It is always exciting to see Comox Valley alumni, from the plethora of fine arts opportunities this community provides, continuing to hone their craft and earn acknowledgement for their hard work. For Erin Walker, a young performer, born and raised in the Comox Valley, that recognition is on its way. Outperforming 20+ others with her self- choreographed song and dance, Walker won the lead role of Tracy Turnblad in the upcoming production of Hairspray, and is well into rehearsals this week already. The show will be performed at Theatre under the Stars during July and August. The popular summer event is at the Malkin Bowl in Vancouver
For a young woman in her early twenties, Walker has already packed over a decade of performances and development of skills into her resume. She welcomes any opportunitity to develop her talent with hair/makeup design and using prosthetics. Her experience covers a wide range of genres with a vocal range she describes as “Belter / Soprano” and she is adept at voice-over work in cartoons and commercials such as : “Busytown”, “Max and Ruby”, “Toopy and Binoo” – KOBA Entertainment
She also does a mean cartwheel, can whistle tunefully and make animal noises, plus she has a somewhat unusual extra skill, e.g. belching on cue! Most recently Walker played Norma in the Canadian premiere of “Carrie: the musical” and before that was Maureen’s understudy in RENT. “I also was a sexy mermaid in a Peter Pan Burlesque musical – now that was a crazy adventure!” she laughs.
But from the sublime to the ridiculous this young and highly dedicated actor/singer/dancer is known for giving the utmost to her work. The commitment she shows to developing her craft ensures any company or director she is involved with, that top notch work ethic and effort will be consistently given to the task at hand. Walker is known for patiently rehearsing what might seem a small moment to the audience, again and again in order that she gets the right nuances of tone and expression for that moment.
Walker’s performing career started with local theatre groups such as Rainbow Youth Theatre and Courtenay Little Theatre and continued throughout her high school years under the mentorship of Lori Mazey, the head of the drama department at Vanier Secondary. Walker was a member of the Vanier Stage Band with skills in a variety of instruments and was also involved with CYMC in the Honours Jazz Band playing baritone saxophone. She very quickly offers appreciation to all those talented teachers such as Lori Mazey and the special people such as her family, the Massey family and many others, for being the most amazing people in her life re supporting the goal she has to have a theatre career.
When asked what she sees ahead of her, Walker states, “In the future I want to continue doing as much theatre as I can both onstage and offstage. I hope to get more voice over work and film auditions. If it becomes a career I’d be pleased, but I don’t want to lose the love and passion I have for performing by making it my only profession and worrying about money all the time. The way I see it, when I do a show I am getting free singing, dancing, acting lessons so it’s pretty much like I’m getting paid with something more valuable than dollars.
When not onstage, I still work at being involved behind the scenes with many theatre companies: stage managing, designing hair and makeup, doing props. Choreographing 13 the Musical for RYT in 2013 stimulated my desire to do way more choreography and I am delighted to be making my Vancouver choreographer debut next May. Recently I joined the board of directors for the Pipedream Theatre Company as I would really like to be a part of the direction that Vancouver theatre is taking.”
Erin Walker invites valley folk to “venture on a theatre road trip this summer and come enjoy the show under the stars! For show information go to http://tuts.ca/calendar-events.