The Music Hall and Theatre History Site
Dedicated to Arthur Lloyd, 1839 - 1904.


The Empire Theatre, Rosebank Street, Dundee

Formerly - The Dundee Empire Theatre of Varieties - Later - Odeon Cinema

Dundee Theatres

The Empire – holding 1,600 people – was originally known as the Dundee Empire Theatre of Varieties and opened in 1901 in Rosebank Street. It was designed by architect George Augustus Harris who was also Burgh Surveyor of Tayport, and the Theatre had stalls and a balcony, four boxes – two on each side of the stage - and five dressing rooms.

It started with variety, and soon added plays – great favourites being the Kingston Dramatic Company - revues, musical comedy, touring pantomime, and cine-variety.

Its manager James Creighton pioneered the two-house system in Scotland, when all others were presenting one house nightly.

For a number of years it was jointly managed with the Gaiety, when Creighton moved there. In 1911 it became a cinema and during the 1930s was redesigned by Glasgow architect James McKissack for the Singleton group before joining the Odeon circuit. Interestingly from 1932 variety was reintroduced in fifty-fifty programmes, twenty years after becoming a cinema. The Cinema Closed in the 1950s and was destroyed by fire in 1957, then demolished in 1962.

The above information on the Empire Theatre, Dundee was written for this site by Graeme Smith in February 2013.

If you have any more information or images for this Theatre that you are willing to share please Contact me.

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