Archives for posts with tag: Tickets

Again, in advance of Thursday’s promised blog post, I am having to write a ‘bonus blog’ due to my day’s inspiring activities. It also feels like the perfect follow up of last weeks ‘ticket tips’ post as today I was part of the longest ticket queue I’ve yet to encounter (9 1/2 hours)!

In case you missed the memo: Today at 4.30pm a hundred tickets were released to the opening night/press night of Miss Saigon on the 21st May 2014. You also got a free poster (long may the hoarding continue).

Waking up at 5.30am this morning (apologies in advance if my grammar/general understanding of basic English is questionable in this, I am rather tired) I seriously questioned my stage related sanity but still soldiered on. We were (my queue partner Sinead and I) the first people to arrive at the Prince Edward Theatre. This seriously shocked me, where were all the Saigon fans!?* However, knowing we were guaranteed tickets we went and treated ourselves to breakfast whilst keeping an eye on the theatre front. Then, when we were well fed, we felt happy joining the queue in 4th & 5th position respectively, and set up camp for the next 8 hours.

*Apparently they were all waiting to book tickets at home like sane people! At 5.55pm Miss Saigon had broken West End and Broadway box office records for ticket sales in a single day by making £4,402,371 since opening the lines at 10am. Wow.

Here are my top tips for an enjoyable queue experience:

  • Most importantly for comfort: wear multiple pairs of socks. I’m being deadly serious. Even with two pairs of socks my toes were numb within the first half hour.
  • If it’s likely to rain, and you won’t be under the cover of the theatre, make sure you have an umbrella!
  • Take something to sit on. I had seat cushions and the lovely lady in front of us had a camping chair!
  • Don’t be shy to chat to the people in front and behind you – they’ll be your “I’m not jumping the queue!” ambassadors when you go to get food and they provide top notch entertainment. Time can fly by if you’re having fun. After all, you’ll be seeing them again in the theatre!
  • Download the app ‘Heads Up‘ (for 69p) – this is just for general life and queue fun. You’ll need to buy (a further 69p) the ‘Broadway Baby’ deck for particularly popular ticket queue entertainment but it’s totally worth it. Trust me.
  • I would normally suggest taking a flask of hot coffee/tea/chocolate but a massive shout out has to go to the staff at the Prince Edward Theatre, especially our queue controller Mikey, who provided us with free tea and coffee!

I hope they are helpful, if a bit brief! Let me know if you have any other gems.

Now, having been told all day that our tickets would be in the Grand Circle (so at £20, only a small ticket price and reservation fee saving) we had been sold on the fact the tickets were for the opening/press night. When I went to purchase my ticket the box office man said “So I’ve got you two tickets in the front row…” and I had to seriously suppress my urge to jump up and down whilst screaming with happiness. The cameraman next to me got, what I can only imagine to be, a hugely embarrassing reaction shot. I seriously hope it doesn’t find it’s way onto the internet. In that moment, however, I did not care – I was going to be sitting in the front row. Suddenly, all my 5.30am induced fears of insanity washed away and I felt completely justified in my dedication to queuing. Just yesterday I had texted Sinead saying: “There will always be someone who got on the first train and will get there before you” and in that moment I decided I would BE that person. It paid off (only the first 5 people – as you can buy 2 per person – got front row seats).

So the moral of this bonus blog post is: the next time an opportunity like this comes around, you (yes you) should be that first person. Try and beat me to the front of that queue – I dare you. Happy queuing!

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Left to right: Danny, Sinead, Me and Grace.

“To Miss Saigon! …. Miss Saigon!”

– Rebecca Ridout

Now, I have to just quickly get across that the lyrical title of this blog entry is not a reflection of my musical tastes. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good Disney film (in fact I have the entire ‘Disney Classics’ collection on VHS in a special box at home) but despite these two facts I am not a Disney fangirl! It just so happened that Alan Menken chose very appropriate lyrics to suit the content of this particular blog post. There, now thats out in the open, let’s begin.

I am moving house this week and in the process of packing I realised I am a hoarder. I am a hoarder of a specific theatrical variety. I had a discussion with my housemate as to whether I should keep my soundtrack CD’s on the argument that in the future I want the same trip down nostalgia lane as I did when I found all my parent’s soundtrack cassettes. He tried to tell me that in the future when a 3D version of ‘Phantom of the Opera’ jumps out my laptop screen and fills my room I will not care for my CD collection at all. This argument, as exciting as it may sound, did not change a thing. I’m keeping them. I was, however, inspired to do a premature (to my promised fortnightly) blog as a bit of a “getting to know you” session. I’ll show you some of my hoards and throw some tips into the mix. Hopefully it is of interest to some of you and let me know if you do any of the same! We can make some kind of musical theatre hoarders support group.

First things first. My biggest collection: TICKETS

I have been keeping all my theatre tickets since September 2012 in my bedside table and I counted them this morning – there are 61 (and that’s not all the shows I’ve seen this year.)

Ever wondered what 61 theatre tickets looks like? Well now you don’t have to.

I’ll admit that’s a lot. However, I rarely spend more than £20 on theatre tickets (the only exceptions this year being Liza Minnelli, Patti LuPone, Merrily We Roll Along and The Color Purple – all of which I think are justifiable) so here are my tips for savvy ticket purchasing:

  • If you are 16-25 you unquestionably need to be registered with the National Theatre’s ‘Entry Pass‘ scheme. You’ll have to be very quick and ‘on it’ when the tickets become available but you’ll get to see some incredible productions at a bargain price.
  • Get used to being a morning person, take a book (see recommendations at the end of this blog!), and go and queue for day seats. Many theatres have this option you just need to check the websites beforehand. Again, if you’re 16-25 and you haven’t queued for £5 tickets for ‘Matilda’ yet then WHY NOT!? Suck it up, get up early and go. You won’t regret it.
  • Sign up to production companies newsletters via email – including productions that are coming up (I did this with Book of Mormon and just today I booked my Miss Saigon tickets) you can get cheaper preview tickets for shows that, as Mormon has proved, can get very expensive.
  • Shakespeare’s Globe. Sign up to the emails and then when the summer season goes on sale you can get £5 yard tickets for an entire season of shows for less money than a West End ticket price. You’ll have to be quick though – they’re very popular.
  • The Royal Opera House has a student standby scheme whereby you can get £10 tickets (sometimes in the stalls if you’re lucky) to a couple of productions each season. OR if you’re not a student just register and you will get emails with ticket prices as low as £3 to certain shows. It’s not an incredible view but it’s still the Royal Ballet/Opera company in the Opera House for cheaper than a Grande Starbucks. I know what I’d rather spend my money on.
  • Finally my best piece of advice: Be okay with going to the theatre alone! When you ‘need’ someone to go to the theatre with you you have to wait for friends to get back to you blah blah before booking a ticket and you often miss the cheap available seats in doing so. I had my first solo theatre visit in 2011 when I went to see Sondheim’s ‘Passion’ at the Donmar and I haven’t looked back since (and I haven’t missed a cheap ticket I’ve wanted to get hold of either)

That’s tips done. Then what to do with the tickets? I used to stick them on my wall, then on my wardrobe etc etc but as I move house every year because of house shares (which if you’re going to drama school you will do!) I soon realised it was easier to stick them all on a noticeboard and cart that round.

My fireplace.

I am definitely going to have to make a new one of these with the past years tickets. Two noticeboards of tickets? Too much?

Other items you can see in this photo are an applause board from LSMT’s production of ‘Applause’, an LP of ‘West Side Story’ given to me as a present when I got into NYMT’s production and on the wall is a poem about the life and career of Stephen Sondheim. Yep, that’s right, a poem. It concludes: “I hope you have a better understanding on of this talented old guy. If not, ask Rebecca Ridout, she knows everything about him. Thank you and Goodbye” I love it! How on earth could I part with it?

Obviously with all these visit’s to the theatre I can’t just have ticket stubs to show for it. I’ve never been a merchandise girl – I don’t own any show t-shirts or the famous Wicked Umbrella. In a previous ‘stop hoarding Rebecca, you’ve got no wall space’ efforts I got rid of my massive poster collection. It now only includes what I refer to as my ‘Donmar Wall’ (see below), a Royal Opera House ‘One Extraordinary World’ design (it’s beautiful), an Applause and West Side Story advertisement and in true nerdy fashion a Shakespeare timeline. Unfortunately I have no advice to offer regarding posters. I constantly struggle with mine falling down – as lovely as Eddie Redmayne falling on my bed in the middle of the night may be.

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An Eddie Redmayne sandwich. Yes please.

Then come the programmes…

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The depth of this pile was insane.

This picture does not reflect just how many programmes are in that pile. There are so many! So many that I cannot be bothered to count them. This is my one hoard I completely justify and I urge you to do the same. I have referred to these programmes on numerous occasions looking up performers (sometimes guest teachers you swear you’ve seen in something etc) finding out who the casting director was, the producers… I think it’s important to always read ALL of the creatives and try and remember them – especially if it’s a long running show that you think you will be suitable for in the future! Never mind the pretty ‘picture brochures’ some of the shows offer, always get the programmes with all the juicy details in. Bossy Ridout.

Finally, not so much a hoard but rather a very necessary collection of books is the last item on my list to talk about (you’re thinking ‘phew’.) I thought I’d share with you some of my recommendations if you’re going to drama school, you’re a graduate or just looking for some interesting reading:

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NB: The order of this pile does not correlate with the list below. Apologies.

  1. Respect for Acting by Uta Hagen – It’s just a bible of acting method. Highly recommended.
  2. So You Want To Go To…DRAMA SCHOOL? by Helen Freeman – what it says on the tin.
  3. So You Want To Be In…MUSICALS? by Ruthie Henshall – this one is just full of things you can refer back to over you career. Also, who doesn’t love a bit of Ruthie? (not featured in the picture because my copy is currently lent to a friend)
  4. True and False by David Mamet – controversially is a book questioning the purpose of training and acting methods. It is consequently an absolutely fascinating read and also helps you, when training, to embrace that not every approach will suit you.
  5. Auditions by Richard Evans – all the ins and outs of what to expect.

I think that’s about it – or at least these are the theatrical items in my room that I feel have some kind of explanation/something I can offer you about them. I also have costumes, shoes, props, a broken stage combat rehearsal spoon, the aforementioned CDs, countless DVDs (oh and an American DVD player just so I can watch all my Sondheim DVDs on what I call ‘Sondheim Sundays’) and of course alphabetized HOARDS of sheet music.

I hope that this bonus blog has been informative, that you feel like you know me a bit better and that you want to return next week to read what I have to say about some beautiful books I’ve been reading.

“Getting to know you, getting to know all about you. Getting to like you, getting to hope you like me.”

– Rebecca Ridout