See daily posts on our Facebook page with events, photos and shared theatre information from around the world curated by our Social Media Editor. Also view our latest posts on Twitter.

It is with great sorrow that we have to share the news that Vice-President, and past Chairman, Rupert Rhymes OBE has passed away.  Rupert was a great supporter of The Frank Matcham Society and a regular contributor to publications sharing many years of theatrical knowledge, not to mention his enormous postcard collection.  His early career included stints at the Old Vic and early National Theatre with Laurence Olivier before moving on to his much-loved London Coliseum with the English National Opera.  Later he was, uniquely, both President of The Society of London Theatre (1979-82) and Chief Executive of SOLT and UK Theatre (formerly TMA) before becoming Chairman of The Theatres’ Trust.

In addition to chairing our society he also served on the Board of PERSPECTIV, Association of Historic Theatres in Europe.  For all these organisations his unrivalled knowledge and experience brought common sense and practical solutions to meetings, event organisation, talks and visits.  His input will be greatly missed, not least by all the friends he made and colleagues mentored over the years.  Read the Guardian obituary here:

We were truly saddened by the sudden loss of our friend and Society member Elain Harwood, author, advocate and champion for modernist architectural style.
Our thoughts are with her family and friends. The Architects’ Journal published this wonderful

Local media The Argus reports Brighton Hippodrome to re-open in November 2024 with a rosta of live events in addition to a dining offer. The piece makes no mention of the controversial planned removal of the Hippodrome’s Fly Tower and ‘get in’ access yard which are required for the efficient use of its stage. However, following objections by the Theatres Trust, the planning application has been modified.

The Theatres Trust website Database entry for the Grade II* Listed Brighton Hippodrome has been revised to reflect the current situation (June 2022) and updated for a more detailed history of this incredible theatre. They have also updated their Theatres at Risk assessment.

New photographs in the local Hackney Gazette reveal the Edwardian splendour of Hackney Empire as it marks its 120th anniversary with a sponsor a seat campaign.

The Theatres Trust has launched its 2022 Theatres at Risk Register which supports theatres under threat of closure, redevelopment or demolition across the UK. Each of the 41 theatres on the register has strong architectural merit, cultural heritage or value to the local community as a performance venue.

World Stage Design is delighted to announce the launch of The 11th OISTAT Theatre Architecture Competition 2022. This is an in­ternational ideas competition, aimed at students and emerg­ing architecture practitioners, and is organised by the Architecture Commission of OISTAT (International Organisation of Scenographers, The­atre Architects and Technicians).

To support the Theatres Trust on-going Theatres at Risk campaign, they’d like to gather memories about the theatres that are on their current list from people in the local communities where these are located. More information here.

The new owners of the Brighton Hippodrome have spoken of their devastation after “senseless” vandals sprayed graffiti over restoration work to the front facade just hours after it was completed reports the Brighton Argus.

E&T Engineering & Technology Magazine online has a nice piece ‘Frank Matcham: Brunel of the Stage. Just over 100 years after his death, the engineer and architect’s influence on theatre remains…’

Matsim, the new owners of the Brighton Hippodrome, have launched a website devoted to the history and proposals for this most at risk of Matcham’s theatres.  It also features some open days when the plans will be available to view and comment upon. Pre-booking is essential.

Update on the SIBMAS campaign to help save the Theatre & Performance Department at the V&A Museum in London.

Concern at Eastbourne council decision to keep Matcham’s Devonshire Park Theatre in darkness until the end of the year , not opening until pantomime in December.

Dr Tristram Hunt, Director, Victoria and Albert Museum has responded to the concerns expressed by the Society for Theatre Research, amongst others, for the future of the Theatre & Performance collections.

♦The Frank Matcham Society Chairman Mark Fox has written to the V&A Director Tristram Hunt with our objections to the V&A’s plan to disband the Theatre & Performance collections’ curatorial and archive specialist staff:  Quote “…It would be unforgiveable if any loss of expertise sets back the study and appreciation of the enormously rich performing arts heritage of the UK.” See the full letter here.

The Society for Theatre Research views the proposed restructuring of the Victoria and Albert Museum with great alarm as a major threat to the UK’s standing as a centre for research into and dissemination of knowledge about the performing arts. See their full statement.

The loss of Covent Garden’s Theatre Museum in 2006 was a disgrace – the V&A’s proposed cuts, it is feared could now jeopardise the collection, reports the Stage. SIBMAS has started an online petition to retain the Theatre & Performance collections and dedicated curator staff. The V&A’s Theatre & Performance Archives are the national collection of performing arts documenting current practice and the history of all areas of performing arts in the UK, including drama, dance, opera, circus, puppetry, comedy, musical theatre, costume, set design, pantomime, popular music and more. See the full piece in our News Features page.

The Friends of Streatham Hill Theatre have posted the Streatham Hill Theatre – Statement of Historical Significance document, an incredibly thorough and wonderfully illustrated work by Aedas Arts Team as part of the ongoing campaign to reopen this magnificent 1929 building by WGR Sprague. View it on their website.

The Theatres Trust has released its 2021 Theatres at Risk Register listing 31 theatre buildings under threat of demolition, redevelopment or permanent closure across the UK. It is essential but sad reading.

On Panto Day Friday 18th December, theatres across the UK will come together to toast the wonderful world of pantomime. From tweeting on Twitter using #pantoday, to posting videos on YouTube and photos on Instagram, screens and stages will come alive as Pantoland opens its doors to all.

For Christmas, and not to be missed, is a performance of ‘Nicholas Nickleby’ one of the Society for Theatre Research (STR) lecture series, free on Zoom. Amongst the cast, by popular demand, and a natural in the role of schoolmaster, is our Chairman Mark Fox as Mr Wackford Squeers. Pre-book online here.

Belfast Grand Opera House was built 125 years ago thanks to the vision of two men: theatre owner Joseph Warden and architect Frank Matcham. To celebrate they have made this short film which looks at their lives, and the importance of this beautiful Theatre to their legacy.

Nottingham’s Theatre Royal celebrates its 155th Birthday with a short video when you can see evidence of the original 1865 C J Phipps build and and more!

Local media reports that the rumoured sale of the Hippodrome has now been completed and the local developer has announced that urgent works to carry out long neglected repairs are to commence. Find out more on our Theatres at Risk page.

The Theatres Trust website lists theatres around the country that are celebrating their buildings in a series of architecture and heritage festivals with specially designed tours and talks, digitally and in person throughout September.

The Theatres Trust has partnered with leading fundraising platform Crowdfunder to launch #SaveOurTheatres to raise money to help theatres survive the Covid-19 crisis.

20 August 2020 and we are still waiting for a date when venues can reopen safely for live performance with a full audience without social distancing measures, but in the meantime here are some of the ways that theatres are gradually reopening their buildings or staging performances in different ways.

On July 16th 2020 the Gaiety Theatre in Douglas Isle of Man celebrates its 120th Birthday. We had hoped to be there at the theatre to celebrate on the day – however, COVID19 decreed otherwise! So we’ll be there in spirit, until we rearrange our visit – hopefully in a year’s time. Meanwhile, to mark the anniversary, we share some historical and architectural information about the theatre on our News Features page.

Local media reports that Brighton Hippodrome is up for sale again, more than a year after its owner’s plans appeared to grind to a halt. Meanwhile, campaign group Brighton Hippodrome CIC, assisted by the Theatres Trust award, has hopes to develop its alternative for the derelict Grade II* listed theatre which involves keeping more of its historic features with the ability to host West End style shows again.

The Theatres Trust have announced new funding to support theatres on the Theatres at Risk Register 2020 and are at various stages in their journey to restoration and revival. This has been made possible by donations from Historic England, The Pilgrim Trust and Swire Charitable Trust. This round of funding will support projects ranging from governance support to viability studies with advice from the Theatres Trust.

The Theatres selected are: Brighton Hippodrome, Derby Hippodrome, Granada, Walthamstow, Groundlings Theatre in Portsmouth, Leith Theatre and Streatham Hill Theatre.

One hundred years after his death on 17 May 1920, today we are celebrating the extraordinary work of theatre architect Frank Matcham! Of more than 150 buildings, only twenty-six of his venues are still operating but these are masterful theatre spaces.

The Stage devotes a feature to theatre architect Frank Matcham on the centenary of his death. A century since Frank Matcham’s death, the legacy of the great theatre architect is only now being fully appreciated, long after many of his gems have been lost. Tim Bano looks at the work of a man whose flamboyant creations all over the country house entertainment for everyone.

The Guardian’s Culture and Theatre pages celebrate “Velvet wonderlands: the plush pleasure palaces of Frank ‘Matchless’ Matcham” a feature piece by theatre critic Michael Billington. He was our ‘greatest theatrical architect’, the creator of 150 magnificent buildings that delighted crowds from Glasgow to Blackpool to London. On the centenary of his death, we celebrate a stage visionary…see it online here.

Today, 30 April 2020, members should have been gathering for the first event of our planned Annual General Meeting weekend in London. See our Events page for the current situation.

” Our thoughts are not only with all our theatre and individual members struggling to make the best of a bad situation, but with all theatre operators and owners; creative, performance and support staff; deprived audience members; theatre enthusiasts and campaigners wherever you are.

The Frank Matcham Society wishes you all continued good health. Keep following official advice and we will all survive this very difficult time. The show will go on. ”  Mark Fox, Chairman Frank Matcham Society.

Brighton MP Caroline Lucas has intervened in the continuing saga of the parlous state of the Brighton Hippodrome reports local media Brighton & Hove News. Following publication of the Theatres Trust ‘Theatre Buildings at Risk Register 2020’ which again places this very special empty and neglected theatre the most at risk in the list of thirty in the UK, she has called for urgent repairs as the building shows signs of further deterioration.

The Theatres Trust has just launched its 2020 Theatres at Risk Register, the latest assessment of the thirty – yes 30 – theatres at most risk of loss to the UK’s cultural and community benefit, and still headed by Brighton Hippodrome. View the list here and follow the advice links on the page for further information about how to help.

BBC News Northern Ireland has posted a good piece with interesting photos about the start of the restoration project at the Grand Opera House in Belfast.  See also the previous item and link below.

The Save the Victoria Theatre Salford campaign have announced that, thanks to the Standing Together Committee, the East Salford Community Committee, and the Theatres Trust, they have covered the costs for for a Viability Study and Significance Report. This will be spent to prove the viability of bringing the Victoria back into use. Read about it on their Facebook page here.

Belfast’s magnificent Grand Opera House of 1895 by Frank Matcham and Listed Grade II has temporarliy closed whilst it carries out a major restoration and development. This should be completed later in 2020 just before its 125th birthday, when we hope to visit. More information on their website and follow their Facebook and Twitter updates.

Camden Palace (orginally Camden Hippodrome by W G R Sprague 1901 Listed Grade II) for many years a home to BBC Radio comedy and now the popular music venue KOKO, has suffered a serious fire whilst closed for building adaptations and restoration. Planned to reopen in 2020, the fire was apparently confined to the roof, and the opening may be delayed. BBC News report here.

It appears that the handsome five storey red brick and terracotta facade of the Eccles Crown (orginally Lyceum of 1899) may have escaped serious damage in the fire which destroyed what was left of the interior on the night of 1st December.  Not a Matcham, but probably the most significant building in the Greater Manchester suburb, was the subject of a long and valiant local campaign to return it to community use, before planning approval for conversion to flats went through, which incorporates the street frontage local media reports.