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24 September 2014
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The Empire Theatre - The History

Empire Theatre
This theatre opened in 1925, on a site which had housed a theatre since 1866.

The Empire Theatre opened on the 9th March 1925, with the opening production of 'Better Days', starring Stanley Lupino, Maisie Gay and Ruth French.

However, another theatre once stood on the present site, The New Prince of Wales Theatre and Opera House which opened on the 15th October 1866.

At the time it was Liverpool’s largest theatre, but it was only about three-quarters of the size of the existing Empire.

On July 29th 1867 its name changed to the Royal Alexandra Theatre and Opera House to honour the Princess of Wales.

After closing in 1894 the theatre opened in 1895 under the ownership of Empire Theatre (Liverpool) Ltd, although it still remained Alexandra.
In 1886 the theatre changed its name to the Empire after it was sold to Messrs. Moss and Thornton for £30,000. It opened on the 19th December 1896, with Oscar Barrett’s famous pantomime Cinderella.

The theatre then closed its doors on Saturday 16th February 1924 for the building of the new theatre which can be seen today.

In July 1977 Moss Empires reviewed plans to dispose of the theatre after making a loss over the previous five years, and two years later in April 1979 Merseyside County Council saved the theatre.

By October 1979, £330,00 had been spent on the back stage and a further £350,000 in 1980.
The improvements included new lighting facilities, sound system and new dressing rooms.
The second phrase included the stage and orchestra pit being extended. Today improvements are still being made to the theatre by its present owners Clear Channel Entertainment.

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