The Liverpool Empire Theatre is located on the corner of Lime Street and London Road in Liverpool, Merseyside, England. The theatre is the second to be built on the site, and was opened in 1925.
In October 1866 a new theatre, named The Prince of Wales Theatre and Opera House opened in Liverpool, on Lime Street. About three quarters the size of the theatre that stands today, it was lit by gas light and all the stage machinery was controlled by steam power. The very first production was the opera Faust, performed by an Italian company. Within a year the theatre had been renamed and became the Alexandra Theatre and Opera House, probably because the Prince of Wales married Princess Alexandra and it was named after her. The theatre staged a variety of shows, mainly focussing on opera but also featuring plays, ballet and musical shows.
In 1895 a company called Moss Empires bought the theatre for £30,000. Moss Empires were a large theatrical company that eventually went on to become the Stoll Moss Group, and owned many ‘Empire’ theatres around the country. They changed the name of the theatre again, it now became the Empire Theatre, our name for just over one hundred years. They had the theatre refurbished by famous theatre architect Frank Matcham, and then continued to run the theatre along the same lines, opening with the pantomime Cinderella and also producing a number of variety shows.
The Empire Theatre that stands today was opened in March 1925, entirely rebuilt and enlarged to become the most up to date theatre in the provinces. It had the widest auditorium in Europe, and with a seating capacity of 2,381 is one of the largest two tier theatres in the country.
In 2001 Apollo Leisure became part of a large American company called Clear Channel Entertainment before the theatrical division of CCE became known as Live Nation. Recently the Ambassador Theatre Group completed the acquisition of all of Live Nation’s UK theatres, including the Liverpool Empire. ATG is also one of the country’s foremost theatre producers and has been behind some of the most successful and innovative productions in Britain and internationally.