Sunderland Guide: Sunderland Empire Theatre

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Location: High St W, Sunderland SR1 3HA, United Kingdom

The Sunderland Empire Theatre is the primary stage venue of the City of Sunderland. A historic venue opened in 1907, the Empire is widely regarded as one of the most prestigious theatres in the North East of England, known for its hosting of London West End shows. Like its next door neighbour, the Dun Cow, it boasts a Baroque architectural design.

Inside the Theatre

The theatre boasts an incredibly rich and eventful history which has placed it at the heart of Sunderland’s modern cultural story. In 1963, it hosted the Beatles in their first ever UK national tour. In 1976, the “Carry on” Actor Sid James died of a heart attack live on stage at the theatre, prompting a longstanding legend that the Empire’s dressing rooms are haunted by him. It is also affiliated with the mysterious disappearance of Molly Moselle which has also been associated with a ghost story.

The Empire Today now hosts some of the most popular musicals of the day, including most recently in October 2022 The Book of Mormon. For families, it also hosts an annual pantomime around Christmas Time. This has cemented its status as a Sunderland cultural icon, and without a doubt it is amongst the city’s best assets. You can see what shows are currently upcoming at the Empire here.

Nearby Amenities: The Dun Cow, Greens, Sunderland Travel lodge, Victors, The Bridges, Revolution, The Rabbit, University of Sunderland, Casa Italia, Mexico 70, Spice Empire