UL Arena’s ‘flexibility’ on show for Riverdance

Alan Owens


Alan Owens

Riverdance composer Bill Whelan and producer Moya Doherty outside his child hood home in the city. The show opens in the UL Arena this Thursday. Picture: Sean Curtin
JUST a handful of tickets remain on sale for Riverdance in the UL Arena after ‘phenomenal interest’ in the show.

JUST a handful of tickets remain on sale for Riverdance in the UL Arena after ‘phenomenal interest’ in the show.

All but one of the seven shows were sold out as of this morning, with construction on the massive set in the sports facility starting over the weekend.

Upwards of 17,000 people will witness the 20th anniversary staging of the show, which opens this Thursday night. It the first time Riverdance has been performed in Limerick and it represents the first major centrepiece of City of Culture.

After massive demand, an extra show was added to the run, a 1pm matinee performance on Saturday, which organisers expect to sell out this week.

Promoter of the show on behalf of Limerick City of Culture John Cleary said: “I would imagine we would be sold out before doors open, which is the objective.”

“It is an international show, but the thing is you never know when you start pitching these things whether people will buy into them. Thankfully here people have bought into it. Nonetheless you need to have a good product and there has been phenomenal interest.”

Riverdance composer Bill Whelan, who hails from Barrington Street in city, said the show, seen by 23 million people over 12,000 performances across 45 countries around the world, was “coming home”.

“The fact that the 20th anniversary tour is kicking off in Limerick, for me, to launch the tour here, is a very special thing,” he said.

UL Arena director Dave Mahedy explained that he was excited for the general public to “get a feel for how big the Arena is”.

“Last weekend we had the bridal fair and the catwalk and stalls, now this week we have Riverdance, next week we will have the national gymnastic championships. It is flexible and once you have the space, you can do anything with it,” he said.

“We started work on Friday night, the carpet went down and the first bit of staging and seating came on Saturday. That will be finished today and everything will be in place for Tuesday and Wednesday for rehearsals, and then Thursday is the show.”