March 24, 2008
Patricia Henry, Dancer, Corrib Company
After a well deserved break off for Christmas, everyone returned fully refreshed and excited for the tour ahead. We started off in Tampere, Finland which is the third largest city in Finland. Luckily enough we all had packed our winter woollies’ as they were definitely needed in this city. For the entire week there was a blanket of snow covering the ground and a very cold biting wind, however we were fortunate that the theatre was situated just across the road from our hotel.
Following on from Tampere, we were next to visit the lovely city of Stockholm in Sweden. As our normal travel day consists of either a bus journey or a plane ride, this travel day was a first for Riverdance. We first had a bus journey for three hours to Helsinki where we then boarded the night ferry to Stockholm. I can safely say that this was a very memorable experience for all members of the Corrib company. Once we boarded, we all went to find our cabins which consisted of a toilet and two bunk beds. After we got settled in we then took the time to explore the ship and its many amenities it had to offer – Restaurants, Bars, Nite Club, and a Casino, also entertainment such as karaoke and Bingo was provided with many company members taking part. With the bars staying open late we were lucky in a sense to have only left one company member behind. Fortunately she woke before the ship set sail back to Finland.
We arrived into Stockholm around 9.30am so we had the whole day to explore the historic city in all its glory. Here we performed seven sold out shows in the Cirkus Theatre, a very old style theatre which resembled an actually circus ring. Stockholm is a city with many sights to be seen, the old town is a treasure to be seen with its architecture and many cathedrals. It is also known for its shopping and a walk through the streets will lead you to believe that Art of all kinds is very popular here. Another tourist destination for one to visit is The Absolut Ice Bar, most of the Company members made it to the Ice bar for a visit over the week. The bar was situated within the Nordic Sea Hotel and reservations have to be made in advance. The maximum duration to stay is 30mins as it is so cold in their. Everything from the chair you sit on to the glass you get your drink in is made of ice.
Following a short stay in the small city of Frieburg in Germany we then travelled on to the picturesque city of Innsbruck, Austria. I definitely think this was one of the highlights of the tour for many members of the company. Fortunately for us we had a day off to enjoy the spectacular scenery. The city is surrounded by the snow covered ALPS, which gives you the impression that you are on a film set as it is so beautiful. With having the day off many of the company members decided to venture up to the top of the Alps via cable cars and what a stunning view was to be had.
For our final night in Innsbruck some company members had arranged for us to watch the American Superbowl game in The Galway Bay Irish Bar. This was a great treat as many of our company members are American. We also were able to have some fun while watching the game as we had bets on what the score would be.
Having spent the last couple of weeks in small cities, our visit to Munich was greatly anticipated, it also marked the middle of the tour. With a full week to explore Munich we found that there was a lot to see in this city which is rich with history and culture.
Some members of the company took a tour of a concentration camp, which portrayed a vivid picture perhaps to realistic on how people were treated during the war. With it being a day long tour, some members felt emotionally drained from the experience.
However on a more lighter note, the annual Barfing Dog took place here in Munich. The Crew went to great efforts with getting the venue ready for the party which started after the show on the Friday night, it was due to be held on the Thursday night but with it being Valentines Day it was rescheduled…. With Riverdance celebrating its 13th Anniversary just days earlier, the company decided to provide the food for the Barfing Dog so as to get everyone in a celebratory mood. Luckily for everyone we didn’t have a matinee on the Saturday so it gave us a chance to catch up on our sleep from a late night.
Following a great week in Munich we had another great city to look forward to, Vienna Austria. I think this was the week when nearly every member of the company had someone visiting them from home, so needless to say there was a lot of Cadbury’s chocolate and Tayto crisps to be seen. And what a great city for them to come to. The main attraction in the city itself would have to be the magnificent Opera House.
Vienna is also known for its outstanding shops, ranging from the everyday high street shops to the very pricey ones (which we tended to just window shop). At the end of the week we said farewell to a very fond member of the Riverdance cast, Niamh O Connor, the only remaining original cast member. We had a night out for Niamh as the next time that some people will see Niamh she will be married, so we gave her a miniature hen party. Niamh will return to The Foyle company which tours Ireland for the summer months.
Following our week in Vienna the final three weeks of the tour was to be spilt weeks which leaves it quite hard to explore the city. However we did visit some very nice cities so we did try and make time to take in some of the sights. Having been to Dortmund before we knew what the city sights were so instead we organised a night for the company to go bowling. Both cast and crew turned up and a great nights fun was had.
Following a brief stay in Dortmund we then performed in Cologne, Germany. This is definitely one of the nicest cities to visit in Germany with great shopping and many historic sights to be seen. Dominating the city’s skyline is the main cathedral, which is one of the only buildings in the city to have survived the disasters of the war. However the Cathedral is constantly under renovation in order to try and get it back to its natural state.
We then made our way to Wetzlar, Germany for a quick visit. Even though we didn’t get to see any of the city there was great excitement within the company as two of the company’s male troupe made their debut as Male Lead. Anthony Fallon performed his first show as male lead and Alan Kennifick had his Dress Rehearsal here as he will perform his first show as lead during the summer in the Irish tour.
The final week of the tour included a visit to Sweden and also Denmark. The beginning of the week we made the long journey to Malmo, Sweden. As it was the final week of tour everybody was concentrating on getting all their presents here as they wouldn’t get a chance again and so it was a great bonus that we were only a 30 minute train ride away from Copenhagen, Denmark so I think everyone made there way into Copenhagen at some stage over the few days. After performing our last show in Malmo we then made our way to Aalborg, Denmark. With it being the last few shows, spirits were high in the company as everyone was looking forward to going home after a long tour. With everyone having early starts home on Monday morning we decided to have our final farewell night on the Saturday night. With it being the end of tour there was a sense of sadness as there always is because after three months on the road everyone becomes very close, you could even say their your second family so saying goodbye can be hard, especially with people changing companies for the next tour. With that being the end of the tour for a couple of months I hope you enjoyed my brief diary of life on the road.
Company Manager Laurie Small on tour with Riverdance
Welcome back to Japan, Riverdance!