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Sunderland EmpireSunderland

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About the Sunderland Empire

Sunderland Empire Theatre is an early 1900’s theatre located in the heart of Sunderland city centre. Officially opening in July 1907, the venue is the largest theatre in the North East, and has been under the management of the Ambassador Theatre Group since 2010. With a seating capacity of 2,000, the theatre regularly hosts large-scale musicals, opera, ballet, dance and amateur productions. Oscar-winning actress Helen Mirren made her stage debut at the venue in 1967, appearing in David Halliwell’s award-winning Little Malcolm and His Struggle Against the Eunuchs.

Boasting a large, traditionally decorated auditorium with a modern seating rake, Sunderland Empire is built across four tiers; the Stalls, Dress Circle, Upper Circle and Gallery. The Dress Circle and Upper Circle are a similar size with approximately 350 to 400 seats each, whilst the Gallery is the smallest section with just over 200 seats. Views in the Stalls and Dress Circle are good throughout, whilst views from the Upper Circle and Gallery suffer slightly from the steep angle of the seating and distance from the stage.

Plan your visit

Public spaces at the theatre open up to 90 minutes before the start of a performance.
There is no cloakroom at Sunderland Empire. Theatregoers are encouraged to bring only small bags which can be taken into the auditorium.
A variety of security measures are in place at the theatre. Upon arrival, you may be asked to allow a front of house or security staff member to check your bag, so it is advised that you arrive early to avoid queues and be seated before the performance starts.
Sunderland Empire 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 Garden Place Bistro is open for pre-show dining. Tables can be booked by calling 0191 566 1064.
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 Sunderland Empire.

Help booking tickets

Customers can collect tickets at the box office up to 90 minutes before the start of their scheduled performance. Please bring the card you booked with and your confirmation email, as this will help the box office team locate your tickets.
The box office opens for ticket collection 90 minutes before the first performance of the day.
Customers can contact the box office team for booking enquiries by calling 0333 009 6690 or emailing
STAR (Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers) are the industry body that regulates the sale of London theatre tickets. When booking from a company you can check their ticket seller database to see if they are registered and conforming to STAR practices. When buying online, you should also check for the padlock in your browser URL bar to ensure the connection is secure.
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