A Brief History

The building which houses the Empire Theatre originally opened its doors as The McCarthy Theatre in 1938 as a venue for both feature films and live performance. After 24 years of operation the McCarthy closed its doors in 1962 and would remain vacant until 1974 when it became Stephen Licence Ltd., a sports and hobby store.

While Stephen Licence owner Gerry Bongard did make some minor changes to the building he left most of the interior intact hoping that someday it would be returned to its original use.

The Dream Begins

In March of 2002, Royal Lepage ProAlliance broker/ owner Mark Rashotte purchased the McCarthy building with a dream of bringing to Belleville a state of the art theatre for live performance and cinema. Rashotte, also a professional musician and recording artist, spent many years touring Canada and the Northeast United States performing in various theatrical venues. Over the years he developed a unique insight as to what a performing arts centre should provide to both the audience and entertainer.

The Building of the Dream

In the fall of 2002, a highly skilled design and construction team began the task of transforming the McCarthy building into the new Empire Theatre and Centre For Performing Arts. With respect for building’s past and an eye to the future, the 700 seat Empire Theatre opened its doors in September 2003. The dream became a reality.

Technical Information

Technical specifications and other important information to individuals and groups looking to rent the theatre’s facilities. To book the The Empire Theatre today, please call (613) 969-0099.

Download Full Technical Specification Details:
Audio Overview (Download PDF)
Lighting Overview (Download PDF)
Stage Layout (Download PDF)

Technical & Lighting Director – Brandon Kull – 613-827-4425

Theatre Manager – Chris Palmer – 613-243-8441


The Empire Theatre & Centre for the Performing Arts is independently owned and operated and is not affiliated with the chain Empire Theatres. Only Gift Certificates issued by The Empire Theatre & Centre for the Performing Arts are accepted. All other coupons/gift cards are not valid at this establishment.