The idea for the theatre came from William Henry Broadhead of Messrs, W Broadhead & Sons. It opened for business as "The Empire" on Monday 21 November 1904.
Following an attempt to convert it into a bingo hall, a 21 year lease was bought by Tameside Council, and the theatre was relaunched as Tameside Theatre in 1976. The building was bought by the council in 1983.
In 1992, a contract to manage the theatre was given to Apollo Leisure (who were subsequently bought by Live Nation).
In 2007 Tameside Council began the tendering process for the management of the theatre. The incumbent operator, Live Nation, did not take part. The company later submitted a bid outside the tender process, for a fee of double their existing rate. Live Nation followed their initial offer by offering to run the theatre free of charge until a new management was found. This offer was declined by the council.
A council statement said that it was unaffordable, and that the offer did not take into account required investment in the theatre. No contract was awarded and the theatre subsequently closed on 1 April 2008.
Tameside Council are currently seeking funding for the refurbishment for the theatre, a sustainable business model for it and a new operator. The council have stated that the theatre will not reopen until such a time that this has been done.
On Sept 6th 2009 it was reported that the Hippodrome will be torn down. No new buyers came forward for the building or to take it over as a working theatre. Since then the Tameside Hippodrome has been recognised as a listed building.
In June 2012 it was announced that the theatre would reopen in spring 2013, operated by a charitable trust. 
- "Tameside Hippodrome". Retrieved 2006-08-02.
- "East of the M60". Retrieved 2012-06-16.