The world’s longest running ice show kicks off in Blackpool this week, with organisers promising the biggest and best show yet.
And bosses behind the annual Hot Ice spectacular, which will boast 26 skaters from 11 countries, admitted this has been possibly the hardest event for them to create, as there has been just three weeks of rehearsal this year.
Normally the show benefits from four weeks’ preparation, but bosses at Blackpool Pleasure Beach, which puts on the skating spectacular every summer, have reduced it for budget reasons.
Pleasure Beach managing director Amanda Thompson OBE said: “It’s been really hard doing it in three weeks, but it has saved on budget.
“You have to bear in mind that the rink is not open to the public after 8am Monday to Saturday, and is not generating any income when the show is rehearsing. If I can manage to have a week less in rehearsal that means the children can have more time on the ice.”
Amanda has a hand in everything that happens in the show – which opens tomorrow and runs until September 7 – from the lighting and costumes to the skating stars lined up to appear.
She said: “I have chosen every performer, every costume and every piece of music.
“I have not missed one minute of it. I am writing lighting and costume notes during rehearsals and I am tweaking and sorting out any problems to make sure everything is right and flows smoothly.”
But from tomorrow all Amanda can do is watch, as her skating stars take to the ice to put on the show.
She added: “It’s quite an electric atmosphere to watch because not only do the stars want to really entertain the audience, they are still competing with each other which makes it really exciting.
“That’s what Hot Ice is, you have to be able to run a marathon every day, especially with two shows a day.”
This year’s show features some home-grown talent with Charlotte Waring, a Blackpool-born figure skater who won four gold medals in 2011 and one bronze medal in the NISA National cup trophy. Charlotte has been teaching at the Pleasure Beach Arena for five years.
Also on the bill is Dancing on Ice professional Katie Stainsby who began skating at Pleasure Beach Arena. She has skated her way around the globe and appeared on Dancing on Ice in Holland and in 2011 with rapper Vanilla Ice for the UK show. She also teaches at Pleasure Beach.
Other stars of Hot Ice have come from Russia, the Ukraine, the USA, Canada, Australia, France, Switzerland and, for the first time, Japan.
Amanda said: “I like that there are some local skaters who grew up in Blackpool and have literally spent their life wanting to be in it.”
Hot Ice began at Blackpool Pleasure Beach in 1937, and recently won Best Show at the Big E Awards in Las Vegas.
Amanda added: “I love the theatre and live entertainment. I think so many children today spend a lot of time in front of the TV or computers but it’s really very important that they experience live entertainment and get memories that last forever.”