Zoë Atkinson studied Scenography at The Prague Academy of The Performing Arts and The International Institute of Figurative Theatre (Czech Republic) under Petr Matásek; and at the Institut International de la Marionette in France, under Josef Svoboda. Since returning to Australia in 1997 she has designed nationally and internationally for theatre, dance, puppetry, opera and exhibitions.
She has worked extensively over many years with Perth Festival, and in 2016 was Designer and Artistic Associate to Nigel Jamieson on the opening event HOME, and again in 2017 and 2019 on BOORNA WAANGINY: THE TREES SPEAK. In 2017 and 2018, she was also cultural translator and designer for UK artist Amy Sharrock's Perth Festival iteration for THE MUSEUM OF WATER. She was Head of Design at the West Australian Academy of Performing Arts, and she continues to lecture there.
Zoë’s theatre credits include: THE RETURN (Malthouse Theatre); THE SMALLEST STAGE (Perth Festival); THE TEMPEST, YORK (Black Swan State Theatre Company); BESIDE (WAYTCO); HECATE (Yirra Yaakin/Black Swan); BLACK BRASS (Perth Festival/Belvoir); THE LIFE OF GALILEO (Belvoir); CLOUDSTREET (Malthouse/Black Swan); PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK (Malthouse, Barbican); THINGS I KNOW TO BE TRUE, OIL, PLAINSONG, AWAY, COPENHAGEN, THE UNEXPECTED MAN, THE CARNIVORES, UNCLE VANYA, THE CRUCIBLE, JANDAMARRA, SIGNS OF LIFE, XENIDES AND THE CHERRY ORCHARD (Black Swan State Theatre Company); and the remount of THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST (Malthouse) which she originally designed for the Barbican BITE Festival (London) and the Brisbane Powerhouse.
Zoë’s opera credits include: Tom Waits’ and William Burroughs’ THE BLACK RIDER (Victorian Opera) and Malthouse Theatre) for which she received a Helpmann Award nomination; THE FLYING DUTCHMAN (New Zealand Opera); ELEKTRA (Western Australian Opera/Thin Ice); and costume design for LA FANCIULLA DEL WEST (Opera Australia/Opera Conference).
Other credits include: LAWN (The Splinter Group); and THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST (Ridiculusmus); HUNTING OF THE SNARK (Maison de la Culture de Nevers, Sydney Festival, Festival Mondial des Theatres de Marionettes and Charleville-Mezieres), which she co-devised and designed.
Zoë won a Helpmann Award for Best Costume Design for THE ODYSSEY (Malthouse Theatre, Black Swan); and Green Room Awards for Best Theatre Production for the co-devised ON THE MISCONCEPTION OF OEDIPUS (Malthouse Theatre), and Best Design for LAWN (The Splinter Group); Equity Awards for Best Design for THE CRUCIBLE (Black Swan) and SKIN TIGHT (Perth Theatre Company). In 2000, Zoë was awarded the Young Australian of the Year for the Arts.