Interview with Andrea Walker

Andrea Walker, Artistic Director of 201 Dance Company takes some time to talk to Voice about the show, inspirations, and give advice to young people.

Interview with Andrea Walker

Could you first introduce yourself to the reader?

Hi I'm Andrea Walker, Artistic Director of 201 Dance Company and choreographer of "Skin".

How would you describe your show?

"Skin" follows a boy's intimate journey of gender transition through the medium of hip hop and contemporary dance. With a powerful cast of 7, it's an emotional story anyone who's ever struggles with anxiety or the feeling of not fitting in will be able to relate to.

Why do you want to perform at Edinburgh Festival Fringe?

The Fringe is the absolute best place to launch a new show! Yes you're thrown in the deep-end, but I've never experience anything quite as exciting. The Fringe did wonders for our previous production: "Smother". I don't think the company would be where it is now without the festival.

What differentiates it from other festivals?

The whole city turns into a stage, it's simply incredible and something everyone needs to experience.

Do you think the Fringe has changed over the years? If so, how? Are these changes positive or negative?

This will be my third Fringe as an artist. To my eyes, it just keeps getting bigger and better! Every August I find myself saying "I swear the catalogue is heavier this year!". I think that's very positive. More work means more inspiration, and more people out there taking artistic risks.

What first motivated you to enter the industry? Who were your inspirations?

As much as I'm inspired by incredible choreographers such as Kenrick Sandy (Boy Blue Ent.) and Hannah Fredrick, I have to say one particular person inspired me more than ever: Britney Spears. I grew up watching MTV, music videos were a big part of my upbringing that hugely got me into dance and influenced my choreographic style today. Britney Spears was at the centre of all that. I love you Britney!

If you didn't have your current job, what would you probably be doing?

I love to write. Planning on writing a novel sooner than later, check this space!

If you could have any job in the world, what would it be?

Happy to say the one I have right now: choreographer. Every day I'm amazed at how genuinely a thought or a feeling can be translated into movement, how through dancers you can show a whole audience how you physically feel inside…Love every bit of that.

What is your earliest childhood art memory?

I visited the Salvador Sali museum in Madrid when I was very young. I remember it scared me and inspired me at the same time.

Do you ever feel any pressure to be a social commentator, or constantly update material to respond to events?

Definitely, but in a positive way. With 201 I'm committed to use urban dance to tell stories that matter - especially within the LGBTQ community – and as an urban dance company we have the potential to reach a demographic that theatre and other dance forms might struggle with. I feel our audience has come to expect this from us, and I hope they keep doing so.

Equally, do you think there has been a shift in public sentiment that has affected your work?

Stories of trans experience are emerging on stage now more than ever, and in recent years the public has definitely become more aware of issues such as gender dysmorphia. The shift has definitely pushed me in tackling "Skin" and telling this story.

Describe the last year in 5 words or less?

Trying new things, Challenging, Exciting

If you could work with anybody, from any point in history, who would you pick and why?

I wouldn't have to look too far back: I'd love to work with Banks. Her music has been a huge inspiration of mine in creating "Skin". Working with her would be a dream come true.

Why would a performer opt to do either a ticketed event or participate in the free fringe? What are the benefits and limitations of both?

The free fringe is a great way of getting yourself out there, especially in comedy that has such high competition at the festival. But obviously you'd only be relying on donations, which might work for an individual but is not ideal if you're a larger company. Ticketed events that go well can get the money in, but likewise they usually take place in theatres that require a larger guarantee than the free-fringe spaces. Basically, you're taking a pretty big financial risk either way, so it all comes down to what direction you want to go.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to take a show up to the fringe?

Go for it! The fringe changed my life and is something I look up to all year long. It's the place that can destroy you, or make your dreams come true…It's a real dose of adrenaline!

When and where can people see your show?

At The Pleasance Courtyard (Beyond), every day from the 2 nd to the 28th of August at 8pm.

And where can people find, follow and like you online?

You can find us on

Facebook: /201dancecompany

Instagram: @201dancecompany

Twitter: @201DanceCompany

Or at our official website:

Skin is performing at Pleasance Courtyard at 20:00 on 2nd - 28th (not 14th) . For tickets and more information visit the Ed Fringe website.


Tom Inniss

Tom Inniss Voice Team

Tom is the Editor of Voice. He is a politics graduate and holds a masters in journalism, with particular interest in youth political engagement and technology. He is also a mentor to our Voice Contributors, and champions our festivals programme, including the reporter team at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

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