Creative Schools

Tuesday, 19 November, 2019

Last year the Arts Council launched their Creative Schools initiative and we're delighted to have Irish National Opera Artistic Partner, Sharon Carty, represent INO as a Creative Associate on the scheme. We caught up with her to find out what this means and what she's been up to as part of the scheme so far.


Hi everyone, my name is Sharon Carty, and I’m an Artistic Partner with Irish National Opera. One of the things I’m working on in conjunction with INO is the Arts Council Creative Schools scheme. I’m a Creative Associate on the scheme, and I’m delighted to be representing Irish National Opera in my work with them.

The Creative Schools scheme is an initiative born of the Arts Council and Creative Ireland, and began its pilot year in the 2018-2019 school year. Each “Creative School” participates in the scheme for a cycle of two years, and have their very own Creative Associate, like me, assigned to work with them. It’s our job, as CAs, to work with our schools to help them develop Creativity across the teaching and learning in the school, and one of the wonderful things about this programme is the highly individualistic nature of the relationship between each of the schools, and their creative associate.

One of the projects I’ve been working on is a set of tailored activities for students from one of my Creative Schools, Margaret Alyward Community College. Students from the school have been shadowing Irish National Opera costume designer Katie Davenport during the rehearsal process for INO’s production of Vivaldi’s Griselda. They will use this work as part of their Leaving Certificate Applied coursework. Laura Byrne and Katie Brady are 6th year students with a strong interest in costume design and couture and both hope to pursue studies in this area when they leave school. Katie Davenport met with the girls once a week during the rehearsal period for Griselda and took them through her process for designing the costumes for a specific show, as well as more general areas such as looking for inspiration, researching and reading material to support the design of costumes, routes into costume design for opera and theatre in Ireland, costume fitting with real life opera singers and more.


Here’s what Katie and Laura had to say about their time working with Katie Davenport:

Laura: Before Junk Kouture I was always interested in film making, producing and directing. I changed my mind to fashion or costume design, and experiencing what it was like to work with Katie was an eye opener to the industry. Not only did we get to see the process of making the outfits, we got to see the director at work. How he put the entire show together. This really brought back my love for producing and film making. The opportunity to see how the entire show was put together and how the director was so enthusiastic about it was honestly inspiring. Ironically after working with a costume designer, I have opened myself back up to studying filmmaking in the future. Working with Katie was an opportunity of a lifetime and the skills and experiences will definitely have a positive effect on me in the future.


Katie: I was a bit sceptical about the experience at first, I didn’t actually know what to expect or what would come from it. But Laura and I have honestly gotten so much inspiration from this experience. Sometimes Katie would bring out a coat that is gonna be used for one of the outfits and Laura and I would get an idea for this year’s Junk Kouture. Working with Katie was an amazing experience and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who gets the opportunity to work with her. We have both learned so many skills that we will carry with us into our careers in the future.