2 people favorited this theater
This is allegedly the work of the Milburn Brothers (William and Thomas Ridley) who designed such theatres as the Dominion Theatre in London and Mayflower (Empire) Theatre in Southampton.
Looking at the exterior of the Empire Seaham Harbour it is difficult to credit this with much truth, however this does pre-date their monumental theatre work (excepting the Sunderland Empire) and they are known to have designed other buildings in the town, so it is just possible!
The Empire Vaudeville and Picture Palace opened on 1st July 1907 with 1,200 seats. The name was a mouthful that was soon shortened to just Empire Cinema from 1912. It had a good sized stage, but no fly tower and was equipped as a cinema from the start. After 1944, stage use largely ceased, and from around the 1980â??s it was used as a bingo hall. Much of the backstage area was apparently removed in 1953 when CinemaScope was installed. It was closed on 31st August 1968 with “South Pacific”.
In 1977 a serious fire damaged the building. It was purchased by the Durham City based Fairworld Cinemas and after repairs and alterations, including the sub-division of the balcony, it reopened as a 262 seat cinema in the former circle and a bingo club in the former stalls. It re-opened in the Summer of 1978 as the Fairfield Cinema. Although it has been reported that the seats and even projection equipment was left intact at that time, as it was under consideration to install a second cinema in the balcony, so the foyers, offices and everything above the first floor was mothballed. This plan however came to nought and later the cantilevered projection box was removed (scars remain on the side wall). The Fairfield Cinema was closed in March 1982, but bingo continued until 1993. The whole area was demolished in September 2006 prior to redevelopment.
Just login to your account and subscribe to this theater