We are very proud to have three award-winning Patrons: Sir Mark Rylance, Julie Hesmondhalgh & John Thomson


JULIE HESMONDHALGH, well respected and nationally-loved actress has agreed to be one of the faces of the small theatre. Julie is well-known for her moving and sensitive role of Hayley Cropper in CORONATION STREET, which we saw her leave in February 2014.

Julie is also known for her charity work, which includes fronting an awareness campaign for pancreatic cancer (following her storyline in CORONATION STREET) and for the Sophie Lancaster Foundation. She ran the Manchester 10k in 2014 for a small local charity.

Julie first came to visit The Edge on 10th July 2014 and, more importantly, she came to a performance by Expressive Edge Theatre Company, which she loved!

Julie Hesmondalgh says: “I am looking forward to meeting the people who enjoy the facilities and to helping to make others aware of this little gem in the heart of Manchester’s buzzing arts community that is Chorlton.”

Janine Waters, our Artistic Director, says: ‘We’re thrilled to welcome Julie Hesmondhalgh into The Edge family. Her profile and her commitment to theatre and communities will enhance our reputation and will help us in our ambition to put The Edge on the map.”

Read an interview with Julie about her support of The Edge in Time Out Manchester

SIR MARK RYLANCE remains a patron of The Edge. Mark was the first Artistic Director of Shakespeare’s Globe from 1995-2005 and winner of two Tonys, an Olivier a BAFTA and an Oscar, who has entertained audiences with his stunning performances in some of the best written plays ever produced, recently gaining critical acclaim for his role as Cromwell in the BBC drama Wolfe Hall.

“I am delighted to support this exciting theatre company. Theatre remains a place where a community can hear and see things about themselves without the filter of government or corporate interest. Good theatre continues to be a particular gift of all people who live in England. Long may The Edge Theatre thrive.”

We are absolutely delighted to receive Mark’s support. Janine says: “Mark is not only one of the greatest actors of his generation but has a real understanding in the power and importance of community theatre and the benefits that the arts can bring to everyone, especially people who might be deemed as vulnerable or hard to reach. 
His involvement in the work we are developing at The Edge, underlines our belief that professional and community theatre can not only work together but complements and benefits from one another. Mark shares our belief that participatory, or community theatre, is a valid and vital component of the arts in this country”.

John Thomson becomes patron of The Edge

Comedian, actor, narrator and all-around fabulous TV personality, Mr John Thomson has become a regular fixture in the Chorlton venue since the start of 2022, where he has been hosting a very popular Pop Quiz event.

For more than three decades, John has been a well-loved household name, having starred in many TV shows including Cold Feet, The Fast Show, Men Behaving Badly and Coronation Street – as well as performing in many theatre productions and films.

John says of his role as patron:

“The Edge is a fantastic space in Chorlton ~ little did I know I was to become a regular face at the Dressing Room Cafe Bar as the host of the monthly Pop Quiz. It’s lovely to have been asked to be patron, as I support the arts in all its many guises. And even in more so, in austere times we should always champion those with no subsidies and encourage their dreams.”

Artistic Director and CEO Janine Waters said of John’s role:

“What an absolute honour to have comedy legend John Thomson become an Edge Patron. Sometimes it is good to meet your heroes!”