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A summary of words used in London Theatre and on this site.
Overseas visitors may also like to see Broadway / London translations for further information.
Those seeking definitions of technical terms might like to visit www.theatrecrafts.com for more information.
In London Theatres the most legroom is generally found here. This site reviews each theatre by name.
Legroom is often cramped here. Check each theatre listed for details.
Legroom is often cramped here. Again, check each theatre listed for details.
Balcony or Gallery
Legroom is often cramped here. Once more, see each theatre listed for details.
The front of these private rooms opens onto the theatre, and seats are placed near the opening to face the stage. Often the seats are movable dining table type chairs - some people may find this more comfortable than conventional theatre seats, though the space can be limited around them. The view is often restricted as the boxes are often sideways to the stage, so you can't see into the near corners or back of it.
Do note that seats in boxes are often individually numbered, and if you don't buy all of them, then the other tickets will be sold to other people.
When the seats returned to the box office are called "Mark backs" this means they were returned by an agency who was unable to sell them. These tickets are often high quality, and can be returned right up until 7pm on the day of performance. More for the "returns line" to snap up!
A glossy 'Souvenir Brochure' priced around £8 - £10 is sold in addition to programmes at the big musicals. These have sometimes been the only item sold in the foyer, theatremonkey jokes, in order to shift the stock before the cheaper option is discovered inside the auditorium. This brochure contains large colour pictures of the show, and a few articles about its' creation. It does not contain a cast list, list of songs, or anything specific to that actual performance - for that you need… the programme.
Most genuine ticket agents are members of the Society of Ticket Agents & Retailers (STAR). This guarantees that tickets will be genuine, price and booking fee clearly explained, service good and if there is a problem then there is an independent appeals route. Members also agree to keep the booking fees they charge to around 25% above the original value of the ticket.
In the Circles, the rows of seats are arranges on steps. The higher the steps for each row the better the view. Unfortunately, the higher the steps, the more vertigo inducing the view!
The word 'rake' also applies to the slope of the stage towards the audience. The angle allows the back of the stage to be seen more easily and makes for interesting viewing should anyone dance, as it causes them to slip! This is why some theatres are so unsuited to ballet.
As a general rule, Top Price seats are all those in the Stalls and Dress Circle, excluding only the back two or three rows, and anything behind a pillar.
Third Price seats are usually in the first rows of the Upper Circle, with the lowest price either in the last two rows of this Circle, or above this Circle in the Balcony. Increasingly greedy producers are even pricing the first rows of the Upper Circle at the same as rear Stalls i.e. second price, pushing third price seats even further away up the back.
Theatremonkey defines 'average comfort' as being when it can sit in the seat for one hour without needing to move about to re-start circulation. Comfort is good when the monkey could sit for the whole performance without needing to move. A rare occurrence.
In all cases (except the Prince of Wales Theatre) seats in the front row of all Circles will have less legroom as there is a wall rather then a curved seat in front of you.
London Theatres are mostly old and designed for when bodies were shorter. A healthy cornfed monkey at a modest Five foot Six (but perfectly formed) gets uncomfortable very easily. The comfort felt by a person of this height forms the criteria for the site opinion. Anyone over this height could face serious problems. Six-Foot persons should avoid the Circles in all older London theatres wherever possible. Particularly the Adelphi and London Palladium.
In the Circles a safety bar or two, or three, often runs the whole width. Added to this is an even higher bar at the end of the aisle to prevent falling over if you should trip on the stairs. Theatremonkey naturally swings into his seat using these handy bars. For everybody, the view is disrupted as the bars line up to appear to run through anyone standing centrestage. This phenomenon is worst in the front two or three rows, and very few theatres discount tickets to allow for it.
Circles normally hang over the stalls and eachother. The result is often to cut the view of seats horizontally removing the top, front or both sections of the stage. As a rule the further back seats are in an auditorium, the worse the problem.
Old theatres often have their Circles held up by pillars. Seats placed behind these can be a bargain or a pain, depending on how thick the pillar is. Seats beside the pillar can also be a problem as the view may be affected but no discount is allowed.
Other interestingly positioned seats are found at the sides of the circle, or behind the set. These may be cheaper, again bargain or curse. Theatremonkey gives an opinion.
Bars and Refreshments
Toilets and Restrooms
Those with any disability often do not have adapted restrooms available, and when they do it is unisex. This site finds it bad enough not to have ones' needs met, but to be deprived of a gender too is pushing it. This is not equality.