Opened in 1907, the Sunderland Empire is the North East of England’s flagship theatre venue. This beautiful Edwardian theatre is one of the region’s largest theatres, capable of squeezing in up to 2,200 people, and it serves as an excellent variety entertainment venue, hosting theatre, dance, comedy and touring musicals. The Sunderland Empire was officially opened in 1907 by variety and vaudeville star Vesta Tilley, with its owners Richard Thorton and Edward Moss aiming to open up theatres to working class people in the region. As theatre declined with the rise of television and cinema, the Empire was taken over by Sunderland City Council who managed to keep the venue afloat. The Empire re-opened in 1960 and played host to numerous important performances, including a visit by The Beatles during their first UK national tour. In the early 2000s the Empire’s operators changed hands again and the venue underwent a multi-million pound refurbishment. The upgrades to the Empire mean that it is proudly the only theatre between Edinburgh and Manchester capable of staging large West End productions, something it has done often since - Starlight Express, Miss Saigon and Footloose have all been performed there. See and compare all ticket prices for events at the Sunderland Empire below to find yourself the cheapest deal.