Photography: Ros Kavanagh

Katie Davenport is a set and costume designer based in Dublin. She won the Irish Times Theatre Award for Best Costume Design in 2021. Katie has created scenography for many major theatre, opera and dance companies in Ireland, including the Abbey and Gate Theatres, Irish National Opera, Landmark Productions, United Fall, Liz Roche Company, CoisCéim, Northern Ireland Opera, Theatre Lovett, Thisispopbaby and Rough Magic. She recently created the installation “Pegeen’s“ - a pop up theatre café at the Abbey Theatre - and collaborated with Emma Martin on an art installation KING|SHRINE at Visual Centre for Contemporary Art, Carlow. She is Vice Chair of the Irish Society of Performance Designers and was Designer in Residence at the Gate Theatre in 2017. She previously represented Ireland at the Prague Quadrennial in 2019 and in Beijing NCPA at Evolving Design for Performance in 2016. In 2020 she participated in a cross-disciplinary group, Studio Interruptions, curated by Irish Museum of Modern Art and Project Arts Centre, and contributed work to the publication Lights, Music, Exit. She has recently archived her set and costume work in Archive #1 [2016-2021] and is currently in residence at the Dean Art Studios in Dublin.  

Katie Davenport

I think I’ve been making spaces that I was afraid of when I was younger.

Abandoned, multipurpose spaces, cold and brutal. A fluorescent light flickers and gives up. I want to soften those edges, transform them into spaces where joy can happen. Somewhere you can find a half-forgotten mic in a pile of confetti on the carpeted floor and suddenly sing a Shania Twain song into it, and it feels right. There’s a life-size billboard print of a tropical beach over there, plastered to the wall, its edges peeling and ripped. A 70s vending machine beside it only sells cream eclairs. It’s paradise.

Aftermath relates to my investigation of inert staged spaces for performance and recurring celebratory motifs used in my scenographic work. These are common, usually perishable objects like streamers, bunting, balloons and confetti which are important props in my work, signalling or suggesting events prior to the first stage image offered to the audience. They hang in the aftermath space as memento mori.

The terrifying thought of endlessness, but the joy of wilting balloons in the corner, bobbing on moth-eaten carpet tiles, just about keeping afloat.