Empire Theatre could be ‘jewel’ of Burnley

The old Empire Theatre building in Burnley.'Photo Ben Parsons
The old Empire Theatre building in Burnley.'Photo Ben Parsons

Isn’t it time the Empire Theatre in Cow Lane, Burnley, was refurbished?

With a grant from the National Lottery and cash from benefactors i.e. local operatic societies and the public, plus voluntary helpers, carpenters, electricians and builders could all get together, like when Colne saved its Hippodrome Theatre with local help and The Grand, Blackpool, was saved by Ken Dodd with local help and donations. The Empire could be the jewel of Burnley.

Seating over 1,000, it could stage major productions. It is the only real theatre left, with a past proud heritage, where Gracie Fields first sang and Charlie Chaplin used to play cards with my late grandfather Ernest at a nearby whist club.

I appeared there with Burnley Light Opera in “The Merry Widow” in 1963, which was televised, playing to packed houses. A recent photo of the interior showed everything is still intact, so come on you theatre lovers and rescue it before it’s too late.

Brian Watson

Burnley