Empire’s final bill

The final show line up at the Empire Theatre, Portsmouth.
The final show line up at the Empire Theatre, Portsmouth.
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On Saturday, August 30, 1958, after 67 years of entertaining Portsmouth people, the last acts appeared at the Empire Theatre, Edinburgh Road, Portsmouth, leaving the city with just the Theatre Royal and the Kings Theatre.

The theatre opened as the Coliseum in 1891 and played to full houses throughout the two world wars. But with the advent of television audiences dwindled, although the theatre was making money.

However, the owners were offered a princely sum which was accepted and the week after the Empire closed everything was auctioned and the theatre demolished to make way for a Sainsbury’s store.

The final shows were somewhat risqué for the times and with 18 different acts the audience certainly seems to have got value for money.