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.



Late availability gave us the opportunity to visit the Shepherds Bush Empire (1903) which now operates as the O2 Empire, a very busy music venue owned by Academy Music Group. The Bush Theatre is nearby and they also agreed that we visit and see their new performance spaces. We exceeded our original allocation of places for this visit and and both venues kindly agreed to the larger group for very enjoyable tour.




We visit the splendid Blackpool Grand and viewed the latest refurbishment on a tour led by the Chief Executive, Ruth Eastwood.  This was followed by a performance of Puccini’s Madam Butterfly that evening. The following day featured the Tower Ballroom and Circus, both designed by Frank Matcham, on a tour of the Tower complex.  A nice little taster of the visit is in the BBC News clip featuring the winching down of the Tower Ballroom chandeliers on iPlayer here.







MAY 2018

Our 2018 Annual General Meeting weekend featured back-stage tours of the Theatre Royal and Playhouse, with visits to the Arts Theatre, Lace Market theatre, Malt Cross, Albert Hall and the Broadway cinema, amongst other venues in a weekend in Nottingham. Members unable to join us will be able to read about it in the next Newsletter.






JUNE 2018

Vienna Staatsoper: photo Vienna Info

Our 2018 International Visit was to Vienna in June for a week of nine theatre visits and time for a little sightseeing or just enjoying the cafe culture. Members who were unable to be with us will find a review of the event in the next Newsletter.





Angel Sharp Media kindly invited the Frank Matcham Society to the premiere of the documentary feature about Frank Matcham ‘Bombastic Rubbish – The Theatres of Frank Matcham’ at the London Hippodrome on 18th June. It was selected for inclusion in the Architecture Film Festival in Rotterdam in 2017.





We enjoyed a visit to the only remaining original circus building in the UK, other than the Matcham Blackpool Tower circus, which is the Hippodrome in Great Yarmouth. A matinee performance was followed by a great tour of their museum. Family owned, this great survivor still entertains year round. The next day featured a back-stage tour of the Britannia Pier Theatre, one of only a handful left in operation. Members will see a review of the visit in the Newsletter.





Our Southwark Walk in late September started at the Playhouse for a visit and to hear about their new venue plans before setting out to view other sights in the Borough including a pause outside the Elephant & Castle Theatre, Frank Matchams first built theatre and now the Coronet, which has closed awaiting its fate. Members unable to attend can read about it in the Newsletter.





We visited the Grand Order of Water Rats Lodge and museum mid October and enjoyed seeing their archive and hearing about the organisation.




European Theatres Day on October 25th saw us celebrating in London at the Victoria & Albert Museum with: ‘Frank Matcham’s Masterpieces on Film ~ Part II’ when Richard Norman presented his follow-up homage to Matcham. A good turnout of members and others saw film clips with scenes shot in Matcham theatres both saved and lost.






Our tour of the Lyric Hammersmith with its Matcham auditorium newly refurbished will feature a matinee performance of this year’s pantomime ‘Dick Whittington’. Members should register their interest now by following the information in the Newsletter.





Frank Matcham Society Logo

The planning for our first international visit of 2019 to Sicily is now complete and interested members will be booking to join us in April. There is also the possibility of a second international trip with a return to Berlin being investigated. Our 2019 AGM weekend of events will be in Liverpool including an option for Chester. This will feature that great Matcham survivor, the Olympia now operating in partnership with Eventim. Planning is already in progress to mark the centenary of Frank Matcham’s death in 2020 – more details in the member’s Newsletter when available. See also past events here.






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.