Lovers of the theatre can now share the gift of a live show experience at one of the beloved venues in the North East with their dear ones.

Sunderland Empire Theatre, at High Street West, has become the latest business to join a hugely successful gift card scheme.

And that means anyone gifted a card can now use it in person at the Box Office when snapping up tickets for any number of top shows such as this year’s pantomime Beauty and the Beast, Rocky Horror Show or Disney’s Aladdin.

The gift card can also be used when purchasing refreshments from the bar when attending a show.

More than 190 businesses have signed up to the scheme since it was launched by Sunderland BID in 2020 and more than £150,000 worth of gift cards have been sold, providing a huge boost to the local economy.

Buyers are able to purchase them online, as a digital and physical gift card, or in person at sales points across the city and beyond.

The gift cards can then be redeemed at any participating retailer, business or leisure outlet – making them an ideal Christmas gift for those of all ages, a corporate reward for staff or a thank-you gift for loyal clients.

Widely recognised as one of the most beautiful theatres in the country, the Sunderland Empire has hosted some of the country’s biggest stars, from Charlie Chaplin to the Beatles.

In recent years it has brought North East audiences some of the West End’s biggest shows, with next year’s programme featuring everything from Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap to Wicked, SIX, Shrek The Musical, The Wizard of Oz and Only Fools and Horses The Musical.

Marie Nixon, Theatre Director at Sunderland Empire, said: “Sunderland Gift Card is such an important initiative for the local economy and I’m thrilled the theatre has joined all the other local businesses that are taking part.

“We’ll be accepting the gift card for bookings made in person at the Box Office, and also on refreshments in our front of house areas.”

Sharon Appleby, Chief Executive of Sunderland BID, said it was “great news” that Sunderland Empire Theatre had joined the scheme.

“We know that people travel from far and wide to attend performances so a Sunderland gift card is an ideal present for theatre lovers anywhere,” she said.

Gift cards can be purchased via or at physical sales points including the Bridges, Museum and Winter Gardens and Houghton and Washington libraries.

The gift card can be purchased as a digital download which can be delivered directly to the recipient’s device wallet.

Any businesses wanting to join the scheme should email

Get Sunderland Magazine in your inbox.

* indicates required


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here