Matthew works internationally as a Director, with a strong focus on puppetry, object manipulation and physical theatre. He originally trained at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama as an actor specialising in Collaborative and Devisd Theatre.

Alongside his professional directing career Matthew also teaches puppetry and movement internationally and has directed students in productions and projects from ArtsEd, East15 and the Royal Central School of Speech & Drama.

Credits includeSkellig (Nottingham Playhouse); Treasure Island (Leicester Haymarket Theatre); Once on this Island (ArtsEd); Holes (Nottingham Playhouse); Babe The Sheep-Pig (Polka Theatre & National Tour); Dinner at the Twits (Les Enfants Terribles, The Vaults); The Witches (Dundee Rep); Adventures in Wonderland (Les Enfants Terribles, The Vaults); and The Steadfast Tin Soldier (Little Angel Theatre & The Old Vic).

Associate/Assistant Credits include: War Horse (UK & International Tour 2019-2020); War Horse (UK Tour 2017-2018); Kiki’s Delivery Service (Southwark Playhouse); War Horse (UK, Ireland & South Africa 2013-2015); War Horse (Holland & Belgium tour 2014-2016); War Horse (Australia & New Zealand 2012-2013); War Horse (China 2016-2017); Alice’s Adventures Underground (Les Enfants Terribles, The Vaults). 


Matthew is the Puppetry Director for the upcoming production of SKELLIG, at the Nottingham Playhouse. The show will open on 22nd March 2019. 

Matthew recently Directed the world premiere of a new adaptation of TREASURE ISLAND, written by national treasure and established author Sandi Toksvig (The Great British Bake Off, QI). The production received rave reviews from audiences and critics alike, and was the first production at the newly reopened Leicester Haymarket Theatre.

Matthew is working on the acclaimed National Theatre production of WAR HORSE, which is currently on a UK & International Tour.

Matthew recently worked as the Puppet Director & Designer on the critically acclaimed Nottingham Playhouse production of HOLES.


“Energetically directed by Matthew Forbes... we are treated to a fun, musically and visually arresting show”

East Midlands Theatre


“Witty and original... Clever, funny and poignant”



“Director Matthew Forbes delivers an enjoyable family production, perfect for Christmas... with much for children and adults alike to enjoy”



“The puppet director, Matthew Forbes, ensures that the deadly lizards that threaten Stanley and his friend Magnet feel properly deadly”



There is clever and simple puppetry, some breath-holding moments... A fast-paced and inventive family show that works on every level”



“It begins with a display of puppetry that nods towards family hits such as The Lion King and War Horse. Except the snakes, spiders and lizards that slide and scuttle across the vast desert floor are venomous rather than cute and loveable”

THE Guardian


“The people on stage are ably supported by puppet tarantulas, rattlesnakes and yellow spotted lizards which are absolutely perfect for this production”



“The stage is filled with animals and the incredible puppetry direction by Matthew Forbes lets your imagination do the rest”



“An outstanding feature of the production is the puppetry and mask work”


“The magic here is created largely by the excellence of the puppetry skills displayed throughout by the actors in well-fashioned, intricate and brilliantly choreographed displays”



"...puppet director Matthew Forbes – turns a hand-operated Babe into a character for kids to root for.”

The Stage


"A host of wonderfully inventive puppets... Then, of course, there is Babe himself, an adorable puppet with moving limbs, mouth and even eyelids. Deftly handled and earnestly voiced, he makes for a charismatic protagonist”

The Upcoming


"There is some thrilling ‘War Horse’ style puppetry choreographed by Matthew Forbes.”

Essential Surrey






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