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The Empire Palace was built as a live theatre in 1885 to the designs of architect Jos W. Wardle. It became a cine-variety theatre in 1912. The original seating capacity was for 1,160, the proscenium is 26 feet wide, the stage 20 feet deep and there are nine dressing rooms.
In 1920 a new circle was installed to the designs of architect Howard Hill and in 1929 a new projection box was installed when it began use as a full time cinema.
In 1966 it was closed and became a bingo club. Later the local council purchased the building and re-opened it as the Empire Theatre, with a mixed programme of live performances and cinema use. The Empire was fully re-furbished in 2003/2004 and now has a seating capacity of 503.
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