Frank Matcham’s Masterpieces: Theatre Design & Architecture in Britain

Wednesday 4 September 2019

Simon Rees

Simon Rees studied at Colchester Royal Grammar School and Trinity College, Cambridge, receiving a BA and an MA in English Literature. He has taught in Italy and Japan, exploring the art and architecture of both countries. From 1989 to 2012 he was Dramaturg at Welsh National Opera in Cardiff, working with set, costume and props designers, and giving lectures on their work in opera production. Simon is now a freelance writer and lecturer, and lectures widely on opera, art history and literature – travelling extensively with travel companies. He has published several novels, including the award-winning The Devil’s Looking-Glass, poems and opera librettos.

Frank Matcham (1854-1920) was the architect of many of Britain’s best-known theatres, including the Hackney Empire, Blackpool Grand Theatre, Blackpool Tower Ballroom, Buxton Opera House, Belfast Grand Opera House, Bristol Hippodrome, The Gaiety Theatre in Douglas, Isle of Man, and the London Coliseum. Simon Rees has worked in many of these theatres, and his lecture gives an insider’s view of Matcham’s architectural legacy. The lecture is illustrated by present-day and period photographs, postcards from the turn of the century, and Matcham’s own fascinatingly detailed architectural drawings.


Caption: section of the ceiling, Blackpool Tower Ballroom


The lecture notes leaflet can be downloaded here

Below are some photos of this lecture