A LETTER FROM SIR MARK RYLANCE THIS CHRISTMAS
You may or may not know about The Edge Theatre & Arts Centre, Manchester’s award-winning theatre for participation right here in Chorlton, of which I am delighted to be a Patron. I wanted to tell you a little bit about the wonderful work we are doing with some of Manchester’s most vulnerable people and ask for your help.
Christmas is a time of joy and celebration for many of us – getting together and being part of a family and circle of friends. But for many people it is a time when feelings of loneliness and isolation are worse than ever. We use the power of making theatre to address these issues. The work we do here makes people feel less isolated, less lonely, less of an outsider and part of a community – our community. It helps people to feel welcome, to feel more confident, to feel noticed, to feel that they matter, that they have a contribution to make. It helps people feel things are possible, things can change. It helps people turn their lives around.
48 weeks of the year, our specialist teams work with The Booth Centre delivering singing and acting classes to people who are at risk of or experiencing homelessness. This group perform in the theatre twice a year alongside professional musicians, delivering beautiful and moving theatre to sold-out audiences. They will be performing our adults only Christmas panto on 13,14,15 December and we’d love you to join us for it.
Billy was in a dangerous downward spiral, victim to drugs and alcohol, no friends, no prospects, no hope. Billy is turning his life around: “It’s good for your self-confidence, belief, everything. I’m ex crack-head, smack-head, but being on stage, it gives me more of a buzz than any of that”
The CEO of The Booth Centre, Amanda Croome MBE, says of the work “The drama has a transforming effect … Many members of the group have moved onto employment, to take up education and training courses or have entered detox, as a direct result of the boost that they got from working with The Edge.”
But we need your help to continue doing this important work. Would you consider giving £5 to help someone in crisis?
We also work with young people and adults with learning disabilities that face different challenges but often share the same feelings of isolation, loneliness and ‘otherness’. We facilitate two theatre companies who meet every week to make friends have fun and tell their own stories all the while developing their communication skills, their imaginations and spontaneity, boosting their confidence and self-esteem and reaching new goals. With new found confidence and positivity, many participants go on to complete a 12-week placement in our lovely Dressing Room Café which has just won a “Local Food Hero” award from The Observer for the bespoke training programme which teaches a variety of catering and hospitality skills, leading to further training or employment or simply offering essential life skills as they transition from childhood to adult and begin to lead independent lives.
All of this work happens alongside the wonderful professional touring theatre that is welcomed into the theatre as well as the professional theatre produced by The Edge themselves.
I am proud to be part of this community, our community, and I invite you to join us and support this life-changing work by donating here
Together we are many. Together we can make a difference. Thank you for making a difference to the lives of vulnerable people this Christmas.