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Riverdance in Israel - set designer boycotts tour
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Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Sat May 21, 2011 8:05 am ]
Post subject:  Riverdance in Israel - set designer boycotts tour


Robert Ballagh

Riverdance will visit Israel in September 2011, but the show's designer, Robert Ballagh, will boycott the tour:

Riverdance in Israel: Robert Ballagh’s Open Letter

26th April 2011

As the designer of Riverdance I am personally disappointed to learn of the decision to perform the show in Israel at this time.

Many years ago I was honoured to meet Nelson Mandela when he was in Ireland. I took the opportunity to ask his opinion on the cultural and sporting boycott of South Africa. He replied by saying that the boycott was an essential weapon in the struggle against apartheid. His forceful words came back to me last year when I, along with many other Irish creative and performing artists, signed a cultural boycott pledge not to visit Israel ( This was a positive response to the call by Palestinian film-makers, artists and cultural organisations for a cultural boycott of Israel. I believe that this non-violent cultural boycott will contribute to the struggle for justice for the Palestinian people.

Because I have signed up to support the cultural boycott I will not be travelling to Israel with Riverdance, and also I have decided to donate any royalties due to me for performances in Israel to the fund for the Irish boat which will be taking part in the international flotilla which is hoping to break the illegal and inhuman blockade of the citizens of Gaza.

Robert Ballagh
Artist and Riverdance Set Designer

More about Robert Ballagh's career on Wikipedia:

Author:  jmgreen [ Sun May 22, 2011 5:00 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Riverdance in Israel - set designer boycotts tour

Congratulations to Robert Ballagh for taking such a clear and principled stand in support of the call of Palestinian civil society to boycott Israel until it complies with international law.

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Tue May 24, 2011 1:41 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Riverdance in Israel - set designer boycotts tour

Robert Ballagh's Riverdance action follows on from a boycott of Israel by over 200 Irish artists including Ballogh. The boycott pledge was also signed by Irish dance artists Cindy Cummings and Seosamh O Neachtain. Here is the text of the pledge:


Here is the Irish Times article about the boycott written at its launch with 150 signatures and including a photo of Ballagh at the launch:

"Singer and songwriter Damien Dempsey hoped the boycott would encourage young people in Israel who disagreed with the government to “speak out”." ... 15164.html

And here is an update about the boycott from the website of an Irish blogger, Citizen Partridge:

"The pledge – an initiative of the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) – was launched last August and since then has garnered the support of many high profile Irish creative and performing artists such as Stephen Rea, Sinéad Cusack, Christy Moore, Donal Lunny, Andy Irvine, Damien Dempsey, Neilí Conroy, Conor Kostick, Liam Ó Maonlaí, Sharon Shannon, Robert Ballagh and Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill. The full list of signatories can be viewed online at" ... gnatories/

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Mon May 30, 2011 4:06 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Riverdance in Israel - set designer boycotts tour

Two online articles about the Irish artists' boycott of Israel, one in favour, one against:

“So folks, it’s up to you now to do something similar in your countries. We expect more Irish artists will sign this pledge, but if we simply take the figure of 150 and the relative population sizes, the equivalent is about 2,000 British artists or 10,000 American ones. Ar aghaidh libh!” ... ycott.html

"The self-confessed elite of the Irish artistic community exists to provide only one service -- making the rest of us laugh our collective **** off at their pompous, deluded self-importance.

Indeed, you only have to look at a group like Aosdána to see how a bunch of people who reside in well-deserved obscurity have an almost quaint habit of issuing political statements that nobody in the real world gives a **** about."

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