Sunderland Empire’s iconic Terpsichore statue is being returned to her rightful place in the city’s skyline this weekend.
The statue of the Greek muse of dancing and choral song became dislodged in high winds last January and had to be removed from the High Street West venue for safety.
After being fully repaired by a fibreglass specialist, she is due to be reinstalled, weather permitting, on top of the building’s 90ft tower on Sunday at 8am.
The statue which was damaged is a fibre glass replica of the original bronze/gold statue, which is located at the top of the main staircase in the theatre. The original Terpsichore was moved for safety reasons during WWII after a bomb which had fallen nearby rocked the building.
Though the damaged replica statue was silver, the 100kg statue has been made bronze/gold to match the original model. A crane will be drafted in for the reinstallation which should take around 45 minutes, with a new stainless steel tube inserted for refixing to the colonnade.
Ben Phillips, general manager at Sunderland Empire, said: “Terpsichore is an iconic part of the theatre and the statue has been missed locally by both patrons and staff.
“We are delighted that specialists have been able to repair and restore the statue for the reinstallation at our beautiful theatre.”
The Grade II-listed Edwardian theatre is managed by the Ambassador Theatre Group (ATG) on behalf of the Sunderland Empire Trust and is supported by Sunderland City Council.
Portfolio Holder for Public Health, Wellness and Culture, Coun John Kelly, said: “Terpsichore has been a much loved feature of the city’s skyline for as long as most of us can remember.
“So it will be wonderful to see her back in her rightful place on top of the Sunderland Empire after the painstaking work to repair and restore her to her former glory.”
A spokesperson for Ambassador Theatre Groups (ATG) said: “The façade repairs project that includes repair of the Terpsichore statue damaged in high winds is part of a substantial capital improvement plan which has been budgeted for Sunderland Empire for 2016/17 as part of Ambassador Theatre Group’s ongoing commitment to invest into capital projects.”
Other investments being made at the theatre include front of house refurbishments and extensive refurbishment to the dress circle bar and the creation of a bistro with the work commencing in January 2017.