We all know that middle to end of the month feeling, when bills have been paid and the purse strings are a bit tight. So what to do when you are in the mood for some theatre escapism, but don’t want to rob a bank? Here are some tips:
Online Booking Discounts & Specials
Online discounts are a great way to save some cash, and few do it better than the guys from Alexander Bar and Theatre. What makes this Cape Town hot spot even hotter theatre wise, is the fabulous intimate theatre located upstairs, aptly named Alexander Upstairs. Not only does their theatre host a great variety of reasonably priced shows (sometimes with a selection of 3 per night), but they give you the option of a R10 discount when you book online. Plus if you sign up for their ‘The Florin’ loyalty programme, you earn back 10% of all you spend. Bargain! But wait, there is more! You now have your discounted online booked ticket, but you are still strapped for cash when it comes to food and drink. Don’t fear, Alexander Bar has you sorted on that front too, with daily specials, such as their House Wine Tuesday (R65 a bottle), Cocktail Wednesday (2-for-1 from 5pm to 8pm) and Aperitivo Thursdays (a free buffet of delicious snacks from 5pm to 6:30pm)! So sign up to their newsletter today to not miss an online beat!
When it comes to specials, the Baxter Theatre also constantly surprises patrons with amazing deals. The nature of the special changes from show to show, so you will have to follow them on Twitter and Facebook to be the first to see the news. In the past, these great deals have included selective evenings of Rob van Vuuren’s comedy ‘What What!’ for only R30, the amazing ‘Die Seemeeu’ experience for R60, as well as the opportunity to see the Chritso Davids directed show ‘Platform 9’ for only R90 the first two weeks of its run. Whatever the discount or deal, you will be guaranteed entertainment of the highest quality at a great price, you just need to keep your finger on the Baxter Theatre pulse.
Also, don’t forget the trendy Kalk Bay Theatre, with its great specials and super cost saver surprises. At the moment they are running a “buy 1, get 1 free” ticket option for Tuesday shows, with the same principle applying to dinner in the theatre restaurant on Thursdays. Wow, that’s a 50% saving on mid-month date nights! Best thing is to keep an eye on their website and Facebook page, as you never know when their current specials may morph into something even cooler. For example, they previously surprised all with an evening where the audience booked tickets at R1 per person, and only paid what they thought the show was worth after seeing it. Brave? Crazy? Maybe, but what is not to love about such an adventurous theatre! Plus, after seeing the show, I did not think twice about forfeiting a few morning cappuccinos to pay what the show would normally have cost, R120. It’s all about balance in life after all.
Choose Your Seat Wisely
Personally I believe that there simply is not a bad seat anywhere in the Artscape, whether Opera House, Theatre or Arena. However, I do have a favourite seat: back row in the Artscape Opera House, right next to the sound box. Think about it, the technician needs to be able to hear and see perfectly what is happening on stage. So stick by his side, and so will you… plus you will be getting a great experience at a backbencher bargain price. Win win!
Also consider the pros of the slightly cheaper restricted view seat when you are ticket shopping. If you are desperate to experience that must-see show everyone is talking about, don’t snub this option. Buying a restricted ticket does not necessarily mean you are going to have a horrible night and twist yourself into a pretzel, trying to see the show. I have found that the restricted view seats in the Fugard Theatre are usually a great option if you are shopping on a budget. You may miss a dance step or two, but if the show is amazing over all (as was the case with Rocky Horror), does missing a minute or two visually really matter in the greater scheme of a highly entertaining hour or more?! I think not. Just be aware that restricted view seats in a theatre depend on the staging, and tend to change from show to show.
As a last seat choice tip, don’t diss the cheaper front row experience as an option either. I would easily have bought a front row ticket for 'Singin’ In The Rain', just to say I got splashed too. Front row seats just bring you that much closer to the magic! There is an exception to the front seat rule though: never sit in the front row of a comedy show, unless you are hell-bent on being part of the line-up.
Plan for the Glam Experience
One of the most beautiful theatres in Cape Town is without a doubt Theatre on the Bay in Camps Bay. So you are probably thinking, EXPENSIVE! Actually, with a little bit of planning a night a Theatre on the Bay is very affordable. Step one, get yourself onto their mailing list asap, because therein you will find a code that gives you access to the best seats in the house at a reduced price when booking via Computicket on selected nights. Step two, join their Theatrics Club. It allows you to plan ahead: choose your shows in advance, pay and save 50%. Plus when you choose your seat later via the ticket office, you save even more with the option of booking for a plus one at a R50 discount. As an additional bonus, Theatrics members also get 10% off their bill when they grab a delicious pre-show meal at the Sidedish Theatre Bistro. If you haven't tried their 3 course meal option at R195, you are missing out!. Step three? Get yourself to the theatre!
It’s Preview Time!
Traditionally, the first show in a production’s run is not the official opening night. The practice is to have a few preview shows to allow the cast and crew to settle in, before they invite the press to the official reviewable opening. These shows are usually a little bit cheaper than the standard price, but 9 out of 10 times you will still get a flawless show, plus you get to brag that you saw it first! Fair warning though, these preview prices usually only apply to shows that have a longer run. A show with a 3 to 5 day run will open on the first night and run at the same seat prices throughout. So, the bigger and more extravagant the show, the better your chances of bagging a nicely priced preview ticket!
What is better than going to the theatre? Going to the theatre with friends! So get together a big group of theatre loving buddies, and save on tickets when you make group bookings. This is especially a great savings option for shows at Theatre on the Bay and Baxter Theatre. Throw in some wine, and you basically have the 3D, fabber, version of book club ;) Enjoy!
Hope these help get you to the theatre soon. Have any cost-saving suggestions of your own? Let Theatre Scene know via Twitter or Facebook, and let's get some mid-month bums on seats!