Empowering the Freelance Economy

Bums on seats: have a cultured night out for less

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The sometimes feast-or-famine income of the freelance life can make a night out feel like a distant dream. However, with a little ingenuity and a dash of planning, you can swap the takeout menu for a cultured evening out. And no, we’re not talking about another night binge-watching documentaries. We’re talking about becoming a seat filler.

What is a Seat Filler?

As explained in Timeout‘s article “What is a Seat Filler? How To Get Free Tickets To Concerts, Theatre and Comedy,” seat fillers are audience members who occupy empty seats at performances. These seats are often left vacant due to last-minute cancellations or no-shows. Venues and production companies prefer to have a full house, as it enhances the overall atmosphere and benefits the performers. In exchange for filling these seats, seat fillers get to enjoy the show for free or at a significantly reduced price.

How to Become a Seat Filler

Several seat filler clubs operate in major cities around the world. Some of the most popular ones include:

Play By Play: This club offers access to a variety of events, including theatre, concerts, and sporting events.

The Audience Club: You never pay for a ticket with The Audience Club. Instead, you pay a small admin fee per ticket, which helps us cover the day-to-day running costs of providing our services.

Show Film First Over the last few years SFF members have had complimentary tickets to film, theatre, concerts, gigs, dance, ballet, festivals, and much more

Central Tickets: Membership with Central is free. Seat-filling tickets range from £4 to £15 and you’ll have access to special offers for West End shows via their ticketing partners.

Seat Fillers: They connect slow-selling productions with eager audiences for a win/win arrangement. You get free tickets and they get to boost audiences.

These clubs typically require members to sign up and pay a small annual fee. Once you’re a member, you can browse available shows and request tickets or be contacted when something comes up. Keep in mind that seat filler tickets are often allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, so it’s important to be proactive and apply early.

Tips for Seat Filler Hopefuls

Plan ahead: Most seat filler clubs release their event schedules in advance, so try to plan your nights out accordingly. This will increase your chances of securing tickets for shows you’re interested in.

Be flexible: Seat filler tickets are often for less popular shows or performances with less desirable seats. However, this is a small price to pay for a free or heavily discounted cultural experience.

Dress appropriately: Even though you’re getting a free or discounted ticket, it’s important to dress appropriately for the event. This shows respect for the performers and other audience members.

Other budget-friendly cultural activities

Besides seat filling, there are other ways to enjoy a cultured night out on a budget:

Free Museum Days: Many museums offer free admission on certain days or during specific hours.

Art Gallery Openings: Art gallery openings are often free and offer a chance to see new artwork, meet artists, and enjoy complimentary refreshments.

Community Theatre: Community theatre productions are typically less expensive than professional shows and can be just as entertaining.

Outdoor Concerts and Performances: During the summer, many cities host free outdoor concerts and performances in parks and public spaces.

By combining seat filling with these other options, freelancers can enjoy a rich and varied cultural life without straining their finances. Getting a dose of culture and a night out doesn’t always have to be expensive.

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