Singer, writer and educator Jessica Walker works across opera, theatre, cabaret and new music
A passionate advocate for artist-led work, Jessica believes in empowering the next generation of artists to take bold creative decisions, and to retain agency in their career trajectory.
Collaborating across genres as singer, writer and producer, her own recent performing and creative projects have taken her from the Barbican to the Adelaide Festival to Brits off Broadway New York. Her most recent writing projects include commissions with composer Luke Styles for the Three Choirs Festival, Brighton Festival and Norwich and Norfolk festival, and a new opera with composer Bernd Franke for Opera Leipzig in 2026.
Having originally graduated as a singer from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, she was awarded her PhD with commendation from Leeds University in 2016. Her practice-led research explored 'The Singer-actor as Creator and Collaborator: a performer-led model for new music theatre works’.
Outside of the Academy, Jessica has worked as a mentor for several organisations, including the CoLab collaborative practice scheme at Trinity Laban, MAX Musicians Forum, and as artistic advisor for Mahogany Opera’s Various Stages Festival. Her guest teaching has included seminars for the Guildhall Opera Makers MA, Leeds University, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, University of Melbourne, and the Melbourne Conservatorium. She is external examiner for the Guildhall’s Opera Maker MA, and is a member of the Industry Advisory Committee for the School of Performance and Cultural Industries, Leeds University.
As a writer, recent projects include The People’s Cabaret (Brighton, O. festival Rotterdam), Voices of Power (Three Choirs Festival), Scene Unseen (Film for ETO and Royal and Derngate), Not Such Quiet Girls (Opera North and Leeds Playhouse), Cabaret Macabre (British Youth Music Theatre), Recent projects as performer/ writer include Dead Funny Women and Songs for Our Times (Lichfield Festival), and All I Want is One Night (Royal Exchange Theatre), Her most recent stage performances include Gerald Barry’s The Importance of Being Earnest for Neue Opera Freiburg and Bernstein’s On the Town with director/ designer Antony McDonald in Hyogo and Tokyo. As a concert artist, Jessica’s appearances have ranged from the UK premiere of Sarah Kirkland Snider’s song cycle Penelope with Psappha, to Mercy and Grand - the Tom Waits project with composer Gavin Bryars for Opera North. She has been a resident artist at Snape Maltings, and is associate artist at Lichfield Festival.
Academic articles include 'The creative/ collaborative process in industry: aesthetics, agency and pragmatism' for Studies in Musical Theatre Vol 11:2, and 'The Girl I Left Behind Me: the disjunction between vocal and visual performance in male impersonation', for Studies in Musical Theatre, Vol 6:1. Part 1, Chapter 7 of the new Edinburgh Companion to Modernism in Contemporary Theatre is dedicated to an interview with Jessica about her creative practice.