Stage play

Touch Me, CoisCéim Dance Theatre, Dublin 2011


Ros Kavanagh tells Stephanie McBride how the influence of architecture permeates his photographic work

In the Abbey Theatre’s recent An Octoroon, a radical reworking of Dion Boucicault’s 19th-century play The Octoroon, an onstage camera becomes witness to a murder. Ros Kavanagh’s camera, though much less obtrusive as he goes about documenting theatre productions, has a similar role: he describes his work as ‘a need to bear witness to what happens on stage, with no agenda other than to record faithfully’.

Kavanagh’s work was recently highlighted with a special tribute in the Irish Times Theatre Awards. The Dublin-based photographer’s clients include visual artists, choreographers, theatre practitioners and architects. In one sense, theatre photography is about translating another art form: mediating how each production works – the choreography of entrances and exits, rhythm, soliloquy and climax. This is the camera acting as a kind of go-between that crosses two creative forms – theatre and photography – both of which involve light, shadow, space and movement.

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