The makers of a popular Irish music and dance show say they have “tweaked and overhauled” their original production to turn it into a full-blown musical about emigration that can stand the test of time.
Musician Ged Graham, a Dublin-born Manchunian, joined Essence of Ireland six years ago as creative director and co-writer. He says that as an Irishman who spent most of his adult life away from the country, he wanted to give people a tale of emigration that many Irish people can relate to.
Now it is back and after what he says is a complete revamp tours the UK from next month as Ireland’s Call.
“There have been an awful lot of changes since Essence of Ireland. That was more of a song and dance show with a ribbon of the story,” he says. “Ireland’s Call has moved towards a full blown musical, there’s lots of dialogue and acting, and I am prouder of the story, now that we have honed it.”
Inspired by true events and spanning three decades, this musical follows the journey of Sean Dempsey, who at the end of WW2 leaves behind his childhood sweetheart Cora and his beloved homeland in search of a better life in America.
“I suppose as an artist you are never fully happy with what you do and always trying to improve your work and make it better and I feel we do the story more justice now. It’s a very truthful story with lots of ups and downs, and one any Irish emigrant can relate to.
“We have more original songs this time around and it’s just great to have the chance to reinvent some of the Irish narrative stories that can be told in 50 years.
“I’m a musician as well as an actor first and foremost and bought up with narrative singers of The Dubliners. When you add that kind of narrative from the show’s perspective it allows you to get inside the mind of an immigrant arriving in England in 1948, what they saw and experienced and that’s what we’ve put in the story.
“When I joined the show there was a bit of comedy, a dance, then a song and it seemed very scripted.
“Now this musical really takes the whole narrative story and tells it through music song dance and dialogue. It’s really picked up a couple of notches.
“We’ve tried to make it more natural and it is more professional as it moves seamlessly between the scenes and songs and music.
“And the dancers we have are amazing too.
“They are all mainly Irish trained but also in other disciplines like contemporary and ballet and tap.
“There were hundreds at the auditions, I had never seen them go round the block before which just goes to show the level that we are at now.
“We have made sure that the dance routines reflect the period which begins in a village hall in New Ross Co. Wexford in 1948, carries through to the rock and roll age.”
Find out more here: www.irelandscallthemusical.com