Meet The Team
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. 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. 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 received its first performance in 2013. Linen & Lace, a flute concerto for Sir James Galway, was commissioned by Lyric FM to mark the Limerick City of Culture in 2014. A new musical, The Train, with lyrics by Arthur Riordan and music by Bill Whelan was performed in Limerick and Dublin in October 2015.
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 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’s 19th 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 toured extensively to universal acclaim in North America and China.
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.
He is also an accomplished photographer and is Ambassador for Trócaire, one of Ireland’s largest development agencies . The documentary This Is Palestine follows John on his journey through Gaza and the West Bank. His recent book of photographs Looking at the Same Moon, in aid of Trocaire documents the lives of people in Palestine and Guatemala.
Senior Executive Producer
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.