Seat Plan – a glance through the website

Seat Plan – a glance through the website

Theatre websites are two a penny today – bloggers commenting on theatre shows they see and review; publications discussing the theatrical landscape; marketing websites that offer you discount theatre tickets to the country’s hottest venues. Some people may find the sheer number of theatre-based conversations occurring a bit daunting, but I personally am a huge fan. The more we can discuss, highlight and note the plethora of talent in the industry that connects to its audience in a far more visceral way than TV or Film ever can, is all good in my book.

Seatplan.com is one such website, but it comes with a bit of a USP. This website lets you review your individual seat as well as comment on the show, the venue itself or the experience as a whole. Now that’s different, and pretty darn useful. Whether you’re spending big bucks for those top notch tickets, or looking for a cheap deal up in the gods, you still want to know whether you’re going to be able to see the stage and ultimately get what you pay for.

So, here’s a little run down of the Seatplan site, warts and all:

      • Straight away you can see what’s on offer – the hottest tickets in town. You click on a production, scroll down and you can catch actual reviews from individuals in their raw form. None of this average star rating that condenses opinion into one, unhelpful overall value. As a blogger, that’s what I like to see – individual thoughts with passion and energy.
      • I hover over one review and it expands for me. Great, I want to read the whole of this piece. But I don’t want to have to scroll down the webpage in a user-unfriendly format. Let me click on it to direct me to a full page please. It’d be easier to read with these tired, substandard eyes of mine.

      • Back to the home page I go and as I scroll down further, there are some recent seat reviews, pictures and all. I’m not a fan of photos during a production – it’s off-putting for everyone, guys – but I love getting some real proof of whether those pesky pillars are truly restricting view, or whether I have to glance down to see the front half of the stage. I’m cheap you see – tickets in the gods for me – so I like to know that my £20 is still going to enable me to see the whole of the production.
      • Some more broken down stars here – Comfort, Legroom, View. Yes, yes and yes again! Theatre seats can be notoriously uncomfortable and cramped – Royal Opera House and The Coliseum, sort out your balcony, please – so it’s always good to know what you’re letting yourself in for. I’m one of those that carries my life on my back you see, so should I splash out a couple of quid and check my bag in to the cloakroom and enjoy some much needed legroom? With these ratings, I can see for sure.
      • And then I’m at the bottom of the page. It seems a bit sparse somehow. I’m a fan of uncluttered webpages, easier for me to see. But there doesn’t feel like a lot of content, or substance, to SeatPlan at present. Unless I’m missing a menu, one that I shouldn’t really have to search hard for.

      • Then I spot an exciting link tucked away for a rainy day on the webpage footer. Rewards… Intriguing! Turns out that SeatPlan reviewers earn money towards Theatre Tokens for each review they post. A clever incentive! How much I wonder? 40p per piece, not bad really for a photo of the seat view. A big bonus too, considering how few theatre websites offer anything for the hard work that bloggers and writers put in. Passion only gets you so far folks.
      • Now I’m on the rewards page, I’m seeing a competitions page and a Leaderboard. It looks as though there’s a competition every month – May’s is to win ticket for The King And I. These are selling like hot cakes so it’s nice to see an opportunity to get some for free. The leaderboard is a clever touch too – us theatregoers are very friendly, but definitely a bit competitive. Shout-out to laurenmaytheatre for 250 reviews, austinldn for 267 seat photos, joc78 for 154 shows seen and ryandawe for 50 theatres visited.

      • The final piece de resistance – I click on a user profile, I’m nosey like that. As well as the expected About Me bio and picture, there is a star ratings breakdown, stats on each category, a theatre timeline (LOVE THIS idea) and a back catalogue of the shows reviewed. Now I keep every ticket stub and programme I can, but they all sit in storage. It would be so lovely to have everything on one page like this, to be able to scroll back and reminisce. That’s a great idea from SeatPlan.

So, SeatPlan. It’s been around since 2011 and earned its name among the London bloggers by successfully establishing the #LDNTheatreBloggers collective – fingers crossed this is revived again soon please. Now the website may seem a little hard to navigate (more signposting guys for those impatient, inept individuals like me) and look a little sparse, but the hidden gems are there. And they’re cleverly conceived.

Will I use it to book tickets through? It’s not particularly grabbing me with great deals over any other website. But you can be sure that I’d check this page for reviews, top seating tips and to see who in the Seatplan community is making noise about which productions.

 

This review was published at the request of Seatplan.  For more information, visit their website.

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