Who Are We?
The Regal Theatre Minehead stands at the hub of the community and is maintained by the MATA Regal Theatre Company Ltd as a centre for good quality live performance and theatre. The Regal is a community theatre featuring professional and community productions, run by volunteers for the benefit and enjoyment of all members of the community.
The MATA Regal Theatre Company Ltd is a member of West Somerset Arts Consortium, a registered charity (No 105271) and a company limited by guarantee (No 3149984). The board directors represent the member companies of M.A.T.A. (Minehead Amateur Theatrical Association) and representatives from the Regal Film Society. Other seats on the board are occupied by departmental managers of the theatre: all volunteers.
The Regal Theatre has a large auditorium (400 seats plus spaces for wheelchair users and their companions) with fixed raked seating, good acoustics and a hearing loop. There have been successful large and small scale performances in the auditorium of drama, ballet, contemporary dance, classical and all styles of music by large and small drama companies, choirs, full scale orchestras, small bands and individuals.
A bar is available for all performances, open during intervals and half an hour before the start of a performance. It is an attractive and airy space with a modern and friendly atmosphere. The bar balcony looks out over the centre of Minehead and patrons can enjoy refreshments while enjoying the view. Small scale events take place in the bar and are very popular for music, close-up theatre, poetry, jazz etc.
Both the bar and auditorium are at first floor level but are fully accessible for wheelchair users and patrons that find the stairs difficult via a modern, glass, lift that was installed early in 2013.
The Regal was built in 1934 as a 1600 seat theatre and cinema. A single story ballroom was attached to one side which was sold separately some years ago and is now a retail enterprise. The present building is privately owned by John Welch who acquired the property in 1977 and converted it to its present form in 1979. The ground floor houses a Poundland outlet.
The upstairs contains a theatre with 410 raked seats and previously held a second small auditorium converted from the original theatre café. Both auditoria were used by John Welch as cinemas, while the main stage was often booked by local amateur drama societies for performances of their work.
Prior to his retirement, John Welch transferred control of the Regal to Minehead Amateur Theatrical Association (MATA), an umbrella group for societies performing in the Regal, composed entirely of volunteers. MATA assumed control in 1994 with the purpose of maintaining live theatre in Minehead, and negotiated a lease with John Welch on very favourable terms. The theatre regards John Welch as a major benefactor and, on his many visits, he is pleased to see the Regal developing successfully.
In 1997/8 MATA became one of the founder members of the West Somerset Arts Consortium (later ARTlife) and so plays its part in arts development throughout West Somerset.