Behind the scenes at Sunderland Empire

Behind the scenes at Sunderland Empire

This September, the public have the rare opportunity to go behind the scenes at the Sunderland Empire with a free theatre tour to celebrate Heritage Open Days.

Two free theatre tours will be running on Thursday 8 September (1.30-2.30pm) and Friday 9 September (12-1pm) concluding with free tea and coffee. Places on these tours are limited and pre-booking is essential on 0844 871 3022 or bookable in person at the Box Office.

Heritage Open Days is the largest heritage festival in the country and every September thousands of venues across the country open their doors to celebrate the country’s fantastic architecture and culture by offering free access to places that are usually closed to the public or normally charge for admission.  

Vesta Tilley laid the foundation stone 110 years ago this month (29 September 1906) and took to the stage on 1 July 1907 to officially declare the theatre open. Since then generations of performers have trodden the boards from Charlie Chaplin to the Beatles. Most recently the venue has hosted North East premieres from Starlight Express, Miss Saigon, The Lion King, Wicked and War Horse through to the locally poignant production of Billy Elliot the Musical earlier this year.

The theatre tours at Sunderland Empire are a great opportunity to enjoy stories of this spectacular Edwardian theatre’s fascinating history and also a chance to find out interesting facts and discover the answers to questions you’ve always wanted to ask.

Please note that tours do not include show ticket and backstage access is not available. Tours are subject to availability and routes may change. Tours may involve a number of stairs however accessible route available upon request when booking.

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Did you know?

Perhaps Sunderland's most prominent landmark is Penshaw Monument. It was built in 1844 in honour of the first Earl of Durham, John George Lambton. Penshaw was modelled on Theseion, the Temple of Thesus in Athens.

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