Remaining time: 

Unreserved Seating: Innovative Idea or Complete Chaos?

Unreserved seating. It's fairly uncommon, but it does crop up now and then and it always leaves me feeling a bit unsettled. So here are some pros and cons, and why I think that unreserved seating is more chaotic than it is refreshing.

Unreserved seating makes theatre more inclusive.
There are so many shows out there where I wonder how anybody can actually afford the top band seats. Worse still – premium seats. If unreserved seating was used, then all seats would be the same price. In theory, then, the issue of only a very fortunate few being able to afford the 'best' seats would be put to rest. Or would it? It could just as easily be the case that unreserved seating would lead to none of the show's tickets being affordable, which would be even worse than only some seats being affordable.

People who book months in advance should get the best seats.
If you're desperate see a show, and book months in advance, it is reasonable to want to be able to have your pick of seats; it is one of the perks of early-booking. If unreserved seating was used, then somebody could book 30 minutes before the start of the show, and still get better seats that you. It doesn't seem quite fair.

People who arrive early to the theatre should get the best seats.
There is nothing worse than latecomers stumbling around a dark theatre trying to find their seats. Surely somebody who gets to the theatre before the house even opens should be able to chose their seat before somebody who may not even get to the theatre on time.

There are less 'wasted seats' with unreserved seating.
I have been to several shows where, during the interval, there has been some drastic reshuffling of where people are sitting. Mainly, this seems to happen when a group of people don't show up to the theatre, and leave a whole row of great seats unused. With unreserved seating, the best seats are always going to be used first.That said, a major risk with unreserved seating is that groups of people will leave single seats between themwhen they sit down. It is unlikely that these seats will be filled, which can mean that just as many great seats are 'wasted' as if reserved seating is used and there are some no-shows.

All in all, I prefer the traditional approach. Whilst there are some theatres that it just can't work for, most theatres can – and, in my opinion, should – stick to the ever-reliable reserved seating.



Related news

The Book of Mormon Prince of Wales Theatre London Tickets

Where is the best place to sit for The Book of Mormon musical in London?

Posted on | By Nicholas Ephram Ryan Daniels |

It can be a "spooky Mormon hell dream" trying to find good seats for The Book of Mormon, and with... Read more

Everything you need to know about Secret Cinema presents Casino Royale

Posted on | By Sarah Gengenbach |

Secret Cinema is the new wave of entertainment that is taking London and the world by storm. Perhaps you’v... Read more

Half Term Theatre (25 May – 2 Jun): 10 Must-See West End Shows for Half Term

Posted on | By Jade Ali |

Half term and family time go hand in hand, as does family time and going to the theatre. Whether you have the West En... Read more

Follow us for instant updates and special offers

Sign up to our mailing list and be the first to hear about new West End shows and exclusive ticket discounts. We value your privacy. You can unsubscribe at any time. But we hope you won’t!