Evacuation at Sunderland Empire School of Rock premier was due to false alarm, firefighters confirm

Sunderland Empire’s opening night of School of Rock was cut short after a false alarm saw theatre goers being forced to evacuate the building mid-show, firefighters have confirmed.

Thursday, 7th October 2021, 1:58 pm

Members of the public were evacuated from Empire Theatre on High Street West in Sunderland city centre shortly after 10pm on Wednesday, October 6.

The West End show was building to its big ending when an emergency alarm came over the tanoy, telling the audience to leave the building.

Firefighters were called to the scene, which has now been confirmed to have been a false alarm.

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Sunderland Empire

While the waiting audience hoped the show could resume, they were told firefighters advised against it.

The Andrew Lloyd Webber musical is based on the hit 2003 movie starring Jack Black and marked the comeback of West End shows on Wearside for the first time since the start of the pandemic.

A spokesperson for Sunderland Empire Theatre said: “For the safety of our audience, staff and visiting company, the theatre was evacuated last night 7 minutes from the end of School of Rock due to a suspected fire within the theatre which was in fact a false alarm. The Fire Service advised us not to continue with the show in order to allow thorough checks could be made.”

Crowds were evacuated from Sunderland's Empire Theatre on Wednesday evening.

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Fire crews quickly arrived at the scene following the evacuation.