Amanda’s show on ice is a dream come true

A moment from Hot Ice Desire 2015 at Blackpool Pleasure Beach
A moment from Hot Ice Desire 2015 at Blackpool Pleasure Beach
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If over the years, you’ve been lucky enough to catch Hot Ice at the Pleasure Beach, you’ll have seen sensational skaters and some of the most flamboyant costumes this side of Las Vegas.

And the one word titles, while certainly conjuring up some imagery, might not give you much of a clue to the content of each year’s production.

This year is Desire, last was Passion and other past classics, since Pleasure Beach managing director Amanda Thompson took over the show, have included Allure, Entice, Aura and Enchanted.

So what inspires the production?

“I have the weirdest dreams on the planet,” Amanda said.

“I wake up in the middle of the night and think ‘I want a new version of Rhapsody In Blue’, and we put the creative together for it to happen.

“As soon as I have finished one year’s show, I start thinking about the next.

“It happens and evolves over time, and when I see a colour, for example when I’m shopping or visiting Istanbul, or hear a sound, everything inspires me.

“It can be the craziest thing.”

Amanda admits she has the ‘nicest friends’ on hand to write the musical arrangements, with Rhapsody being a new highlight for 2015, as well as original pieces for the show, which certainly helps make for a special production.

And she’s quite honest when asked what the story is about.

“I have a story, but it means nothing to anybody else - there is a beginning, middle and end with it though,” said Amanda, who was awarded the OBE in the 2012 New Year’s Honours.

“I tell the choreographers and then think about how I want it to develop.

“For example, if I don’t feel they are turning the page correctly, then we go again and try another way.

“Ninety per cent of the time, people enjoy how we work and explain, and interpret each others thinking.”

There’s no doubt that Hot Ice is very much Amanda’s baby.

While she works closely with her creative team, she’s also there all day, every day during the rehearsal period, which quite startlingly is just three weeks.

“I’m there from 6am to 8pm, I’m the first in and help do the ice in the morning,” she said.

“I like to know everyone who’s around.”

With a cast of skaters drawn from around the world, including former Olympic and international champions, the show can be a challenge to put together.

But the stars are so keen to be in Hot Ice, there are even offers of working for free, Amanda said.

“One of the most difficult things is when you bring people together,” she explained.

“There’s 10 or 12 different nationalities, not necessarily speaking the same language - but all speaking the language of ice dance.

“And ice skaters usually learn one on one, so it’s also a case of training them to skate together for the group pieces.

“If you work on Hot Ice, you can work anywhere in the world,” she proudly adds. “They know it’s hard, but they want to do it.

“One of our skaters this year has been writing to me for many years saying it was his dream to be in Hot Ice, and I just didn’t have a space for him. This year I did, so emailed him and brought him in.

“It’s nice when people really, really want to do it.

“I’ve had people so desperate to do it that they want to work for free - not often, but it happens.”

* Hot Ice, The Arena, Blackpool Pleasure Beach, until Saturday, September 5. Call 0871 222 9090 for tickets.