Shaun Davey has worked in theatre since 1976, starting with songs for Stewart Parker's Catchpenny Twist and the musical Kingdom Come. In 1986 he was invited by Trevor Nunn to compose the songs and score for Fair Maid of the West at the opening of the new Swan Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon. Between 1990 -2002 he composed music for the RSC live ensembles of varying size (4 - 14 musicians), on all of the RSC stages in Stratford-upon-Avon, The Barbican, The Roundhouse and Sadlers Wells . His credits include scores for Adrian Noble's productions of A Winter's Tale, King Lear, Romeo and Juliet, Pericles and The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe. The latter, in collaboration with Adrian Mitchell, has been seen in Sweden, the USA and continues to be regularly performed as a children's Christmas show in the UK. He also wrote the music for Sam Mendez's RSC productions of Troilus and Cressida and The Tempest. London-based RSC productions included Columbus and the discovery of Japan and Frank McGuiness's Mary and Lizzie. Elsewhere in the UK his scores for theatre included Lady from the Sea at the Almeida, Skellig at the Young Vic (both directed by Trevor Nunn), Three Sisters at the Nuffield Theatre, Southampton, Sebastian Barry's Steward of Christendom at the Royal Court and White Woman Street at The Bush.
In Ireland during the same period he composed and recorded music for Peer Gynt at The Gate, and for many of Patrick Mason's productions at The Abbey including The Silver Tassie, Well of the Saints, and Angels from America. Other Abbey productions included The Corsican Brothers, The Crucible, Fanny Hawke, and The Only True History of Lizzie Finn. Also at the Abbey, while working on Frank McGuinness's Observe the Sons of Ulster marching towards the Somme, he had his first encounter with a Lambeg Drum.
In 1998 he collaborated in New York with U.S. playwright Richard Nelson on a musical adaptation of James Joyce's The Dead with a seven-member band, and a cast which included Marnie Nixon, Sally Anne Howes and Christopher Walken. In 1999 the music received a New York Critics' Award and, after transferring to Broadway, a Tony nomination.
In 2011 he composed music for two separate productions of Shakespeare's The Tempest; the first at the Old Globe Theatre, San Diego; his songs and score won the San Diego Critic's Circle Award for best theatre music; the second at the Royal Haymarket Theatre, London, directed by Trevor Nunn with Ralph Fiennes as Prospero.
In 2012 he composed the score for Gulliver's Travels with director Silviu Purcarete and the company of the Sibiu National Theatre, Romania. The production toured to Japan and the Edinburgh Festival; it remains in repertoire.
In 2013 he collaborated with Joanne Pearce and Adrian Noble on a musical version of Lord of the Flies, staged with pupils of Magdalen College School, Oxford.
In 2016 he worked again with Trevor Nunn at TFANA, Brooklyn, New York, on a production of Shakespeare's Pericles. His songs and music were nominated for a Drama Desk Award.
2020 His most recent theatre music; an arrangement for barrel-organ of The Bluebells of Scotland for Samuel Becket's The Old Tune.