Matthews Playhouse of the Performing Arts 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, demonstrated to the Board of Directors that there was a need and desire for the performing arts in Matthews. Since 1995 the Playhouse has grown from two productions during the school year and one production class in the summer to a community theatre with a full season of plays and classes year round. The 2018-2019 season consisted of 10 productions with a total attendance of over 20,000. Over 1,000 campers participated in 45 different summer camps, and our classes during the year served over 250 young people.
In 2002, the Playhouse Board of Directors was approached by the town with the idea of expanding to offer full length productions for adults in addition to the children's programming.
Matthews Playhouse is a community based non-profit theatre committed to
enriching the lives of children, adults, and families by inviting them to participate
in the world of performing arts and education.
We commit to this mission by ensuring the excellence of our cultural programs
for the participation and enjoyment of the people in our community.
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.