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Riverdance earns creators 52m euros

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Riverdance has so far earned more than 50 million euros for its creators Moya Doherty and John McColgan, according to accounts filed in Dublin for their company Abhann Productions.

Nine years ago the pair risked their home to finance the production, which is now a showbiz phenomenon that has been seen by an estimated 18 million people in 16 countries. They set up Abhann Productions, the vehicle that was used to transform Riverdance from its humble beginnings as an interval act in the 1994 Eurovision Song Contest into an international smash hit.

Under the original investment agreement, the company was wholly owned by Doherty and McColgan and held a 65.6% share in the Riverdance production. State broadcaster RTE owned a further 20% of the show andhe remaining 14% was shared by a number of investors, including U2 manager Paul McGuinness, music industry promoter Maurice Cassidy and Tommy Higgins, managing director of booking agent Ticketmaster.

According to the accounts, in the period between July 1996 and February 2000, McColgan and Doherty collected 52 million euros from the profits of the show, with the returns for the other investors decided on a sliding scale. However, since 2000 Abhann Productions has assumed full control of Riverdance, thereby increasing the earnings of its two principals.

Meanwhile, the show goes on. It recently opened in Malaysia and is continuing in the US, though in smaller theatres. It is due to return to Dublin in May of this year to mark its tenth anniversary.

Riverdance has long since earned a place in Irish entertainment history, as well as making its creators the country’s richest showbiz couple. Appropriately, having risked their home in the initial investment, they are now putting their millions into property.

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