Matthews Playhouse of the Performing Arts, Theatre for Young People began in January of 1995 with the idea to create a theatre for children in the Matthews area. The original Board of Directors consisted of parents, theatre professionals and educators that wanted to create a venue for young people to perform and view quality theatre.
The first production, Alice in Wonderland, had over 100 children audition and a cast of 50. This musical , directed by June Bayless, showed the Board of Directors that there was a need and desire for the performing arts in Matthews.
Since 1995 the Playhouse has grown from 2 productions during the school year and 1 production class in the summer to a community theatre with a full season of plays and classes year round. The 2010-2011 season consisted of 12 productions with ticket sales of over 22,000. 970 campers participated in 36 different summer camps. Our performance companies and classes during the year had 199 young people enrolled.
In 2002, the Playhouse Board of Directors was approached by the town with the idea of enlarging to offer full length productions for adults in addition to the children's programming. Theatre Matthews was created and made its debut that fall with The Sound Of Music.
Matthews Playhouse is located in the Matthews Community Center. This building opened in 1907 as the town's first public school. The aging building faced demolition in the 1990's but the theatre found support among town residents in their desire to renovate instead of tearing down the building. The result is a vibrant community center that has been designated a historical landmark. The 360 seat auditorium and three floors of classrooms offers space for Matthews Playhouse and other community programs to thrive.