I always think of a trip to the theatre as quite a fancy occasion. Since being young it was a treat, something I dressed up for. A visit to see something at the theatre can be rather expensive, and as a drama student it can appear really difficult to see all the amazing new shows you want, while living on a budget.

During my first year as a drama student, I worked out the best ways to see as much theatre as I could. Living in Canterbury, there is absolutely no excuse not to totally immerse yourself in all the brilliant productions surrounding you. You can get to the Gulbenkian theatre and cinema, without even leaving campus, providing plenty of entertainment right on your doorstep.

  1. Discovery tickets at The Marlowe Theatre
    If you are aged 16-25 you can go and see shows at Canterbury’s local theatre for as little as £5. Last year I saw plenty of these, including the RSC’s Henry V Part 1, starring Antony Sher… definitely not one to miss out on!
  2. Entry Pass tickets at the National Theatre
    With London being so close, you can’t escape this opportunity for upcoming theatre. Again, these tickets are available to us students for just a fiver! That’s less than most of the cocktails at Cuban… and it will certainly entertain you for longer. Keep your eyes peeled for these by registering online, and make sure you snap them up as soon as tickets are released, there are a limited number of Entry Pass tickets, so make sure they’re yours.
    Side-note: If you’re worried about transport to London being expensive, you don’t have to splash out on the train, you can get a coach from the main bus station for just £7.
  3. RSC Key
    Sadly not a local one, but still not to be missed out on. Register for an RSC Key card and you will receive opportunities to see shows at the globe for only £5. If you arrive at the Cambridge Theatre before 10am, they reserve 16 £5 tickets for Matilda, just for RSC Key holders. And if that wasn’t enough to persuade you to register for free, you’ll also receive discount  for all the RSC restaurants, shops, and many other attractions, and even youth hostels if you fancy staying the night!
  4. NT Live Screenings
    I’m sure you’ve heard of these, and if you’ve got any sense you’ll have been to one or two. Currently being shown is The Audience, a fantastic play concerning the relationship between the Queen and her numerous Prime Ministers, starring Helen Mirren. While it is obviously better to try and see live productions when you can, National Theatre Live has allowed theatre to be captured and shown again and again, all from your local cinema. These screenings are also significantly cheaper than attempting to go and see the shows on stage, and additionally allow you to see any shows you might have missed.
    Top Tip: If you haven’t yet seen DV8’s JOHN, go and see it! You won’t be disappointed.
  5. Always look out for free shows!!!
    Being a drama student, free theatre will always be advertised to you. Keep an eye on your emails and you’ll always be the first to hear about any free student productions taking place at the Gulbenkian. Kent’s graduate theatre company performed their original piece, Method In Madness last year, and gave out free tickets, and even held a Q&A afterward.

Finally, enjoy, absorb and be inspired. I urge you to revel in living in such a vibrant centre for the arts.


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