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The Empire Theatres is the largest performing arts precinct in regional Australia and boasts several performance and function spaces. Renowned for its classic art deco architecture, the heritage listed theatre is the jewel of the Darling Downs. It is wholly owned by Toowoomba Regional Council and managed on it’s behalf by Empire Theatres Pty Ltd.


The Empire Theatre originally opened with the latest technology on 29 June, 1911 as ‘Empire Pictures’. In the early evening of Wednesday 22 February 1933, fire broke out at the Empire Theatre and  most of the original building was destroyed. The northern and southern walls were the only thing left standing and were incorporated into the rebuilding of the theatre, completed and reopened on 27 November the same year. This rebuild was done in the detailed art deco style, popular at the time. It’s seating capacity was 2400 patrons.

For many years the Empire was the cultural hub of Toowoomba, a meeting place and regular entertainment spot for the entire community. By 1971, competition from other forms of entertainment, including television, resulted in the eventual closure of the large theatre. After closure, the theatre was used as a warehouse and by the local TAFE before falling into disrepair. It sat, slowly decaying & seemingly lost forever, until a need for Toowoomba to have a performing arts complex saw the Empire Theatre undergo an award-winning restoration before holding a grand reopening on 28 June, 1997.


Empire Theatres Foundation

The Empire Theatres Foundation is a charitable trust which seeks to provide performing arts opportunities to further the cultural experiences and professional development of young people in the Toowoomba region. The patron of the Foundation is acclaimed stage and screen actor Geoffrey Rush, who first experienced live theatre at the Empire as a child growing up in Toowoomba.

Host City

As Queensland’s largest inland City, Toowoomba retains country charm with a growing urban coffee culture and street art scene.

Also known as the Garden City, Toowoomba is home to hundreds of parks and gardens as well as the iconic Carnival of Flowers spring event. No matter when you visit, you’ll discover rolling plains, vibrant country towns, bright sunflower farms and quaint hamlets. Head to the Garden City during the month of September and join the festivities as the city blooms to life to celebrate the beginning of Spring with the Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers. Discover why they call Toowoomba the Garden City with a visit to Australia’s second most populous inland city. Getting there is easy, whether you come by road, rail or air – look for the Great Dividing Range and rise 700m above it.

Once you arrive, you’ll soon see how the town earnt its moniker, with 150 plus parks and gardens around its city-surrounds. Time your visit for spring to soak up the atmosphere of the Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers, a ten day festival of food and florals that takes over the region.

Regardless of what season you visit, you’ll find a bustling CBD filled with a cafe and street art scene and see why Toowoomba is one of Australia’s fastest growing cities.

Getting Here

Just 90 minutes drive west from Brisbane, sitting 700 metres above sea level make your way up the Great Dividing Range. You’ll find a town with a big city feeling but a small-town heart. Welcome to Queensland’s largest inland city.