Frank Matcham was responsible for designing over 100 theatres. No two buildings were ever the same, but he developed a very personal style, with astonishing theatrical flair.
Although many were demolished during the 1950s and 1960s, the survivors are now much admired and many have been refurbished with the most modern technical and audience facilities, while retaining beautiful period details such as painted ceilings and decorative plaster work.

The Society was set up following the centenary of the Wakefield Theatre Royal in 1994.

Our members come from all over the U.K. and abroad.

We aim to:

  • visit and develop links with all the surviving Matcham theatres
  • encourage and carry out research into his life and work
  • visit theatres by other architects in the UK and abroad
  • appreciate great theatre architecture on our foreign visits
  • publish a regular Newsletter with news and details of visits
  • publish an annual Journal with more in-depth articles

Visit our JOIN us page and find out more.


 Our Summer 2018 Newsletter bumper issue already sent to members with a cover featuring our much loved and admired past Patron Sir Ken Dodd OBE, has a reminiscence of his life and the thanksgiving service at Liverpool Cathedral from our Chairman Mark Fox.

There is a write-up of our visit and Annual General Meeting in Nottingham, plus a postscript and photos from Gerry Atkins about the tour of Can Can at the Theatre Royal. There is also a write-up of the visit to the Bush Theatre and Shepherds Bush Empire courtesy of Academy Music Group, including a piece from Diana Walkden about the formative years of the Bush Theatre upstairs at its early pub home.

There are two articles from Giles Woodforde, one reviewing Michael Coveney & Peter Dazely’s book London Theatres and the other is a feature about the renovation of Matcham’s Victoria Palace with new interior designs by our own Clare Ferraby for Cameron Mackintosh. Our past President Rupert Rhymes contributes a feature on the national opera’s move to Matcham’s London Coliseum, and there’s information on more visits for 2018.









Cover image: Kings Theatre Southsea – Tim Ronalds Architects

Our 2018 Journal, already sent to members, features fully illustrated articles on:

Burning Theatres – Terrified Patrons! by our President Emeritus John Earl, who has been active in building conservation since 1956 and working exclusively on historic theatres for the last thirty years;
Wakefield’s New Centre for Creativity by Murray Edwards, who was Executive Director of the Theatre Royal in Wakefield for nineteen years;
Interview with the Architect: Tim Ronalds with our own Giles Woodforde, arts feature writer and reviewer.



Copies are free to members of the Frank Matcham Society
and available for purchase by non-members by sending a message to the Membership Secretary via the Contact form.









Home page photos: Royal Hall Harrogate drawing – Royal Hall Preservation Trust : Frank Matcham – Theatres Trust : Kings Southsea full house – Kings Theatre : Theatre Royal Wakefield proscenium – Frank Matcham Society : Gaiety Douglas IoM stage machinery – Frank Matcham Society : Gaiety Douglas IoM upper auditorium – Frank Matcham Society



FMS names graphic v1