Originally called the Empire Theatre of Varieties, this theatre opened in Burnley in 1894 with capacity to seat 1935 people.

Funded by the Directors of the Victoria Opera House Limited.
In 1995 the building became abandoned and has rapidly deteriorated both internally and externally. In 2013 it was reported that the owners of the Empire Theatre were given 8 weeks to make emergency repairs mainly to the exterior which was thought to be at risk of partial collapse onto nearby footpaths. However it does not appear that anyone from the Lancashire Theatre Company (the registered owners) have come forward to claim ownership.