Rink transforms King’s Lynn Corn Exchange ready for Peter Pan show

Rehearsals for Peter Pan on Ice at the King's Lynn Corn Exchange. Picture: Ian Burt

Rehearsals for Peter Pan on Ice at the King's Lynn Corn Exchange. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

It might be warming up outside, but it's getting pretty chilly on stage.

Rehearsals for Peter Pan on Ice at the King's Lynn Corn Exchange. Picture: Ian Burt

Rehearsals for Peter Pan on Ice at the King's Lynn Corn Exchange. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

Fourteen tonnes of ice are needed on stage for the Russian Ice Stars' performance of Peter Pan on Ice, which begins at 2.30pm on Wednesday and runs until Sunday night.

A strict timetable needs to be followed in order that the ice rink is ready in time for rehearsal skating. The work starts the previous morning when technicians arrive at the venue with two 45ft trucks.

Eight venue technicians unload the set and costume truck, known as the dry truck, and start rigging lights, set and flying equipment. Then the wet truck containing the floor system and surround is unloaded and the task of building the ice

rink begins.

Rehearsals for Peter Pan on Ice at the King's Lynn Corn Exchange. Picture: Ian Burt

Rehearsals for Peter Pan on Ice at the King's Lynn Corn Exchange. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt


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Two 15m X 15m industrial pool liners are laid on the stage and side supports from wood are built to create a large but shallow swimming pool. Inside the pool, 15km of a special flexible rubber pipe is laid and connected to a header system which is connected to two chiller units on the back of the wet truck. Two chiller units are used so that in the unlikely event of a total breakdown of one unit, the second will maintain the rink and prevent flooding of the stage.

The floor system is filled with anti-freeze and the pressure is checked.

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The anti-freeze is then chilled to –15*C and circulated through the floor pipes. At this point the rubber pipes, which become three times as cold as a household freezer, begin to frost over.

Four tons of crushed ice is then spread over the floor pipes, providing a head start in the freezing process. From this point, the rink is sprayed with water every 20-30 minutes until it reaches 7-8cm thick. This takes 18 hours.

Rehearsals for Peter Pan on Ice at the King's Lynn Corn Exchange. Picture: Ian Burt

Rehearsals for Peter Pan on Ice at the King's Lynn Corn Exchange. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

Some 14,000 litres of water are needed - enough to make around 56,000 cups of tea in the venue's nearby cafe.

After the performance, it takes 140 hours to dismantle the rink, ready for the show to hit the road to its next venue.

Performances are at 2.30pm on Wednesday and Thursday, priced £26.50, with concs £25.50 and child/OAP £16.50; 7.30pm on Wedesnday and Thursday priced £26.50, with concs £25.50 and child/OAP £16.50. Friday (7pm), Saturday (2.30/7.30pm) and Sunday (1pm/4pm) are priced £28, concs £27, child/OAP £17.50.

Rehearsals for Peter Pan on Ice at the King's Lynn Corn Exchange. Picture: Ian Burt

Rehearsals for Peter Pan on Ice at the King's Lynn Corn Exchange. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

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