Did you know Chorlton is home to a professional theatre? To be totally honest, I didn’t, until last week. I’d walked past The Edge Theatre on Manchester Road many times, and it had caught my interest, but I assumed it was just something to do with the church. How wrong I was.
Last week, I was invited to pay them a visit, have a look round and find out more about the place.
Situated in what used to be the Sunday School of Chorlton Methodist Church, The Edge describe themselves as a little theatre with big aspirations. The artistic director, Janine Waters, showed me around and explained that the theatre came about when it was being used a simple rehearsal space and they realised the potential of this huge building.
The building has a surprising amount of rooms to offer. For starters, there is a 70 seat theatre, which is totally flexible so performances can be on the stage or in the round. There are also studios where everything from Tai Chi to Life Drawing takes place, and lots of rooms that can be hired out.
But it’s not really the building that is important here. It’s the broad range of activities and opportunities that The Edge is presenting to local people. To start with, they host productions from some of the best children’s theatre companies – the quality of which rivals the bigger professional theatres in Manchester. They also produce their own work, and have enjoyed critical acclaim. I think being able to walk down to your local theatre and see a professional production is not something all communities can boast, and now I know about it, I will be making the most of it.
There are various ways individuals and families can get more involved at The Edge too. It is home to an amateur theatre company, a youth theatre company and they also do lots of community theatre work. And on top of all that, there will be classes on everything from tap dancing to ukulele playing from January.
As you can see, there is lots going on already, but The Edge is set to expand it’s offering this week when it launches it’s free creative courses for unemployed people. These are 10 week courses in writing, singing and performance, designed to improve confidence, communication skills, emotional well-being and also just give people a chance to have a bit of fun in a relaxed environment. It’s not too late to sign up for these, so if you or anyone you know might be interested, just check out the website. You can sign up via phone or email.
I’ll be heading back to The Edge very soon, as I’m looking forward to seeing the story teller laureate, Taffy Thomas. He is hosting a whole story telling season there, which is going to be fantastic. There is so much more I could talk about, but I’ll let you find out about all the shows and activities they have coming up by pointing you in the direction of their website – www.edgetheatre.co.uk