Sunderland Empire

Sunderland Empire Theatre - part of Ambassador Theatre Group 

Sunderland Empire is a Grade II listed Edwardian building situated within the heart of Sunderland City Centre. Known as 'The West End of The North East' the theatre is famous for its' programme of high profile musicals and dramatic performances as well as a venue for local performers including theatre and dance schools of the region. 

Find us at...

  • Sunderland Empire
  • 4-5 High Street West
  • Sunderland
  • SR1 3EX

Our family-friendly offer

The Creative Learning & Community Partnerships Team at the Sunderland Empire offer pre-show family activities for appropriate shows: 'Get Creative' events have given families opportunities to take part in show themed crafts and games prior to a performance in order to engage more fully with their theatre experience. 

CLCP coordinate venue scale tours for the general public throughout the year, providing the opportunity for families to engage with the productions which visit the theatre, the history of the Empire as well as our theatre's place within local heritage. During the festive period we also host our fantastic 'Fairy Tale Tours' taking families on a Panto themed adventure throughout our venue, where attendees are urged to join our tour guide in the search for hidden clues, to help solve the mystery so that the show can go on!


A Sunderland Empire Visual Guide (Social Story) is available prior to your visit to us by emailing

A symbol resource on going to the pantomime is available to download here.

If you would like to be kept updated about future Assisted Performances by email, please contact

Venue Access Information

Wheelchair Access: There are eight spaces in the stalls where wheelchair users can remain in their wheelchairs. Access is on the flat via a lift. Alternatively patrons may wish to transfer to a fixed seat, a member of staff can store a vacated wheelchair in the nearest bar area. Please note that patrons must be able to vacate the building quickly in case of evacuation. If you are unsure of the best option for you, please discuss this with our Box Office or Ticket Centre staff when booking.

Please note that the Upper Circle and Gallery are not accessible by lift and are therefore unsuitable for those with limited mobility.

Supported Experiences 

During a supported experience usual arrangements are in place within the auditorium, including latecomer’s rules, and there are no technical adjustments to the performance. Families should expect pyros, possible strobes and loud sound effects. Those who are sensory sensitive are advised to bring any equipment needed for support e.g. ear defenders.

This is not a Relaxed Performance. What we can offer is: 

  • Quiet spaces.
  • TV relay of the performance in Dress Circle bar.
  • Preparation pack available – Visual Story and Widget symbol resource, explanation of the story and characters.
  • Familiarisation visits can be arranged.
  • Supportive staff attending will be present.
  • Early entry into Auditorium may be able to be arranged but not guaranteed.
  • Families are urged to get in touch with us to explain what specific support they need to help support their visit.

To be kept up to date, please email For all performances, there is a Sennheiser infrared system available in all areas of the auditorium. This can be used with or without a hearing aid. When you arrive at the theatre, please speak to a member of our Front of House team who will give you the equipment and show you how to use it. Please note there is a fully refundable £10 deposit for the loan of the equipment.

Guide, hearing and other working dogs are welcome in all parts of the theatre.

Accessible toilets are located at the Stalls and Dress Circle levels and in the stalls bar as you enter the theatre.


Classic FM
Fun Kids
In Your Area
Age Of Creativity
Circus 250
The List
Get Creative
Arts Award
Theatre Tokens
Where Can We Go
London Theatre

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