Our programme of Events for 2024 will also include our AGM weekend in Blackpool in May, now booking for members, a ‘hard hat’ tour of Burnley Empire in July, and our foreign trip to Hamburg in late September, which is currently in the advanced planning stage.










In early 2024 we broacast a free Zoom ‘Terry’s Magical Theatre Tour’ (Part 2) a magical mystery tour of Europe’s theatres and opera houses with Terry Davis and his extensive photo collection.


Previously our 2023 visits and events programme included a tour in March of the historic Highgate West Cemetery where Frank Matcham and C J Phipps are buried, our AGM and return visit took us to the Kings Theatre in Southsea, Portsmouth in June, including three theatre tours that weekend.


Mid July 2023 and we were back in Douglas, Isle of Man, for their delayed 120 year anniversary celebration of Matcham’s Gaiety theatre and adjoining Villa Marina concert hall, held over due to Covid restrictions on travel.

Many of us attended the ‘Drury Lane of the North’ theatre heritage conference at the Tyne Theatre & Opera House in mid September.


Prague State Opera

Our 2023 international visit was to Prague in late September for backstage tours of its seven principal theatres, with free time for its world class museums and historical areas.









Our annual European Historic Theatres Day talk in October featured the work of Fellner and Helmer.


Photo: Nimax

January 2023 saw us at the just opened Soho Place Theatre, the first new theatre built in London’s West End for very many years. Our hosts took us through the various levels of this flexible space, and answered our many questions. Nimax ‘won’ the theatre from the development to create a new Elizabeth Line interchange, which presented many challenges well done.


In October 2022 the Frank Matcham Society, in association withThe Victoria and Albert Museum, celebrated PERSPECTIV’s 2022 European Historic Theatres Day with an illustrated talk ‘Europe’s National Theatres.  Mike Sell, Vice-President of The Frank Matcham Society drew on his extensive travels and knowledge of European theatres to investigate the development of, and need for, National Theatres across an often troubled and divided continent. Many attendees made it a full day by visiting the new displays in the museum’s Theatre and Performance Galleries, wonderfully busy with Half-Term mums, dads and young people


Buxton Opera House in August 2022 was our August summer visit to Matcham’s Opera House, kindly hosted by their Chief Executive. Also included was the restored Spa complex nearby, and a day at  Chatsworth to view their hidden theatre and see their research into the theatre’s history. Three great days in the Peak District and in glorious weather to enjoy the free time.


Bournemouth Pavilion Auditorium and a warm weekend in June took our Frank Matcham Society group to Bournemouth and a side trip to Christchurch, enjoyed by all. An all areas tour of the Pavilion was a highlight.


Belfast Grand Opera House post restoration and the Frank Matcham Society’s visit to Belfast, held back by Covid travel restrictions, has now been successfully completed. We were hosted by the theatre management at the recently restored magnificent Matcham’s Grand Opera House, and also toured the modern Lyric and the MAC plus a visit to the storied Ulster Hall.  It was good to get back to what we do best.


The first post-Covid Frank Matcham Society theatre trip went well and we got a great welcome at Matcham’s Wakefield Theatre Royal. See their website’s news item with photo (Ian Grundy) of our jolly group. The tour of auditorium and backstage was followed by lunch at the theatre and the option of the Matinee of Ruby and the Vinyl. Our Chair, Mark Fox has contributed a visit write-up for the Summer 2022 edition of the ABTT Sightline magazine.


FRANK MATCHAM SOCIETY Zoom Event: Terry’s Magical Theatre Tour, with Terry Davies & Richard Norman took place in November 2021. A magical mystery tour of world theatres with Terry Davis and his vast collection of over 2,000 photographs and film clips, images of some of his favourite theatres and performance spaces he has visited around the world.  In some instances, so vastly different from a theatre experience in the UK.



FRANK MATCHAM SOCIETY Zoom Event: The GRAND OPERA HOUSE Belfast, its history and restoration, with Simon Goldrick & Peter Ruthven Hall took place in October 2021. This year’s talk is the fifth in a series arranged by the Frank Matcham Society annually to mark ‘European Historic Theatres Day’. European Historic Theatres Day was established in 2017 by Perspectiv, the Association of Historic Theatres in Europe to highlight the work and achievements of historic venues across the continent.


FRANK MATCHAM SOCIETY Zoom Event in September 2021 The Theatre at Chatsworth House with Louise Calf of the University of York and Chatsworth House Trust shared some of her research on Chatsworth’s theatre before and beyond its Royal patronage. The perfect introduction to Chatsworth’s theatre space, physical stage and scenery.


FRANK MATCHAM SOCIETY Zoom Event in June 2021 The Brighton Hippodrome with David Fisher, involved with the project seeking to restore Brighton Hippodrome as the full-scale lyric theatre first created by Frank Matcham in 1901. The building dates back to the 1780s but that the 1902 modifications to convert Matcham’s circus-theatre into a variety house were by Bertie Crewe (sorry, Matcham fans).


FRANK MATCHAM SOCIETY Online Zoom Event in July 2021 Claire Appleby Architecture Advisor to the Theatres Trust and the Theatres at Risk scheme responsible for highlighting many buildings to a wider public and aiding them to make positive steps towards restoration and re-opening and by grant aid through its Theatres at Risk Capacity Building Programme.




The Frank Matcham Society arranges a programme of visits to theatres in the UK plus an international visit at least once a year. This is so that members, and occasionally their guests, may learn about, view and explore theatre history and architecture. Members unable to attend can read about these visits in the Newsletter. Scroll down the Previous Events page to watch the YouTube reviews of earlier visits.

Most of us also like to see a performance or two along the way – comedy, drama, opera and ballet – as our membership includes those with a wide range of interests and some that have worked in theatres and enjoy seeing a performance in the buildings designed for them.