August 26, 2010
RIVERDANCE will performed at the Millennium Forum from Thursday 2nd to Sunday 5th September.
IT is one of the most iconic pieces of theatre to come out of Ireland and has been performed in front of a staggering 22 million people over four continents.
But, although it originated just a few hundred miles down the road, it has never been to Derry – until now that is. Tickets are currently on sale for a five performance run of Riverdance in what is a major coup for the Millennium Forum.
The show’s Executive Producer Julian Erskine has been with the show since its inception just over 15 years ago and he admits he can’t wait to bring the spectacle direct to Derry audiences.
“It’s always a real treat for us to bring the show to a new venue and even more exciting to find a new venue in Ireland,” he says, adding that he remains as enthusiastic about the show as he did back in 1994 and 1995.
“I still like to see it. I still put the CD on from time to time in the car and listen to the music and I say that from a theatrical background. I’m not an Irish dancer at all – I was brought in as a consultant in 1995 and I’ve always promised myself that the day I lose that sense of enthusiasm is the day I’ll walk away from the show. I’m still here.
“The truth is that I, and I think everyone working on the show, have a great passion and affection for it. We are very proud to work on Riverdance and to travel the world putting the culture of Ireland on the stage.
“There aren’t many jobs out there which let you promote your country so well!”
Riverdance first came to our attention during the Eurovision Song Contest intermission in 1994. As the countries added up their votes, Michael Flatly and Jean Butler took to the stage to Bill Whelan’s resounding soundtrack and a phenomenon was born.
The following February the full length stage show premiered and, while Julian says there have been some changes over the years, the main flavour remains the same.
“It still contains a mix of styles and dances – from Flamenco to African American, tap to modern and, of course, Irish dancing. The show has changed on and off over the years. Some things have gone. Some things have been added and some have gone and come back again.
“Of course, the original Riverdance is still there and always will be.”
Of course the stage of the Millennium Forum pales in comparison with the stage at The Point in Dublin where the show was originally staged. So is it a matter that the show will be pared down for local audiences?
“The show we will put on in Derry will be the same show we always put on. It’s not a case that we pare the show back for smaller theatres – more that we add to it in volume of dancers for bigger venues. Our aim always has been to fill the stage and we will be doing that in Derry,” Julian says.
He added that audiences still react with the same enthusiasm now as they did 15 years ago – “I think this is testament to the show’s power.”
RIVERDANCE at the Millennium Forum – Thursday 2nd to Sunday 5th September.
Box Office. Telephone 71 264455
SPECTACLE – Interview de Julian Erskine, producteur exécutif de Riverdance
Niamh Ní Charra – Riverdance Fiddle and Concertina