Sunderland Empire Theatre - part of Ambassador Theatre Group 

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

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

We do everything we can to make families feel welcome and included, and our wide ranging programme of shows has something for everyone. During your visit we can provide booster seats on request. We also have a limited number of wheelchair spaces which must be pre-booked at the theatre Box Office before you attend a show.  Various ticketing discounts are available, these can vary for each show so please check with the Box Office team for the most up to date information.

Garden Place Bistro is situated in the Dress Circle Bar which serves hot and cold food and has a family friendly menu. The bistro is very popular and we do recommend that tables are booked in advance of your visit on 0191 5661064 just to make sure we can have your table ready for your arrival. High chairs are available on request, please let the member of staff know you will require a high chair when making your booking.

Children under the age of three will only be admitted to selected family friendly shows, Babes in Arms tickets (suitable for children under 12 months) are also available for selected shows. Please note, Babes in Arms tickets are free of charge however they must be booked at the Box Office in advance, as they are required for entry into the theatre.

All our staff members are easily identifiable in uniform and name badges and will be happy to help with any questions you may have during your visit.

In addition to our programme of shows, we have a fantastic Creative Learning & Community Partnerships team who are based at Sunderland Empire. CLCP offer a wide range of family friendly activities both at the theatre and on outreach into the wider community. These include family craft events, theatre and music workshops as well as community events – look out for CLCP on our website or email to be popped on our family mailing list to keep up to date with upcoming family events.


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.


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