Yes it was that time of year. You couldn’t move without hearing Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas” and as for Christmas trees… well, China doesn’t do things by half so you could be sure to find a 24 ft tree in every hotel lobby, filling us with festiveness (even if it did have a cat or something on top instead of an angel.)
Christmas in China; a first for many of us. You can imagine the delight when we arrived to spend it in a city full of home comforts in mostly every street. Yes, Chengdu was the city where Santa was to visit our cast and crew.
At work Secret Santa was reaching its climax. It had gone on so long, cast and crew were in danger of forgetting we had a real show to work on! A very professional and imaginative display was made by all, congrats lads.
Christmas Eve was spent a little differently this year. Our cast took to the world’s largest international panda park in Chengdu. These big fluffy guys posed for pics, sending us “awwing” and cackling all day..I still think that they’re men in suits!
Now it may have been Christmas but the show must go on. We had a jam packed schedule of shows in Chengdu with two on Christmas Eve, one on Christmas Day and another St Stephens day. They were very special shows and ones we shall remember – full of festive cheers and trebles. Even Dance Captain and lead performer Brendan Dorris got in on the fun, coming out dressed as the main man, SANTA during our finale, ho ho Heartland!
So it was straight to bed on Christmas Eve for everyone, eagerly awaiting the sound of sleigh bells…NOT… like stuffing to a Turkey it was to the good old Shamrock Irish Bar for the night. And boy did they look after us, thank you.
The Pogues would have been proud of the sing song that was had and as the clock struck twelve there were kisses and hugs galore (some more than others – whey hey) as we couldn’t have been happier to be spending the holidays together. That said, in our heads and hearts were all our family and friends at home and around the world.
Christmas Day had arrived and presents were handed out, everybody got spoiled through our Secret Santa giveaway at work that evening. A special mention to head elf (and Production Stage Manager) Orla Griffin for the hand she gave me throughout. We all got dolled to the nines to sit for dinner. Thanks to our bosses back home and tour manager Laurie Small for the fabulous Christmas spread.
We didn’t sit for long though! More thank yous go out to our very own touring DJ Mitch Hodges for providing the night’s soundtrack, and to our own Little Mix (the all-female Riverdance band), who debuted their Live Lounge-like version of “I love a bit of rice at Christmas”. An amazing night was had by all yet again…
Xi’an was next. Visitors to this city could view a stunning, world-famous spectacle – The Riverdance Barrow Company! Oh, and of course the Terracotta Warriors. This city of culture and tradition was taken in by some cast members as they enjoyed a New Year’s Eve stroll.
It was going to take more than the 30ft wall that surrounds the city to stop a full house from seeing our last show of the year. Our expert crew was all go, working hard through very tricky conditions. Let’s just say coats were needed right until curtain call!
It was the final show of the year, a phenomenal year. There have been thousands of performances from all Riverdance companies across the globe but I think this was our best;)
So a casual gathering for the countdown…3…2…1….
We would have counted slower had we known how our year was about to begin.
In typical Chinese style a three hour travel day had turned to thirteen hours.
But sure hey it’s a new year and it can only get better!! Thanks for reading this and all the blogs over the last year. Stay tuned for bigger and better in 2017.