Meet the Team

The Creatives

bill-whelan

Bill Whelan

Composer
moya

Moya Doherty

Producer
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John McColgan

Director

Creative Team

julian

Julian Erskine

Senior Executive Producer
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Robert Ballagh

Set Designer
Joan Bergin

Joan Bergin

Costume Designer
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Michael O’Gorman

Sound Designer
John Cominsky B&W 214x214

John Comiskey

Lighting Design
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Bill Whelan
Composer

As a composer, Bill Whelan has written extensively for theatre, dance, film and the concert stage. His film work includes “Dancing at Lughnasa” starring Meryl Streep, “Some Mother’s Son” featuring Helen Mirren and “Lamb” with Liam Neeson. Music for television includes The Seven Ages, Sean Ó Mordha’s history of the Irish State. He was appointed composer to the W.B. Yeats International Theatre Festival at Dublin’s Abbey Theatre in 1989, writing original music for 15 Yeats plays. His adaptation of HMS Pinafore received a Laurence Olivier Award nomination.

The Seville Suite was commissioned for Ireland’s National Day at Expo ’92 and was performed at the Maestranza in Seville. It has since received performances around the world including La Coruna, Shanghai, Caracas and New York. The Spirit Of Mayo followed in 1993 and was performed by an 85-piece orchestra and chorus in Dublin’s National Concert Hall. The Connemara Suite, a trilogy of pieces written for chamber orchestra, premiered in Carnegie Hall in March 2005. Bill Whelan’s Symphonic Suite from Riverdance has just received its first performance in 2013. He is currently writing a flute concerto for performance in 2014 with Sir James Galway and is completing the recording of an album of choral music.

Bill’s production and arranging credits include U2, Van Morrison, Kate Bush, Richard Harris, Planxty, The Dubliners and many traditional world musicians and performers. He was honoured with the 1997 Grammy Award for ‘Best Musical Show Album’ for the lyrics and music of Riverdance. The album is a certified Platinum record in the US, Ireland and Australia. Riverdance The Show has been seen live by more than 22 million people and by a television audience of nearly 2 billion.

Bill is a member of the Boards of Berklee College of Music in Boston, The University of Limerick, Crash Ensemble and Music Generation, the newly established music education body for Ireland. He has completed a co-teaching course with Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, Paul Muldoon at Princeton University and was recently appointed adjunct Professor to Trinity College Dublin’s School of Drama, Film and Music. Bill Whelan is a Fellow of the Royal College of Music and is the recipient of many International Awards including the Spirit of Ireland Award in New York.

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Moya Doherty
Producer

Moya Doherty’s career includes theatre, radio and television journalism and an award-winning track record in television production, both in Ireland and the UK. Moya was the Commissioning Producer and originator of Riverdance for the Eurovision Song Contest of 1994; she is a Director of Tyrone Productions, Ireland’s leading independent TV production company, whose many credits include Beckett on Film and the Opening Ceremony of the Special Olympics (held in Dublin in June 2003), and drama credits including Ros na Rún, now in its 18th season, for TG4 and Quirke, a major co-production with the BBC, starring Gabriel Byrne.

Moya is a writer and broadcaster and has co-presented a number of radio arts documentaries on George Bernard Shaw, John McCormack and Paddy Kavanagh, amongst others. She is a founding Director of Today FM radio station. In the past ten years she has sat on a number of arts-related boards, including Chair of the Dublin International Theatre Festival for seven years, The Ark Children’s Theatre in Dublin, Business to Arts and the Board of the Abbey Theatre.

She is the Producer of the new music and dance stage spectacular Heartbeat of Home which had its world premiere in Dublin in October 2013 and has played in Beijing and Shanghai and North America as part of its global tour.

Moya has received numerous awards and accolades over the years including the Veuve Clicquot Business Woman of the Year, the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award and Honorary Doctorates from the University of Ulster & from the National University of Ireland in recognition of her ongoing commitment to the world of the arts in Ireland.

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John McColgan
Director

John McColgan’s career as a multi-award-winning producer and director began in the mid-seventies at RTÉ Television where he went on to become Head of Entertainment. While in RTÉ he produced and directed a wide range of programming from light entertainment to drama to documentary. He was awarded a Jacob’s Television Award in 1980 for ‘the consistently high quality of his entertainment programming’. He was also Head of Weekend Entertainment at TVAM – ITV’s breakfast television service.

He played a key role in the evolution of Riverdance from the original seven minute dance number and went on to direct the full stage-show spectacular.

John has been closely involved with the Abbey Theatre – he was on the Board of the theatre for five years, served as Chairman of the Abbey Centenary Committee and directed a critically-acclaimed production of Dion Boucicault’s19th century melodrama The Shaughraun. In May 2011 he produced a major theatrical event marking the historic State visit of Queen Elizabeth II to Ireland.

John is the director of the new music and dance stage spectacular Heartbeat of Home which had its world premiere in Dublin in October 2013 and has played to universal acclaim in Beijing and Shanghai and North America, as part of its global tour.

John has received many awards during his career, including an Honorary Doctorate of Law from the National University of Ireland, in recognition of his services to the arts and entertainment industry.

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Julian Erskine
Senior Executive Producer

Julian has worked in the entertainment industry for nearly 40 years. He started his career in stage management and after several years as a lighting designer and production manager he set up and managed Ireland’s first professional scenery supply company.

In 1989 he returned to the world of theatre as a free-lance producer and, in 1994, he joined the fledgling Riverdance team on a consultancy basis. A year later he was appointed Executive Producer and since then he has been responsible for all the Riverdance companies and productions worldwide.

From 2005 to 2010 he was a director of Long Road Productions, an independent entertainment production and management company and has recently formed his own company, Tumblehome Productions.

 

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Robert Ballagh
Set Designer

Robert is one of Ireland’s most distinguished artists and designers.

As a painter, his work is represented in many important collections including the National Gallery of Ireland and the Albrecht Dürer House, Nuremberg. He has designed seventy stamps for the Irish Postal Service and the last ever Irish banknotes before the Euro conversion for the Central Bank of Ireland.

His striking stage designs for Steven Berkoff’s version of Oscar Wilde’s Salomé and Samuel Beckett’s Endgame have enjoyed international success and he designed the Opening Ceremony for the Special Olympics World Summer Games held in Croke Park, Dublin.

In 2010 Robert Ballagh was awarded an Honorary Decorated in Philosophy by the Dublin Institute of Technology and in 2013 he received an Honorary Doctorate in Literature from University College Dublin. Robert is a member of Aosdána, a self governing trust of Ireland’s most distinguished artists and a fellow of the World Academy of Art and Science.

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Joan Bergin
Costume Designer

Joan is one of Ireland’s best-known film costume designers. Film credits include My Left Foot, In the Name of the Father and Dancing at Lughnasa. She began her career in Theatre and Architectural Design, winning awards in both areas. She designed Brian Friel’s Translations on Broadway, and returned to New York’s Lincoln Center in 1999 for their Friel season.

More recently her work was seen on television in David Copperfield and on film in Veronica Guerin, directed by Joel Schumacher. Recent projects include The Prestige, shot in LA, and The Tudors, for which she has won three Emmys. She has also won two IFTAs for The Tudors.

Her most recent theatre work includes two Sam Shepard plays commissioned by the Abbey Theatre, Kicking a Dead Horse and Ages of the Moon directed by the actor/playwright, and Henrik Ibsen’s John Gabriel Borkman starring Alan Rickman and at the Abbey. Joan is currently involved in a new adaptation of The Dead.

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Michael O’Gorman
Sound Designer

Michael was born in London and completed his education at Trinity College, Dublin. On returning to England he founded his own sound company with Don McLean as his first client.

He was next approached by The Chieftains management to provide sound for their British tour. This relationship formed the basis for the development of his interest in sound design.

He has provided sound design for diverse artistic requirements, including Bill Whelan’s The Seville Suite and The Spirit of Mayo, Eurovision ’93, ’94, ’95, The Shaughraun (The Abbey), The Wiremen, Aïda, Handel’s Messiah (250th anniversary at The Point), Sweeney Todd (The Gate), Mother Goose, Beauty and The Beast and Cinderella (The Gaiety).

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John Comiskey
Lighting Design

Theatre credits include set/lighting/video design for Phaedra and Sodome, My Love (Rough Magic); Hamlet (Abbey);lighting for L’Orfeo (OTC),Dodgems (CoisCeim), Kicking a Dead Horse,(Abbey); set/lighting for Mermaids, Hanging on by a Thread (CoisCéim),and Copenhagen (Rough Magic),which won an Irish Times Theatre Award for Best Design. Director credits include The Frost is All Over (ten42);The Well (Abhann);Ich Liebe Dich (Gavin Friday);and Production director of Riverdance – The Show (Abhann). He was curator and designer of the Irish participation at the Prague Quadrennial Exhibition of world theatre design 2007.

Film and television director credits include the dance film Hit and Run;and documentaries Behind the Walls ;The Wren’s Day and The Berlin Years of Agnes Bernelle. Filmed concerts include Celtic Woman, Brian Kennedy,Liam Lawton and Ronan Tynan(all PBS); The Eurovision Song Contest 1995,and programme credits include Nighthawks,Today Tonight;The Blackbird and the Bell, and various special events.

The original Lighting Design for
Riverdance - The Show was created by Rupert Murray
3rd February 1951- 17th August 2006. RIP