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  • Nov 11th, 2009 @ 1:31am

    Legal row over Riverdance costumes settled. (New One likely to Begin on behalf of the Original Designer).

    Tuesday, 10 November 2009 22:22

    A High Court action in Dublin Ireland over costumes used in the Riverdance show has been settled after fashion designer Jen Kelly withdrew claims that his designs had been used without his consent.

    The designer had sued the Riverdance production companies owned by Moya Doherty and John McColgan and claimed that he had been 'airbrushed out of the history' of the world famous dance show.

    He was seeking more than €800,000 in damages for breach of contract, claiming he had not been given the proper credit for his work.

    However, the High Court was told that a compromise had been reached and the action could be struck out.

    Lawyers for Mr Kelly said he acknowledged that his costume designs or copies were not used for any live performance after the end of 2001.

    Afterwards producer Moya Doherty said no financial settlement whatsoever was involved. She said she was delighted that the allegations had been withdrawn and said they could now get back to the business of real theatre.

    The designer Jen Kelly has said there was a financial settlement in today's case.

    It followed the comment made by Ms Doherty in which she said there was 'absolutely no settlement' when asked if there was a financial agreement.

    Mr Kelly said the terms were to be confidential and he had been honouring its terms by not disclosing details outside court today.

    However, he said following Ms Doherty's comments he would now confirm that there was in fact a financial settlement.

    Jen Kelly said he was delighted to be getting back to what he was good at - designing clothes.

    Joan Bergin, the award winning designer who succeeded Mr Kelly as a costume designer on the show, said she was relieved for every costume designer in theatre who would now not have to be 'looking over their shoulder'.

    At the opening of the case last week Abhann Productions and Tyrone Productions of Mary Street Little in Dublin had denied the claims.

    The High Court was told that an agreement reached nine years ago included a payment of £30,000 in settlement of all disputes between the parties.

    The court heard that after its success at the Eurovision Song Contest, Jen Kelly agreed in 1994 to design costumes for Riverdance the show.

    His lawyers said he used his own knowledge of Irish dancing to create costumes which became the 'iconic' look associated with Riverdance.

    As the show's popularity expanded an agreement was struck in 1996 whereby he was to receive royalties of £60 per performance.

    But difficulties arose and in 1998 he was informed that another designer Joan Bergin would be used for the costumes in a new Riverdance show on Broadway in New York.

    In 1999 a second agreement was reached that his costumes would be used until the end of 2001.

    A third agreement the following year was reached after he complained he was not receiving credit for his work. In that agreement he received £30,000.

    However, he claimed that since then his costumes were used in live performances as well as in promotional material for the show without his consent.

    He also claimed that his designs had been tampered with and that costumes used in promotional material implied to the public that they were designed by someone else.

    Addendum to the above:

    Quote from Joan Bergin:-

    "Joan Bergin, the award winning designer who succeeded Mr Kelly as a costume designer on the show, said she was relieved for every costume designer in theatre who would now not have to be 'looking over their shoulder'"

    Well if Joan is so righteous, could she tell us all what her remuneration from the Riverdance Show over all these years has been. Also does she believe that the actual original designer of the Riverdance costumes should be recognised and have her copyright and intellectual property rights to the Riverdance costumes recognised.

    Does Joan agree that the original costume designer, who has actually been put through a living hell in all of this be adequately compensated?


    Wed, 11 Nov 2009 09:31:2 GMT Standard Time Wk 46