The Matchgirls

Cover of "The Matchgirls" - A Musical by the RSAMD, c1990
Cover of “The Matchgirls” – A Musical by the RSAMD, c1990
  • Character: Ted (Docker) & Herbert Burrows (Fabian)
  • Writer/Lyrics: Bill Owen
  • Music: Tony Russell
  • Director: Peter McAllister
  • Choreographer: Stewart McKie
  • Lighting: Gary Brunton
  • Set Design: Mike McGovern
  • Costuming: Christine Murphy, Linda McKay
  • Musical Director/Pianist: Alison Maguire
  • Stage Manager/Assistant Stage Manager:  Andrea Johnson, Chris Harris
  • Production: RSAMD (now Royal Conservatoire of Scotland)
  • Theatre:
  • Play Run:

    • 13th-17th March, 1990 at 7:15 pm

During his time at the RSAMD/Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, David Tennant participated in many of the productions. David began acting in primary school where he took part in various school productions and continued through to secondary school. He attended Saturday classes at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (now known as Royal Conservatoire of Scotland) and passed an audition for entrance into the program at the age of 16. He was one of the youngest students, where he subsequently studied until the age of 20.


Based on fact, the story tells of a strike by the girls in a match factory in 1888, when unions were still groping for recognition and mass withdrawal of labour was an almost unheard-of strategy in industrial relations. The match-cutters finally rebel against working conditions in which young girls had their jaws rotted away by phosphorus, and discipline was maintained by a system of crippling fines and sanctions. A grim episode, perhaps, but not many minutes of the play are allowed to pass before the natural ebullience of the traditional Cockney sparrow helps to create gay, sparkling entertainment which warms the heart, yet retains the essential drama of the central theme. The incongruously named “Hope Court” is the setting for much of the play, for it is there the workers live in shabby tenements. Desperation turns Kate, the tenement girl, into a reckless strike-leader, and complicates her courtship with Joe, a docker. Annie Besant, the liberal reformer, champions the strikers’ cause and plays a vital part in bringing about their ultimate victory over what was then a callous management.

GARD Pro Not Registered

(The Guide To Musical Theatre)


Cast list of "The Matchgirls" - A Musical by the RSAMD, c1990
Cast list of “The Matchgirls” – A Musical by the RSAMD, c1990

The two pamphlet images are used via the permission of the Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives in London via @Robotmeile  Visit their website to find out how to visit the library and see this another items in their archive.

Many thanks go out to Eides and to @Robotmeile for this great find!