Shih Tzu from Seaham to star in Empire show

Shih Tzu from Seaham to star in Empire show

An adorable Shih Tzu called Bella Bear is set to take centre stage as a guest star at Sunderland Empire this month.

The search has been on to find a North East pooch to take their place in the spotlight when the beautiful and romantic opera La Bohème hits the Sunderland Empire stage this month (Saturday 11 March).

Following a flood of entries the Edwardian theatre has announce that Bella Bear, a seven year old Shih Tzu from Seaham will tread the boards as Musetta's dog in the cafe scene.

Bella Bear is a very relaxed pooch and likes nothing more than sleeping and people watching out of the window. Bella is owned by Kelly Monahan, a local teacher. Kelly brought Bella from the famous Santosha Shih Tzu Kennels and apparently Bella is a distant relative of the Queen Mother’s dog! Bella was a bridesmaid at Kelly’s wedding last year, so has experience being around lots of people and music and is not fazed by crowds, noise or light. Kelly will be appearing with Bella as Musetta's maid.

Puccini La Bohème is one of the most romantic operas ever written and introduces the International soprano Alyona Kistenyova as Mimi and starring Olga Perrier, the international French Soprano as Musetta. The new tour is traditionally staged featuring beautiful sets and costumes, with the set reflecting the Bohemian art of the period and will include a brass band, snow effects and Musetta’s dog will also make an entrance.

Set in Paris, it focuses on the love between seamstress Mimi and poet Rodolfo and this classic tale of Parisian love and loss features many famous arias including ‘Your Tiny Hand is Frozen’, ‘They Call Me Mimi’ and ‘Musetta’s Waltz’.

Sung in Italian with English surtitles.

Share this

Did you know?

L.S. Lowry spent his holidays in Sunderland at Seaburn, painting scenes of the coast, port and coal mines. The city is the home to one of the best collections of L.S. Lowry paintings in England.


Have you seen our lovely artwork of seafront events and attractions at Seaburn Metro station? We’re biased but it l… 7 hours 3 min ago
RT : Our new exhibition opens 10am on Sat 24 March - the BP Portrait Award 2017. Previously on show at 11 hours 38 min ago
RT : Great time earlier with and in preparation for and Active Sun… 13 hours 10 min ago
RT : 3 days to go! Join us for the opening of the new NGCA and the preview of Fiona Crisp: Material Sight this Friday 23… 14 hours 44 sec ago
RT : Dur dur dur… War of the Worlds (the comedy version) comes to ACW 6 April! Join as they recreate dead… 14 hours 19 min ago
RT : What a beautiful morning with at Port of Sunderland! 15 hours 47 min ago
RT : It's ! Why not visit Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens to celebrate it! FREE & open… 17 hours 57 min ago
If you’ve never seen , it’s third time lucky. This fantastic show is on until 31 March. 18 hours 29 min ago
We couldn’t agree more , the North East coast is beautiful, and we spotted our lovely in… 1 day 8 hours ago
Come on Spring, we’re ready for ewe! 1 day 18 hours ago
Great advice here 👇 we’ve got lots of accommodation options for different budgets and styles. 2 days 11 hours ago
RT : The all-important route is here: 3 days 15 hours ago
The poor never gets a break! 4 days 10 hours ago
RT : It may be cold out there today...but you'll always get a warm welcome at our cafe in the Museum & Winter Gardens. L… 4 days 14 hours ago
Restaurant week starts TODAY! Download your vouchers and get eating! 4 days 17 hours ago


Download the See it Do it app

Sign up to our newsletter