Sunderland Empire

Vesta Tilley laid the foundation stone of what is now the Sunderland Empire on 29 September 1906 and took to the stage on 1 July 1907 to officially declare the theatre open.

Masterminded by two of the contemporary heads of British theatre, Edward Moss and Osward Stoll, the Sunderland Empire theatre has undergone many changes since it opened but remains the North East’s premier entertainment venue.

Contact Details

High St West, Sunderland, SR1 3EX, UK
Contact Numbers
Access Assistance
Typetalk / Textphone
Groups 10+ & Schools
Calls to 02 & 03 numbers are charged at standard geographic rate and included in any call plan minutes
Opening Hours
The Box Office is open for 90 minutes prior to the performance commencing. See 'What's On' section for performance times

Security

ATG continues to make the safety and security of its customers and staff a priority. As such, please bear in mind that we may undertake bag checks, so recommend you leave extra time to avoid queues, and refrain from bringing suitcases, rucksacks and large bags into the Theatre. We politely ask audience members to refrain from singing and talking during a performance, unless invited to do so by performers on stage. Please be respectful to all members of staff who are there to ensure you have an enjoyable time. Many thanks for your cooperation.

Getting Here

By car
The nearest car park is The Bridges multi-storey. Please note, their rooftop car park has limited opening hours so please check before parking. St Mary's car park is also available nearby. See the Access section below for more information.
The nearest car park is The Bridges multi-storey. Please note, their rooftop car park has limited opening hours so please check before parking. St Mary's car park is also available nearby. See the Access section below for more information.
By train
Nearest train station is Sunderland (within 10 minutes' walk of the theatre). Travel by Tyne and Wear Metro for free up to 2 hours before and after the performance! Only valid when presenting a valid show ticket.
Nearest train station is Sunderland (within 10 minutes' walk of the theatre). Travel by Tyne and Wear Metro for free up to 2 hours before and after the performance! Only valid when presenting a valid show ticket.
By bus
Bus routes that pass the theatre include 3, 11, 12, 24, 53, 77a, 88, 91, 139, 159 and 453.
Bus routes that pass the theatre include 3, 11, 12, 24, 53, 77a, 88, 91, 139, 159 and 453.

Access

Contact Us - Please see our Access Contact Us page for details

Booking Information - Join our Access Membership Scheme to enable online booking for accessible seats, register for any available Access concessions and, for certain customers, reserve Personal Assistant tickets. Details on how to book Access tickets online are on our Booking With ATG Access Membership page.

Access Parking - We have limited Blue Badge parking down from the theatre. There is also an area that can be used as a drop off. There is a car park at Livingston Road which also offers blue badge parking and is a short walk from the Theatre.

Step Free Access and Wheelchairs

Our Foyer, Stalls and Dress Circle Bar are all accessible by lift or ask us for At Seat Service when you arrive.

We have step free access to our Stalls and Dress Circle levels. All stalls seats can be reached step free as can Boxes B and C and Row J in the Dress Circle. The main staircases in the theatre have handrails however there are no handrails inside the auditorium apart from in the Gallery.

For Wheelchair transfers we would recommend aisle seats in the stalls. The following seats are held off for access customers - Stalls P19-20, P20-21, H1-2, I1-2. Please note Seat T19 is not suitable for a wheelchair transfer due to the pillar situated next to it. We have wheelchair positions in Stalls row D38, F38, H38, J38, L38 and M38. Please note wheelchair positions in Row L and M can only accommodate a small standard wheelchair. These wheelchair positions are situated on a gentle incline. Boxes B and C in the Dress Circle can accommodate up to two standard wheelchairs and 2 companions.

The average seat width is 43cm and there are non-moveable arm rests in the Stalls, Dress Circle and Upper Circle. The Gallery seating has no armrests. The doors into the boxes are only 66cm/2’2” wide – wheelchairs wider than this won’t get in. The lift door access is 86-88cm (2’2”) across all levels. The height of box barrier is 80cm (2’7”).

Accessible Toilets - We have Accessible toilets on both our Stalls and Dress circle Levels which can all be accessed via a lift in our foyer bar. Access can be gained via a radar key however our staff can provide one if needed.

Access Performances - All upcoming Audio Described, Captioned, BSL Interpreted and Relaxed performances are listed on our Assisted Performances page.

Visual Impairment Services - Information about our venue’s audio description, touch tours and other visual services can be found on our Visual Impairment Services page. We recommend central seats in the front few rows of the stalls for customers who require a closer view of the stage. For Audio Described shows prime position is Stalls D – G  seats 11-30. Touch Tours/Q & A sessions may also be available to accompany Audio Described performances; this will be advertised on the web or brochure page for each show.

Hearing Impairment Services - Information about our venue’s hearing enhancement systems, signed performances and other hearing services can be found on our Hearing Impairment Services page. Our venue has an Infra-Red system. Please ask our door staff to supply one for you. A small deposit may be required and refunded on return of the headset. Please indicate at the time of booking how many headsets you require. We recommend Stalls row D – G seat numbers 11-30 for the best experience. For Captioned performances, we recommend seats in row A and B of the Dress Circle. We have 13 pairs of the Infra-Red headphones and 10 pairs of the headsets which work alongside hearing aids.

Useful Links - For any resources such as Symbol Resources or links to our Euan's Guide page, please see our Additional Resources.

Further Information and Questions - Details of company-wide Access Services are available in our Access Section. Any other questions please see our FAQ’s.