Theatre Royal Wakefield 1894: This is the smallest of Matcham’s surviving theatres, an intimate 500 seater.
Theatre Royal Wakefield 1894: Small and perfectly formed auditorium with modern painted panels juxtaposed.
Theatre Royal Newcastle 1901: The theatre’s classical exterior by John and Benjamin Green 1837 is a landmark in Grey Street and one of the finest of its kind in the UK.
Theatre Royal Newcastle 1901: A finely restored proscenium view.
Theatre Royal Nottingham 1865: C J Phipps’ original Corinthian colonnade fronting the 1897 Matcham auditorium.
Theatre Royal Nottingham 1865: The 1897 interior by Frank Matcham and 1978 modernised front of house spaces by RHWL.
Kings Southsea 1907: A later period Matcham with corner tower and the figure above recently reinstated.
Kings Southsea 1907: Exhibits Matcham’s extraordinary ability to plan a big theatre (1600 seats today) on an absurdly small site between two converging streets. The Baroque auditorium shows no sign of forced economy.
New Theatre Royal Portsmouth 1856: Original architect unknown. Phipps facade 1882 with Matcham enclosed balcony addition 1900 installed when the auditorium was remodelled.
New Theatre Royal Portsmouth 1900: auditorium showing Phipps and Matcham features restored in 2015 and new stage house added.
Richmond Theatre London 1899: The ‘Theatre on the Green’ Photo: Richmond Theatre
London Palladium 1868: Originally the Corinthian Bazaar and Hengler’s Grand Cirque in 1871 (J T Robinson) and rebuilt by Frank Matcham in a ‘French Rococo’ style 1910 but retaining the Corinthian facade.
London Palladium: Matcham’s 1910 ‘French Rococo’ auditorium, wider than it is deep, a late and magnificent creation of the variety palace boom. Photo: The Really Useful Theatres Group Ltd
London Hippodrome 1900: Originally built as a circus for Edward Moss but converted to a variety theatre in 1909. Its interior was devastated by conversion into a cabaret restaurant in 1958.
London Hippodrome 1909: A new conversion to a casino with a small theatre space in 2013, saw the greater part of the auditorium (now a gaming room) restored to Matcham’s designs.
London Coliseum 1904: the Coliseum is Matcham’s masterwork.
Matcham’s London Coliseum is of outstanding architectural and theatrical significance and listed Grade II*. The very large stage is put to good use by English National Opera ENO. Photo courtesy of English National Opera.
Hackney Empire London 1901: The theatre building restored and significant Tim Ronald designed extension added recently.
Hackney Empire London 1901: A magnificent example of a turn-of-the-century variety palace showing Matcham at his most imaginative. The return of this theatre to variety use has been one of the most impressive and unlikely examples of theatre revival in recent years. Photo: Paris Penny courtesy Hackney Empire.
Shepherds Bush Empire London 1903: Built for variety and for many years the BBC TV Theatre, most of the interior restored when converted back from a TV studio, only the box fronts still missing.
Hammersmith Lyric London: Frank Matcham’s 1895 auditorium recreated within this 1979 council block and recently extended.
Victoria Palace London 1911: The last of the great variety palaces built by Matcham for the four variety theatre magnates. This one for Alfred Butt, built on the site of an early music hall. The figure of Pavlova crowning the dome, is a modern replacement for the original lost during the war.
Victoria Palace London 1911: The auditorium, one of the last by Matcham, might be seen as his magnificent swansong.
Bristol Hippodrome 1912: The much altered front now lacks its tower and globe. The Hippodrome was Matcham’s last major theatre. It was a big music hall with a huge tank under the stage for aquatic performances.
Bristol Hippodrome 1912: The interior is less ornamented than Matcham’s earlier theatres and it has lost its auditorium paintings but it is still an impressive late work. Photo: Oliver Jordan courtesy ATG
Buxton Opera House 1903: A splendid exterior in a pleasure gardens setting. The Opera House, with adjoining Winter Gardens, is a fine ornament to this spa town.
Buxton Opera House 1903: The baroque interior with white marble foyer and auditorium decorated by Matcham’s most trusted decorator, Felix de Jong, has been impressively restored.
Everyman Cheltenham 1891: Matcham had been building theatres since 1879 but demolitions have robbed us of all his early work. The Everyman is now his earliest surviving theatre. The facade promises very little but the interior is a delight.
Everyman Cheltenham 1891: The auditorium is one of Matcham’s finest. It was faithfully restored and the front of house spaces were sensitively improved in 2011.
Blackpool Grand 1894: This theatre was threatened with demolition in 1973, but became one of the first to turn the tide of post war destruction that had robbed the country of hundreds of fine theatres. Typical of many of Matcham’s buildings, the exterior gives no warning of the splendour within.
Blackpool Grand 1894: This gorgeous, finely restored auditorium represents Matcham at the height of his powers. The paintings are by Binns of Halifax, one of his favourite decorators.
Devonshire Park Theatre Eastbourne 1884: The external design is that of Henry Currey 1884. The auditorium was redesigned by Frank Matcham in 1903.
Devonshire Park Theatre Eastbourne 1903: Matcham converted Currey’s low-key auditorium to one of Edwardian splendour.
Blackpool Tower 1894: The Tower is a great landmark, surrounded by a complete entertainment complex by Maxwell & Tuke. It contains two magnificent interiors by Frank Matcham.
Blackpool Tower Circus 1894: One of only two purpose built circuses still working in the UK. Set between the legs of the tower, it has a splendid interior. The circus ring is floodable for aquatic events.
Blackpool Tower Ballroom 1899: Not a theatre, but employing Matcham’s full architectural repertoire to produce one of the finest rooms of any description in late Victorian England.
Liverpool Olympia 1905: The Olympia is a landmark in a part of the city, Everton, that has been through traumatic changes. Its altered exterior is impressive only for its size. The pleasures are all internal. The interior is a survivor of national importance.
Liverpool Olympia 1905: The auditorium gives an impression of vastness, having been designed as a variety theatre with a proscenium stage, but also with a traditional arena capable of staging circus spectacle. Originally the arena had machinery to allow it to be sunk and flooded with water. Large plaster elephant head decorations are a reminder of its early life.
Harrogate Royal Hall 1903: Designed by Robert J Beale with Frank Matcham, the Kursaal was intended for general daytime entertainment, music and promenading, but it features many of the attributes of theatrical design.
Gaiety Douglas Isle of Man 1900: An example of Matcham’s architectural ingenuity. He built his new theatre within the structural shell and under the glass roof of the existing Pavilion building of 1891.
Gaiety Douglas Isle of Man 1900: The auditorium is a masterpiece, superbly restored with historical accuracy in the 1990’s. The ceiling is one of the finest in Britain, with a central light whose design was recreated from fragments of glass found in the roof void.
King’s Glasgow 1904: Matcham was often designing theatres on cramped sites which allowed little opportunity for external display, but the King’s offered a prominent and generous (for its time) site. Matcham was able to produce a landmark building in Dumfriesshire red sandstone.
King’s Glasgow 1904: The auditorium is a tour de force, Baroque (so far as Matcham’s joyful interiors can ever be identified with a recognised historical style) and unaltered. Unfortunate alterations in other parts of the theatre are undergoing progressive restoration to their proper form and decorative appearance.
Belfast Grand Opera House 1895: Matcham’s magnificent auditorium is probably the best surviving oriental style theatre interior in the UK, though the exterior displays Baroque and Flemish influences as well. The theatre suffered significant damage during the recent troubles, but it has been repaired and with updated production and front of house facilities installed.
Belfast Grand Opera House 1895: The auditorium is largely Indian in style with elephant heads and a Hindi (?) script that defies attempts at translation.
Brighton Hippodrome 1897: Shown here in 2013, a prime example of an exterior that says nothing of the wonders within. It started life in 1897 as an ice skating rink designed by Lewis Kerslake. The circular plan made it suitable for conversion by Matcham to a circus and then a music hall in 1902.
Brighton Hippodrome 1897: The last day on bingo and then closure 8 August 2006 for this magnificent adornment to Brighton’s theatrical heritage – the campaign to save it is ongoing.
His Majesty’s Aberdeen 1906: A rare sight. A late Matcham theatre in monumental style, faced entirely with granite. It looks quite silvery when it rains (which it does!)
His Majesty’s Aberdeen 1906: The auditorium is in Matcham’s later Baroque manner, with three curving balcony fronts, stacked vertically, one above the other, with little or no set-back.
Tivoli Aberdeen 1872: The auditorium was altered by Matcham, but what is seen here is the original facade by C J Phipps and James Matthews.
Tivoli Aberdeen 1872: Frank Matcham altered Phipp’s auditorium in 1897, then carried out a more radical recasting in 1909. Recently restored and back in theatrical use.
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