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 devised 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 Associate Puppetry Director on the National Theatre production of WAR HORSE, which is currently on a UK & International Tour.

Matthew is the Puppetry Director for the critically acclaimed production of HOLES. The show initially ran at the Nottingham Playhouse in 2018 and will embark on a UK Tour from January 2020. The tour will open in Northampton and then visit Nottingham, Southampton, Coventry, Newcastle, Malvern, Plymouth, Liverpool, High Wycombe, Norwich, London, Blackpool, Wolverhampton and Canterbury, with more theatres to be announced soon.

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.

Recent credits include: SKELLIG at the Nottingham Playhouse and ONCE ON THIS ISLAND at ArtsEd, London.


Funny, tender and profound family show based on David Almond’s mystical children’s novel

The Stage - Skellig


“There are puppets; a dog, a cat and some owls, created from everyday found objects, but who are skilfully manipulated to look like they are alive.  These puppets add another quirky, cartoon-like layer to the complex scene”

East Midlands Theatre - Skellig


“A spirit of adventure laced with magical realism"

THE Times - Skellig


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

THE STAGE - Treasure Island


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



“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 - Holes


“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” - Babe The Sheep-pig


“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”

THE REVIEWS HUB - Babe The Sheep-Pig


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

The Stage - Babe The Sheep-Pig


"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 - Babe The Sheep-Pig


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

Essential Surrey - Babe The Sheep-Pig






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