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Is it worth becoming a friend of ROH


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Hello All! Just wondering if there are any people who are friends of the ROH  on here and whether you would recommend it? I love to watch ballet and have seen pretty much every ballet at least once in the last season. The ROH is a magical place to me, but as a public sector employee (NHS) I’m on a budget and I’d like to be able to get more SCS tickets or the bar stool style seats at the back of the balcony.


This last season I’ve been checking the ROH website multiple times most days for returns and only managed to score SCS twice and the bar stool balcony seats three or four times. Other times I had to shell out to sit at front-ish (row E) of amphi or at very far side of stalls circle and didn’t like either compared to SCS or the bar stools at the rear balcony.

 

I’d like to be able to book multiple performances in SCS or rear balcony in one go in advance of the next season commencing. Would being a friend allow me to do this? Previously I’ve been on the ROH website at 9am when the general public booking opens but I’ve rarely if ever seen any SCS or rear balcony still left. Would I be correct in thinking that all these seats get snapped up by friends? Just wondering if I should become a friend? My budget only stretches to being an ordinary friend - is it worth it? Are there any decent cheap seats left for ordinary friends? I’d love to hear people’s experiences of being friends of ROH. Thank you in advance x

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45 minutes ago, Angela Essex said:

I’d like to be able to book multiple performances in SCS or rear balcony in one go in advance of the next season commencing. Would being a friend allow me to do this? Previously I’ve been on the ROH website at 9am when the general public booking opens but I’ve rarely if ever seen any SCS or rear balcony still left. Would I be correct in thinking that all these seats get snapped up by friends? Just wondering if I should become a friend? My budget only stretches to being an ordinary friend - is it worth it? Are there any decent cheap seats left for ordinary friends? I’d love to hear people’s experiences of being friends of ROH. Thank you in advance x

 

I'm an ordinary Friend, but I don't look for these particular seats so I can't say if they all get snapped up. I would have thought that some seats in all areas/prices should be left for public booking since it wouldn't be fair for all of them to be booked by Friends, but I don't know. I look for the cheaper side Amphi seats, and if I get in at 9am I can usually get moreorless what I want though sometimes I'm further back than I'd like and for more popular performances it can be tricky. But I wouldn't want to risk not being a Friend and so not getting any sort of priority booking. I also like getting the mailings and emails and I do want to support the RB/ROH by being a Friend. 

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If your main motivation for getting Friends Membership is to get SCS tickets I would say in my experience it's not worth it. I think a lot of these do go to higher tier Friends, if you're quick off the mark you might get one or two so depends how fussy you are on casting and date availability.

 

As others have said it's nice to support ROH and you do get the shop discount and quarterly magazine (depending on how much that's worth to you, for me it's a nice thing but I'd never buy enough in the shop to make it worthwhile). Whilst I would still encourage you on some level to get Friends membership to support the ROH, I'll admit I'm reconsidering mine for the 23/24 season as I'm not a big fan of the programming and think the money may be best going towards tickets given there is little guarantee of getting SCS as a friend. 

 

Having said that, undeniably you will have a much better chance of getting SCS so this may be worth it as long as you are flexible on casts/dates and with the reality that there will be little to none available for popular productions - for example I didn't get any for the Ashton triple, and only managed to get two across the entire run of Swan Lake. Still better than nothing granted, but if you're expecting there to be a range (or multiple as you say) of SCS tickets for every performance left at friends booking that is not the case. With price increases across the rest of the house I imagine demand for SCS will only increase. 

 

Hopefully it provides some insight! Considering the cost of Friends membership is about £100 a year, depending how often you go, you may be better off putting that money towards non SCS tickets. 

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I was originally a Friend and am now a Friend+ - I am quite choosy as to where I sit and which performances I want to see so being able to book well in advance of the general public is a considerable plus for me (plus of course one is helping the ROH through the additional fee). 

 

 

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I used to be a Friend but it seems to have got more and more hierarchical over the years so to really get what I wanted out of it would not be achieved by being an ordinary Friend any more….the most am prepared to pay!!  
In the last few years as Jo Public I’ve never had a problem getting seats I want to sit in for performances. 
Standing is another matter though they have nearly always gone by public booking and I do like standing in Stalls Circle at least…brilliant value for money. I have occasionally got a standing ticket nearer the performance date from this Forum though!!! 
Im not bothered about going to General rehearsals though could be a cheaper way of seeing a ballet not so keen to pay more for. I like watching coaching and interviews with dancers and watching company class all things you would more easily obtain tickets for if you were a Friend plus or above. 
For this reason I’m a Friend of ENB instead although it looks like they might be about to go down a similar hierarchical route so ordinary Friend at £60 a year May soon no longer have the same benefits 😥 
 

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4 hours ago, FionaE said:

And it’s worth following the ticket exchange section of this forum … for special offers and also for re-sales.   There seem to be many SCS sales here.  

 

Yes, I've noticed that - not sure why that should be.

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I think some people buy standing tickets as a safeguard whilst planning to try to get a slightly better seat later on if become available which they very often do.  Then if that happens they resell the standing ticket. 

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I once spoke to a gentleman on the train who often bought two standing tickets in case he could get someone he knew to use the other, and that if he couldn't he'd sell the spare back as there was always demand for them. That way I think he'd persuaded a number of people to try ballet. It seemed admirable to me!

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45 minutes ago, Lizbie1 said:

I once spoke to a gentleman on the train who often bought two standing tickets in case he could get someone he knew to use the other, and that if he couldn't he'd sell the spare back as there was always demand for them. That way I think he'd persuaded a number of people to try ballet. It seemed admirable to me!

 

The problem being that there are so few standing tickets and so many people who want them, and buying extras just in case leaves others unable to book any. But I suppose that's the case in other areas of the house too. 

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4 hours ago, bridiem said:

 

The problem being that there are so few standing tickets and so many people who want them, and buying extras just in case leaves others unable to book any. But I suppose that's the case in other areas of the house too. 

 

But someone else did get them - maybe not an habitual early booker (and I'm one) but it gives people who can't commit months ahead a chance.

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As long as SCS tickets go to those that appreciate them (a vast number on this forum) I’m happy! 
 

As noted as booking comes earlier and earlier it can be difficult to formulate plans. I do think it’s good ROH have started the ticket exchange for credit note minus £4 - although it may be counter intuitive as sometimes I’ll buy something knowing I can return risking £4 rather than much more. Still probably better than losing the entire amount if not sold which was the old system. 

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On 20/06/2022 at 04:41, JohnS said:

There’s also the opportunity to go to rehearsals albeit the better tickets do get picked up pretty early. Would Friday Rush tickets help? 

I think Friday rush are rear amphi which I find too far from the stage and stalls circle which is too expensive.

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I've been a low-ish income Friend for about 8-months.

 

It's been worth trying. Like you, I joined for the advantage in tickets but, actually, it has changed my relationship with the OH. I like the season guides (over 70 pages) and the quarterly magazine, the Linbury and the Clore, the extra Friends' email info. I also feel more comfortable with the intricacies of booking and performance seasons - the rhythms of the OH year. Perhaps a bit soon to say but my feeling is people are chattier around Friends events.

 

Also, with more booking opportunities, comes an opportunity to strategise - again, unexpected. I could almost do a TED talk about that :)

 

 

 

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On 21/06/2022 at 23:42, Angela Essex said:

I think Friday rush are rear amphi which I find too far from the stage and stalls circle which is too expensive.

They also usually do excellent Balcony standing places.

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On 23/06/2022 at 10:36, postie said:

I've been a low-ish income Friend for about 8-months.

 

It's been worth trying. Like you, I joined for the advantage in tickets but, actually, it has changed my relationship with the OH. I like the season guides (over 70 pages) and the quarterly magazine, the Linbury and the Clore, the extra Friends' email info. I also feel more comfortable with the intricacies of booking and performance seasons - the rhythms of the OH year. Perhaps a bit soon to say but my feeling is people are chattier around Friends events.

 

Also, with more booking opportunities, comes an opportunity to strategise - again, unexpected. I could almost do a TED talk about that :)

 

 

 

I’d love to hear that TED talk - do it 🙌

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34 minutes ago, Angela Essex said:

Ooh thanks Sim didn’t know the balcony standing were on Friday rush 👍

Usually only two, but I have managed to get them a couple of times (D30 and 31 are the ones to get if you can).

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This morning's Friends+ booking has made me think of this. This is very much dependent on how many tickets you book for and your seating preferences, but I find that in most seasons membership works out for me on purely financial terms. (I book at the lower end of the scale and go to maybe 15 performances a year; if you are on less of a budget than me or go to more performances this effect can be amplified - it certainly is for my balcony-dwelling friend.) There are a handful of seats that get snapped up quickly and if I'm lucky and they're still available, I will buy them instead of my customary next rung up*. So this morning, for example, I was able to buy two £20 tickets for Mayerling instead of two £30 tickets, and spend £22 on the Diamond programme instead of £33. I'm certain these wouldn't have been available come General booking, and it's unlikely they would have been available at "entry level" Friends booking.

 

Similarly, for anything in the Linbury availability can be quite scarce - itself a different problem! - and there are so few seats at lower prices that getting in early can easily mean a £20 difference, or the difference between a wretched view and something tolerable.

 

*These can in turn be thin on the ground for certain performances come General booking.

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9 hours ago, Angela Essex said:

@Lizbie1what seats do you tend to go for if you don’t mind me asking please? This last season was the first time I’d been inside ROH since childhood so I’m trying to get my head round which cheaper seats to go for next season.

 

Amphi front sides for ballet, slips for opera. You'll see the ones I mean if you look at the pricing map for Mayerling.

 

It's worth trying different out different areas to find out how far you're prepared to compromise on distance, having bits of the stage missing and seat comfort. You might also like me have different specifications for opera, if you also go to that.

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I’d always recommend  joining Friends if you’re living in the UK and go regularly to the ROH.  Now I’ve settled in Berlin, I think I’ll let my membership slide after this season. Covid broke the rhythm of my trips back, and I really enjoy the live screenings here - the cinemas are great, there’s free Sekt on offer and the printed programs add a touch of “I’m almost there -ness”. So really for me Mayerling, Nutcracker and the Friends’ nights will be seen in Berlin, and the new Pite I’ll catch up with in Oslo. I’ll only make the London trips for Woolf Works, Cinderella and the new triple bill. I’ve been a friend since 1976 when I went to Goldsmiths. Thanks to the junior Friends’ vouchers and reductions I got the most wonderful grounding in ballet and opera…and I loved the glossy magazines too. I owe the organisation a lot. But I think 23/24 will see me join the equivalent group(s) in Berlin. Time to move on.

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