Empire’s boss takes final bow

Sunderland Empire General Manager, Andrew Rawlinson.
Sunderland Empire General Manager, Andrew Rawlinson.
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THE man praised for bringing West End shows to Sunderland is leaving the city’s Empire Theatre.

After two years at the High Street West venue, general manager Andrew Rawlinson has announced his resignation to take up the same role at Liverpool’s Empire Theatre.

During his time in Sunderland, Andrew has been instrumental in bringing the very best in theatre to the region, including We Will Rock You, The Sound of Music, Hairspray and White Christmas.

Due to the success of these shows, the future looks bright for Sunderland Empire with Grease, Sister Act, Legally Blonde and also the fastest-selling musical of all time, Dirty Dancing, all being performed on Wearside in the coming months.

Andrew said: “I have received such a warm welcome in the North East, which is alive with vibrant cultural and creative activity – the theatre, the Stadium of Light, the Airshow, and such a wide range of theatrical and artistic provision.

“It has been a real honour to have worked with such an enthusiastic Theatre Trust, chaired by Coun Wright, and such a vibrant, enthusiastic and forward-looking council team of officers under the chief executive. And to work in a venue that is so loved by its users is a real honour and privilege.

“I shall miss the people, staff, council officers and trust members very much, and look forward to visiting again in the near future.”

Andrew is a passionate believer in the region’s burgeoning entertainments and culture scene.

He sat on the board of Tourism Tyne and Wear before it ceased operation due to the removal of funding and was recently appointed a governor of Sandhill View Specialist Arts College in Sunderland.

He is said to have galvanised the venue’s commitment to outreach, education and community involvement and engagement.

A new general manager is expected to be announced within the next few weeks.