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Sunderland Empire Sunderland

Sunderland Empire Tickets

About the Sunderland Empire

Sunderland Empire, the largest theatre in the North East of England, first opened in July 1907 as the Empire Palace. It initially staged variety and music hall shows and throughout the 20th century has played host to a number of significant moments in live theatre. In 1967, Academy Award winner Helen Mirren made her stage debut at the Empire in David Halliwell’s Little Malcolm and His Struggle Against the Eunuchs, whilst Carry On star Sid James passed away from a heart attack whilst performing in The Mating Season on 29 April 1976. 

Boasting a large, traditionally decorated auditorium in a red and gold colour scheme and capacity of 2,000, Sunderland Empire was refurbished and the stage expanded in 2004. This allowed large scale West End productions to visit the venue whilst on tour. The theatre reopened with Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Starlight Express, and in 2005 hosted the European premiere of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’s first ever touring production. 

Currently operated by Ambassador Theatre Group, Sunderland Empire regularly welcomes live music events, touring musicals, opera, ballet, dance and local amateur productions.

Frequently Asked Questions

The box office opens for ticket collection 90 minutes before the start of the performance.
Public spaces at the theatre open up to 90 minutes before the start of a performance. The lavish bar is a good place to relax with a drink before the performance begins, but arrive early if you would like a seat.
The venue has 5 bars, located on the Foyer, Stalls and Dress Circle levels. Theatregoers can also book bespoke Ambassador Lounge packages when purchasing tickets online.

The theatre’s own pizza restaurant, Pizza Al Teatro, is open for pre-show dining. The menu includes a range of sourdough pizzas, sharing platters and desserts.
A cloakroom is available in the Ambassador Lounge. Please note that large items of luggage cannot be accepted in the cloakroom.
Aperitif Bar and Kitchen is a popular pre-theatre dining spot, with Italian favourites such as pizza and pasta served alongside small sharing plates. For fans of Indian food, Spice Empire is just across the road from Sunderland Empire and serves South Asian dishes with a modern twist.
Hilton Garden Inn is a short walk from the theatre, offering comfortable rooms, a restaurant and bar at affordable prices. For visitors on a budget, Travelodge Central is also very close to the theatre.
Customers can contact the box office team for booking enquiries by calling 0333 009 6690 or emailing

Past Shows At Sunderland Empire

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