EdFringe Talk: Sad Book

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“As an artist and creator, it can be a very high risk/ high pressure environment, but it’s also where dreams are made.”

WHO: Andrea Walker: Director and Choreographer

WHAT: “‘Stand-out dance of the summer’ (Guardian on 201’s Skin). We all have some sad stuff – maybe you have some right now, as you read this. What makes Michael most sad is thinking about his son Eddie, who died. Through an intimate, visual spectacle that includes dance, storytelling, animation and original music, 201 and Choreographer Andrea Walker bring Michael Rosen’s award-winning book to the stage.”

WHERE: ZOO Southside – Main House (Venue 82) 

WHEN: 18:30 (55 min)

MORE: Click Here!


Is this your first time to Edinburgh?

No, this will be our fourth time! Our first ever show – “Smother” – premiered at Ed Fringe back in 2015. We brought “Smother” back in 2016, and then followed with our second production – “SKIN” – in 2017. I feel the Fringe is such an incredible place: As an artist and creator, it can be a very high risk/ high pressure environment, but it’s also where dreams are made. I don’t think 201 Dance Company would be here today with a brand new show if we hadn’t risked it all at the festival all those years ago. The Fringe is where we really got noticed, it gave me a career and it gave the company a future.

What are the big things you’ve learned since 2019 and have you absorbed any of the lessons yet?

I feel that because of Covid-19 the way we create work has changed: We were supposed to premiere “Sad Book” – our latest show – back in 2020, so when the pandemic hit we really had to re-think how to create it in a way that was safe for everyone involved. I’m very proud of what we’ve achieved, and now that “Sad Book” is finally hitting the stage after a 2 year delay, I feel the company is stronger than it ever was.

Tell us about your show.

“Sad Book” is an adaptation of Michael Rosen’s award-winning book. It tells Michael’s personal story of losing his son, and – simply – the sadness attached to that. Sad is a very complex emotion: It can be destroying, but like Michael shows in his novel, sadness can also be beautiful and melancholic in the way we remember a moment in our life that was wonderful, yet is no longer here. We are honoured that Michael trusted us to adapt such a touching, important work. The show includes a mix of dance, animation and original music. I feel it will touch anyone who’s ever struggled with mental-ill health, or simply struggles to put their sadness into words.

“Sad Book” has been over 5 years in development, and it’s a work that is very meaningful to me. Since 2014, 201 Dance Company’s mission has been to to tell stories that matter. “Sad Book” felt like such a beautiful fit for the company the second I first read it. I directed and choreographed, and we have Patrick Collier as Associate Director, who also produced the show in its development and preview stage. “Sad Book” is now produced by Pip Sayers, and this run at Ed Fringe will be the show’s premiere. “Sad Book” will be available to tour from Autumn 2023 – Spring 2024.

What should your audience see at the festivals after they’ve seen your show?

Please please please get yourself to Séayoncé: Res-Erection! Honestly one of the funniest shows I have ever seen, and I’ve seen it 4 times now! I don’t wanna spoil it for you…Go in with fresh eyes! It’s created by Dan Wye, who is a wonderful, hilarious queer artist. You can catch Séayoncé at Assembly Roxy (upstairs) from the 3rd to 28th August (no show on the 17th), 10pm.


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