Who are you?
Theatremonkey is a Londoner who knows the major West End theatres like the back of his paw. See its' autobiography - a tragic but true story.
Why the name?
Theatremonkey likes to think it is "monkeying about" with a respected institution - the secretive world of London Theatre! The other reason is personal and emailing a large sum to the monkey's bank will reveal it!
Why this site?
Theatremonkey has spent years talking to fellow audience members and has noticed how often we get a raw deal as customers. From high prices for poor seats, to sitting through a third rate performance of a supposedly ' Top ' show, Theatremonkey compared notes and, using the wonders of technology, put them on this unofficial private fan site.
So what is it getting out of this?
Theatremonkey loves London's theatres and is keen to encourage the world to share the passion. And get the best deal they can when they do.
This site is totally independent, managed by an enthusiastic amateur site owner, and as such says what it likes. Earning the respect of the industry, backed up by affiliate membership of STAR (The Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers) and with millions of visitors since 2000, it also basks in that rather lovely history too.
So it works in the Industry?
Nope, never. Theatremonkey is just ordinary customers who, over the years found their own ways around.
How reliable is its Opinion?
Information on this site is Theatremonkey personal, subjective opinion, based on what has been seen and heard over many, many years it has been theatregoing and running the website. Nobody knows everything and contributors are welcome and strongly encouraged to add to the knowledge here. This site aims to be a place for theatregoers to share ideas and experiences, not be a personal "soapbox" for the owner. Theatremonkey's own opinions "calls it as it sees it" and sincerely hopes not to steer you wrong. Also, please see What Guests say about this website.
Explain your Seat Ratings?
Everyone is different and has their own preferences and opinions on what constitutes good value. For this website, the seats to buy / avoid ratings by the site writers are compiled based on a person five foot six tall, paying full price for a ticket. Recommendations are based on view of the stage, value for money and (dealt with in greater detail elsewhere) comfort - often expressed as the "legroom" factor.
Some folk are confused by the colour codes employed on the seating plans. As one regular reader puts it,
"I take green seats to be the ones that might be worth choosing first, white ones a second choice and red a third because the monkey has a comment to make about them".
And that about sums up the intention of the site. The idea is NOT to grade seats "good, not so good, bad" but instead to highlight those that merit particular comments to be made about them.
The monkey takes a cautious and conservative approach to this charting, and for that reason some comment that tickets are better than the site guide indicated. Great! The monkey is delighted that a reader felt they had experienced "added value" in thier outing. Far better to be pleased than disappointed...and if you are pleased, do share with other readers: contact us.
Can you help me pick between / describe the differences between two seats?
The site offers an overview of every venue, plus as many comments as it receives about each one from other readers. Only you can decide if it is worth handing over your hard earned bananas for a seat, so personal instinct is honestly the best policy! Consider your own needs in terms of legroom, price and whether you are trying to have a special or simple evening out...and the answers should become clearer than even "Mystic Monkey" could help you with!
I'm larger than average, can you help on locating suitable seats?
A page of advice is available by clicking here.
No Fancy Graphics?
The monkey has to be careful about copyright. Where it has obtained permission, it uses graphics. Otherwise it generates its own!
Seating Plans - not like in the theatre?
Again, seating plans are copyright. To avoid any conflict, Theatremonkey has created its own using carefully written notes from site visits rather than copying in any way existing plans.
How often are pages updated / what happens if they are not?
Theatremonkey has the ability to update pages at any time during opening hours - and does so whenever it has new information to add. Changes that result from a production closing are usually made late on a Saturday afternoon.
Occasionally, for technical reasons, it isn't possible to update pages as quickly as it would like. In those cases, please excuse outdated / incorrect information - it will be altered as the earliest opportunity.
Pop / Music Venues too?
Long overdue for comment in Theatremonkey's opinion and while being honest about the theatres, why not use the space.
What No Opera Coverage?
The Royal Opera House Covent Garden has a large and devoted following who are often forced by high prices to seek only the affordable seats - Slips at the very top edges of the theatre and the farthest recesses of the Amphitheatre. They know these are at least cheap and offer a way to hear the music and see what they can. The official Royal Opera House website also has an interactive seating plan now, allowing visitors to check the view from many seats all over the venue.
Also, the monkey knows nothing about this specialised art form, so does not feel it can attempt to cover it!
A reader says,
"I must say that the http://www.roh.org.uk/ interactive seating plan is wonderful....it is incredibly honest and even lets you know if a head may be in the way.... Oh, and for the record I saw a ballet there from row T of the amphitheatre - and although I was far away I had a great view (I remembered the binoculars!!) the legroom was great but my view of the stage un-obscured and being that far away, you really do appreciate the choreography.(£15 a seat). Also note that there are NO binoculars in the seats so people may be disappointed. this is not mentioned anywhere on the ROH site. Folding paper binoculars are available in the shop for £2 and actually do an alright job!"
"Hoverfly: a life on the edge of the seat" at facebook.com/HoveringLife, twitter.com/hoveringlife or https://plus.google.com/103720238167228257499/posts reviews ballet and dance from the specific perspective of one seeking cheap seats, commenting on both the productions and what she thinks of where she sat for them. The blog covers the ROH, Linbury Studio and London Coliseum, among many others.
Paperback versions of this website are available from Amazon.
Is there a New York and Broadway version of this site?
Not by theatremonkey, no, but some sites exist that offer much of the same type of information. Telecharge (www.telecharge.com) offers a computer generated "view from your seat" facility when buying for some venues. Not as helpful as it sounds, but the images are there.
www.theatremania.com offers some comments about seating, highlighting the best seats by price. www.nytix.com also passes a comment or two about where the best seats are in the house on each "about the theatre" page. http://www.talkinbroadway.com/eopinions/browse.php?cat_id=3 offers a public forum to post opinions of seats they have had as does www.broadwayspotted.com. For simple listings and disabled access advice, www.livebroadway.com and www.ilovenytheater.com are also helpful.
www.entertainment-link.com offer independent, objective, and comprehensive information that allows users to get the best seats, the best prices, and the best service on Broadway tickets and more. http://www.theaterseatstore.com has a short guide mentioning some big Broadway musicals (and comparing deals with West End ones where applicable. www.broadwaybox.com like theatremonkey's "current special offers" page, lists local discount offers to Broadway shows and how to obtain them. It also has "advice" seating plans too. http://gonyc.about.com/cs/discountbroadway/a/emailtix.htm is a useful list of discount sources for Broadway. www.tdf.org lists the shows likely to be available at Broadway's TKTS Half-Price Ticket Booth for the week. www.bcefa.org and www.actorsfund.org offer donated tickets to sold out shows at high prices, with the funds going to charity.
The book, "The Back Stage Guide To Broadway" by Robert Viagas published in October 2004 is also worth a look. It contains many useful tips and hints, plus a VERY brief guide to best / worst seats in theatres (sounds familiar!). For seating plans, "Seats - 150 seating plans to New York Metro Area Theatres, Concert Halls and Sports Stadiums" by Jodé Susan Millman (Applause Books) may prove helpful. Amazon.com stock this one.
Deadly sharp re-written versions of shows are available at: www.broadwayabridged.com.
You sell theatre tickets on this site?
Yes. Only those outlets who are Society of Ticket Agents And Retailers (STAR) members get listed, though. If the company is on here and sells tickets, you are safe.
The actual "Theatremonkey Ticketshop" is run by LoveTheatre - a STAR member. The monkey agreed to start selling tickets because it was satisfied that the company meets it's own very high standards of customer service and conduct.
It may not be the cheapest option - and the monkey will never shrink from saying so; but often offers and availability are unbeatable, backed up by a high quality sales team. The monkey hopes guests will be happy with this feature.
LoveTheatre are open Monday to Friday 10am until 8pm (Saturday 10am to 6pm, Sunday 10am to 4pm) on 020 7420 9778 (0044 207 420 9778 if calling from outside the United Kingdom). (quote "theatremonkey ticketshop" when calling), and online at Theatremonkey Ticketshop.
As stated, other ticket agencies are also mentioned on this site. All are S.T.A.R. members offering a choice of genuine tickets backed by "fair trading" policies.
I bought tickets and need help with something
Theatremonkey sells tickets through directing guests to box offices and authorised ticket agents. Thus the theatremonkey office can't issue things like confirmations or help change details. How to contact the right people is available as a guide here: www.theatremonkey.com/which-company-did-i-book.
The phone number for my theatre is different from others I've seen on leaflets / listings elsewhere?
Theatres use central telephone rooms to take bookings, rather than operating small box offices within each individual venue. This means that when you dial a particular theatre, you get put through to a single office owned and operated either by the individual theatre chain or by an agency on their behalf. Sometimes the phones will be answered using the brand name, rather than the individual theatre name. Theatremonkey always lists the most appropriate telephone numbers, though, and never knowingly provides details of sub-agencies in place of contact details for the the actual central phoneroom acting on behalf of the box office.
Why Can't you comment on ticket availability?
Simply, the monkey is a regular theatregoing member of the public and is not privy to box office information.
Unlike Broadway, London is secretive and does not reveal anything publicly about how well a show is doing.
The best way to find out about availability is to call the box office direct and ask. Mention specific seat numbers and see if they can offer them to you. Even ask directly if seats go to Leicester Square TKTS to be sold at half price. They will often tell you.
Leicester Square TKTS booth post their day's ticket availability online. Go to www.tkts.co.uk, and look to the "What's On Sale" option in the top menu.
Overseas visitors might also try using the online ticket agency systems to see what they are offered. The monkey notes, however that on occasion these systems only offer poor quality tickets. An international phonecall can prove a good investment.
Where does Theatremonkey sit when it goes to the theatre?
Wherever it can get a cheap seat! Seriously, given the choice the monkey likes either the front row of the stalls, or the ends of rows where there are no seats in front so that it can stretch, or aisle seats with a bit of space. This is personal preference, nothing more.
What are the Theatremonkey Opinions?
The opinions are currently just that. A reflection of the views of an ordinary ticket buying member of the public who chooses to comment on a show they have seen.
They are NOT written or drawn from professional critics (unless stated) or by anyone connected to the industry or who is biased by being "star-struck" or having a personal agenda.
Those who contribute and / or compile the Opinions (the monkey and a small group of others) follow a code of reviewing only the work on the stage, free of influence from past performances, whatever the medium.
Readers are always welcome to add their comments too.
Can I post information from Theatremonkey on my own website?
Sorry, no, not without the express permission of Theatremonkey.com. The seating plans and text on this site are subject to the international laws of copyright.
Can I Contact Theatremonkey?
This site wants to offer a catalogue of visitor experiences. Tell it your opinions of the tickets you bought, the people who sold them to you, the show you saw and the theatre you watched in, the place you ate in beforehand, the hotel you stayed in. Anything not libelous will be added to this site.
Material contributions are always gratefully received.
Your Mailing list:
Is it safe for me to give you my email address?
Theatremonkey.com promises to take great care of your address if you do give it. All details are held on a secure, independent server, accessible only by theatremonkey.com.
All mailings are sent from theatremonkey.com only, and are approved before being allowed to be sent out in a two-stage security process.
Will you sell my details to other mailing lists?
NO. Simple as that. The list is for the exclusive use of theatremonkey.com to communicate with readers, not for those offering “Miracle Cream” or “Peruvian Lottery Winnings” to find customers.
Can I leave or change my details at any time?
Yes, you are in total control.
I’ve joined, but not received ANYTHING at all?
Should you not receive either your confirmation or welcome emails within 48 hours, please:
1) Check you have adjusted your spam filter / email handler to allow messages us. Also, do check the "deleted," "Trash" or "Spam Basket" section of your email program to see if the "confirmation" and "welcome" emails have been sent there by your spam filter.
I’ve been sent Spam Email from your address to the one I gave you. How COULD YOU let them have me email address?!
Theatremonkey.com didn’t! Sadly, emails sent from supposedly genuine addresses can easily be faked. Make CERTAIN you have good “Spyware” detection software, and run it regularly. Someone has been monitoring your activity and has managed to get a hold of your address via a bit of spyware they smuggled onto your own machine while you were online, or when you sent an email to someone. Consult an expert if the problem persists.
I want to be in Showbiz:
Remember: when looking for a job, do not agree to meetings in private homes / hotel rooms - stick to offices and public places. Also, do not hand over money for anyone to find you work unless you are CERTAIN you will get some benefit from it. A legitimate company normally makes money by placing you in a job and being paid by your employer....
In the UK, good drama training is hard to find. Websites www.drama.ac.uk and www.ncdt.co.uk offer information on the options available. Actors' newspaper "The Stage" has information at www.thestage.co.uk/connect/. Another informative article about the training process in the UK is available by clicking here. The book "An Actor's Guide to Getting Work" by Simon Dunmore, publisher A&C Black, may also help.
Another book suggestion is "So You Want to Tread The Boards" - The 'everything-you-need-to-know insider’s guide to a career in the Performing Arts' by Jennifer Reischel. A J.R. Books Ltd paperback ISBN. 978-1-906217-02-0, it is available from Amazon.co.uk priced £16.99, this guide deals with all those questions that are seemingly impossible to find answers to, and provides an authentic first-hand account of the pitfalls and difficulties encountered in the pursuit of a career in the performing arts. Outstanding reading, the monkey recommends it highly.
Behind the scenes
www.abtt.org.uk has an incredible list of the skills needed to get the "show on the road" each day, and is a good place to start your hunt. An article that theatremonkey wrote on the subject is available by clicking here. www.stagework.org is another site with information too.
Start with your local theatres and remember that if you are under 16 and need to work at night, you have to be chaperoned (not usually possible for venues to arrange).
Not many theatres offer this facility, so it can be VERY difficult indeed - and only the most persistent and flexible might succeed. The most popular producers and venues get around fifty applications a day! Lists of theatres and producers are published in the annual "British Theatre Directory" (Richmond House Press) expensive, but many libraries do have it in stock; or "Contacts" (spotlight.com) much cheaper and updated annually - the full title includes the year e.g the book will be called "Contacts 2015" for the year 2015 etc. Addresses are also on company websites, so hunt around on the web.
Think laterally too and apply to local TV and radio offices, as well as suppliers to the industry - costumiers, ticket agencies etc as you may be luckier there.
When writing, a simple single (or at most two page) CV / Resume is enough, with a covering letter explaining what you are looking for and what you can offer the company. Including a stamped, self addressed envelope for a reply is good manners, and will more likely ensure a response to your application.
An article that theatremonkey wrote on the subject of working in theatre is available by clicking here.
Please note that theatremonkey website cannot accept any work experience people at any time, as it is too small.
How do I get a donation for a charity event / can you donate anything?
The monkey is increasingly asked this question, and regrets that theatremonkey.com itself doesn't have access to anything - either tickets or souvenirs - that would help.
Obtaining items from theatres is sadly difficult simply to the demand. Most shows now have a particular charity that they support and limit free tickets / goods to that exclusively. The same is true of many production companies - simply because there is no way any of them could give away anything to everyone who asks, without going out of business themselves! One major chain of theatres, for example, limits itself to just two tickets per month - and those are mostly to charities with whom it has historic links.
The only way to seek donations, alas, is to just keep writing. The books "Contacts" and "The Original British Theatre Directory" (both add the current year in the title if you are searching online) list addresses of all major production companies, venues and marketing organisations, and approaching them is the only way.
Should any theatrical organisation have items it IS willing to donate, the monkey would be happy to put it in contact with deserving causes, of course...