In Conversation With Eddie ‘The Eagle’ Edwards – Review – Square Chapel, Halifax

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Eddie 'The Eagle' Edwards Halifax Square Chapel 2019

In Conversation With Eddie ‘The Eagle’ Edwards – Review

Square Chapel, Halifax, March 2019

by Steve Crabtree – @stevecrab

The Square Chapel is doing wonderful things in Halifax at the moment, and tonight they gave us the pleasure of welcoming an Olympian in to town.

Eddie ‘The Eagle’ Edwards had landed. The ski-jumper who hit the headlines in 1988 for his not-so-successful plight in the Winter Olympics in Calgary, becoming a national treasure overnight.

Eddie 'The Eagle' Edwards Halifax Square Chapel 2019

“An inspiring story”

Over 200 people filled the Red Brick Auditorium to watch the 2015 film about him, and fire questions at the man about his life and his ski jumping career. He was introduced to us before the screening, and bounced on with a beaming smile. He seemed very happy to be here.

I first saw the film about his life when it was released in cinemas. And although I enjoyed it I didn’t realise what an inspiring story the life of Michael ‘Eddie’ Edwards is.  I guess I’d half expected it to be a comedy but came out of the cinema somewhat warmly educated.

If you haven’t seen the film I wont spoil things, but do yourself a favour and go watch it. For wherever Eddie ‘The Eagle’ Edwards finished in the Winter Olympics in 1988, his story is one of success. It’s one of achievement, determination, and it’s an inspiring tale. He came home from those games as a British Olympic Record holder, and that meant he’d fulfilled his childhood dream.

Taron Egerton took the role of Edwards in the movie fantastically well, and if Hugh Jackman wants a starring role in a film, it’s got to be something special.

Before and after the film, host Nick Ahad from BBC Radio Leeds interviewed Edwards about his life.  He told us snippets of his upbringing, about his life outside of the ski slopes, and why he chose to follow his dreams.

Eddie 'The Eagle' Edwards Square Chapel Halifax 2019

“Tears in the audience”

And as much as we learned about him, we found out was that Eddie Edwards is a genuinely lovely man.  Happy, cheerful and friendly. He’s got time for everybody, and hasn’t come to Halifax to just to give a few sound bytes.  That clearly came across when the audience asked the questions, and Edwards replied to each and every one in detail. So much so, Nick Ahad had to remind him to keep his answers a bit shorter!

During the film, there were a few tears that flowed out of the audience. And from Edwards himself too at his 57th time of watching it!  There’s emotional kicks throughout it, and his battles against other jumpers were nothing compare to the ones with the British Olympic Association when trying to qualify for Cagliary 1988. There were many sides to the Edwards story that no-one really knows about, and by making the film Edwards was able to set a few records straight.

We got to hear him speak again after the film too. And in the happy-go-lucky manner that comes with Eddie Edwards, he told us just how many hurdles he overcame to achieve his Olympic dream. Things weren’t easy, and sometimes people weren’t nice. But he came across as the winner in every aspect of this journey in life. Edwards spoke candidly, and we enjoyed his every last word.

The Square Chapel keep doing this to Halifax. Since opening up again after their beautiful refurb, they keep giving the town something they haven’t really had before. Their upcoming schedule is awash with amazing theatre, shows, film, workshops and more.  And I have to say I’m surprised at what a fab cinema screen the Square Chapel has too. It’s a fantastic, creative place to be, ran by people who have a true passion in delivering what they do, and tonight they’d brought an actual Olympian to town.

And on this Friday evening, every single member of the audience was very appreciative of what, and who they’d come to see.

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