Joe has designed extensively for opera in Ireland, the UK, Europe and America. Major companies in Ireland have included Opera Theatre Company, Opera Ireland, Wexford Festival Opera (where he was design associate from 2006 to 2008), Cork Opera House and Opera Collective Ireland.
In the UK he has designed for Welsh National Opera (Verdi’s Rigoletto), Opera North (Donizetti’s Don Pasquale and Dukas’s Ariane and Bluebeard), English National Opera (Puccini’s Il trittico) and Buxton International Festival (Lortzing’s The Poacher). Further afield he has designed for the Royal Danish Opera (Prokofiev’s The Love for Three Oranges and Gluck’s La contesa dei numi), Opera Zuid in the Netherlands (Janáček’s The Makropulos Case), New Israeli Opera (Donizetti’s Don Pasquale) and the Glimmerglass Festival in the USA (Cherubini’s Medea).
He first designed for Wexford in 1987 and his work there has included Prokofiev’s Betrothal in a Monastery (1989), Conrad Susa’s Transformations (2006), Dvořák’s Rusalka (2007) and Richard Rodney Bennett’s The Mines of Sulphur (2008). Both Transformations and The Mines of Sulphur won Irish Times Irish Theatre Awards for best opera production.
Significant operas for Opera Ireland included Shostakovich’s Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk (2000) and Mark-Anthony Turnage’s The Silver Tassie (2001) for which he won an Irish Times Irish Theatre Award for best costume design. He was also nominated for best set design for the Opera Theatre Company production of Monteverdi’s Orfeo (2012).