The Frank Matcham Society is currently planning our Events programme for 2022. A group has already visited Richmond Theatre for panto followed by a meal, reportedly a great success, and the subsequent visit to Wakefield Theatre Royal in February was also well attended. Recently our visit to Belfast Grand Opera House post restoration in May, along with other city centre venues, was enjoyed by all, followed by a Summer weekend in Bournemouth. Information about a return to Buxton Opera House including the little theatre at Chatsworth has already been mailed to our members. The mailing also includes information about the visit to Morecambe Winter Gardens scheduled for September. A visit to London’s children’s theatres is currently in the planning stage for late Autumn 2022.



Bournemouth Pavilion Auditorium

A warm weekend in June saw our Frank Matcham Society group visit 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

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.






Wakefield Theatre Royal & Opera House is Matcham’s smallest auditorium but also delightful and typical of his earlier style.

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.







Terry’s Magical Theatre Tour

FRANK MATCHAM SOCIETY Zoom Event: Terry’s Magical Theatre Tour, with Terry Davies & Richard Norman: Thursday 25th November 2021 at 4.00pm UK time. Free and open to all via

Come on a magical mystery tour of world theatres with Terry Davis as he selects from 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. Terry’s talk will cover foreign theatre styles, customs and cultures that make them, in some instances, so vastly different from a theatre experience in the UK.




Belfast Grand Opera House pre restoration

FRANK MATCHAM SOCIETY Zoom Event: The GRAND OPERA HOUSE Belfast, its history and restoration, with Simon Goldrick & Peter Ruthven Hall: Monday 25th October 2021 at 4.00pm UK time. Free and open to all via

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.




Chatsworth Theatre : image Chatsworth Players

FRANK MATCHAM SOCIETY Zoom Event: Tuesday 14 September 2021 7pm UK time. Free and open to all. LOUISE CALF – The Theatre at Chatsworth House

Louise is working collaboratively with the University of York and Chatsworth House Trust, researching the theatre at Chatsworth. She will share some of her research on Chatsworth’s theatre before and beyond its Royal patronage. In anticipation of our planned visit in 2022, this will be the perfect introduction to Chatsworth’s theatre space, physical stage and scenery.





Brighton Hippodrome 1897: In 1902 as a music hall under the vast circular tented (plaster) ceiling.

FRANK MATCHAM SOCIETY Zoom Event: Tuesday 22 June 2021 7pm free and open to all. DAVID FISHER – The Brighton Hippodrome

David Fisher has been involved with the project seeking to restore Brighton Hippodrome as the full-scale lyric theatre first created by Frank Matcham in 1901. His research has not only discovered that part of 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).

Grade II* listed and number one on the Theatres Trust’s register of Theatres at Risk for the past eight years, the Hippodrome’s future hangs in the balance. David Fisher’s heavily illustrated and detailed account of its history shows why he and colleagues have continued to work for its restoration as ‘the UK’s most architecturally significant circus theatre—the finest surviving example of its type in the country’.




Burnley Empire by Ben Hamlem at North Films, 2019.

FRANK MATCHAM SOCIETY Online Zoom Event Tue 20 July 2021 3.45pm for 4.00pm free and open to all. CLAIRE APPLEBY – Theatres at Risk Register
Claire is Architecture Advisor to the Theatres Trust.

For 14 years the Theatres Trust have announced an annual list of the theatre buildings most at risk from closure, irreversible changes or demolition. The Brighton Hippodrome has been at the head of the list for several years but the scheme has been responsible for highlighting many buildings to a wider public and aiding them to make positive steps towards restoration and re-opening through its support from its team of advisors and through grant aid through its Theatres at Risk Capacity Building Programme.

Claire will talk us through the list of theatres included in 2021 following a particularly difficult year for all venues. She will highlight successes and losses and, most importantly, where there is hope of revival. For this meeting we will also be joining forces with The Friends of the Theatre Trust in recognition of the links between our two organisations.






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.