obvious! In this article, I will give you some tips for choosing the best seat in the West End theaters.
CHOOSE BETWEEN MORNING AND EVENING SESSIONS
Depending on your schedule, it can be difficult to put on a show during the afternoon. Some people also prefer to see musicals rather in the evening. Yet, it is sometimes worth taking a look at the matinees. The sessions are thus called at the beginning of the afternoon in theaters around 2.30pm on Wednesdays and Saturdays, as opposed to the evening sessions at 7.30pm. Due to this late hour, there are often more free seats for the musicals you want to attend. And therefore, it is more likely that you can book a better seat!
WATCH OUT FOR THEATER ARCHITECTURE
Depending on the time of construction of the theater housing the musical of your choice, and its architectural style, the plans of the auditorium and the orientation of the seats will not be the same. A room like the Prince of Wales Theater ( Book of Mormon ) has a lawn and balcony and side boxes, but Her Majesty’s Theater, which houses The Phantom of the Opera, has a parterre and three balconies! It is therefore imperative to visualize a seating plan to choose the best places.
SMALL DICTIONARY OF THEATRICAL VOCABULARY
- Balcony: The last terrace
- Grand Circle / Upper circle: Second balcony
- Restricted view: Reduced view (because of columns or placement on the seats at the ends of each row, causing blind spots)
- Royal Circle / Circle: First Balcony
- Stage: The stage
- Stalls: Sièges of the orchestra, also called the parterre
In general, a theater will organize in this direction on a plan: Stage, Stalls, Circle, Grand Circle, and Balcony. But again, everything will depend on the construction of the theater. The St. James Theater (Rent) only offers Stalls, with no balconies.
GENERAL ADVICE TO CHOOSE YOUR PLACES
The best places, but also the most expensive, are obviously in the Stalls. You are in the front row, at the same level as the stage, which allows you to see and hear the singers and the orchestra very carefully. The seats corresponding to the orchestra seats, or the stalls – the first block of rows of seats – are generally excellent. On the other hand, behind this first block is the second block of seats. You are still at the state level, but much farther in the room, resulting in a less good overview.
Some people will not like this proximity to an orchestra too strong and prefer the first balcony, the Royal Circle or Circle. Again, these places offer advantages: you are a little elevated, which allows you to have a better overview of the scene and thus the decorations and movements of the singers.
The second balcony (Grand Circle / Upper Circle) takes you even higher up in the room, often in an almost plunging view of the stage. If you are dizzy, it is better to abstain, also if places are cheaper. In the front rows, you will have a good view of the scene as a whole, but of a certain height that you will perhaps see the spotlights of light. When you go back to the bottom of the balcony, the view becomes much worse: it is the “restricted view” seats whose position can prevent you from seeing the whole front of the stage, or the left or right side of it.
In general, you always have to choose the most centered place in the room, because you do not have a blind spot on either side of the stage, which happens by putting yourself at the extremes. Rows. Finally, if you are small or do not have a good view, it is recommended not to be at the very bottom of the balcony or the lawn.
If you have a choice between a seat in the middle or bottom of the first balcony, and the first rows of the second balcony, take the second balcony. Sometimes you will pay less, but you will often have better views than the second balcony: fewer spectators in front of you, and the galleries are set back on top of each other. In the room, a place in the first row of the 2nd balcony is often at the same distance from the stage as a square in the middle of the 1st balcony.
The theater’s reception officers may place you a little closer to the stage than you expect on your tickets if they know that some seats have not been sold.
If despite all you could only get places far away from the stage, you can rent small binoculars theater. In some rooms, they are located on the side of your seats, or the back of the place in front of you.
THE ULTIMATE TRICK
By booking through our site, you will benefit from our exclusive placement algorithm, which offers you the best places even if they are cheaper. This is the best way to make the most of the show!