Last month, audiences were enthralled by Disney on Ice’s latest ice-skating spectacular, ‘Princesses and Heroes’. Sound & Stage caught up with Ali Haidary, CEO and founder of Sport and Entertainment Solutions (SES) and Thomas Clements, managing partner at Maestra, to find out more...
Thomas Clements: For the 2014 production of Disney on Ice: Rocking Ever After, SES looked in the market for a competitive and capable technical supplier that could deliver a total production solution including AV, draping and carpentry. With our wide range of technical equipment and industry relationships we were able to offer SES a very competitive package. We offered a comprehensive turnkey event package and project management that would allow them to focus their energies on the logistics and marketing of managing a large touring production. Our first partnership in 2015 was extremely successful and we found that there was a fantastic synergy between our teams. This relationship has grown stronger over the past year, Maestra and SES teams work extremely closely together throughout the design and planning process to ensure that together we deliver a fantastic event as efficiently as possible.
Ali Haidary: The ice-rink is portable and travels with the show on its worldwide tour. The rink travels with its own specialist experts for build-up, maintenance and dismantle. We provide a local team to assist in the laying and watering of the rink. It takes six hours in total to lay the flooring system and connect all piping. It takes anywhere between 48 and 72 hours of constant watering to create the finished ice rink depending on the ambient temperature (which in Dubai is high!). The Ice is kept cooled by four external chillers which work 24/7 to ensure perfect ice for skating. The tour travels with a Zamboni Ice resurfacer that cleans and smoothens the surface of the ice sheet prior to each show and during the intermission. The team of ice technicians that travel with the show are adept at making sure the ice is in perfect condition for each show. We obviously have very high ambient temperatures in Dubai which means we have to keep a close watch on the ambient temperature inside the room and ensure that the air-conditioning is consistent throughout the build-up and show.
TC: Maestra works with SES to provide a total technical production solution for the Disney on Ice shows. Our primary work is to transform the otherwise dull concession areas, grandstands and walkways into exciting spaces that reflect the nature of the show, as well as support the touring show with any requirements. This year we designed and built a 10m high structure as a VIP lounge in the main concession area with a built-in 8m x 5m LED screen on the façade. In the front of house area we provided 60 Martin and Clay Paky moving head fixtures with custom snow gobos to create a winter feel. To ensure maximum impact of the show lighting and effects, we also provide over 5,500m2 of fire retardant show draping in the venue.
Article continues on next page...
TC: This year our build-up schedule in Dubai World Trade Centre was very tight due to other shows in the venue. Usually the show takes five days to build and this year we had only three to transform the venue into a fully functioning ice show. With a range of different suppliers on site, planning was the key to delivering on time. For the past six months all suppliers have been meeting regularly with the SES production team to devise an extremely detailed build-up schedule. Working in such a small space with a number of suppliers (seating, staging, AV, F&B, branding) required a great deal of team work from all. Maestra provided over 30 crew on a 24-hour rotation during the build to ensure that all production elements were delivered in time.
TC: From the offset the vision was to create an exciting experience that extended beyond just an ice show. We developed a concept alongside SES for an impressive entrance and concession area. We projected colourful snow patterns across over 2000m2 of white fabric to create a moving winter wonderland. It was a very simple yet effective way to transform the dull walls of an exhibition centre, and it was great to see the excitement of children (and adults) as they entered the area in anticipation of the actual show.
TC: We hope to build on our experiences with SES and continue to support them in developing new entertainment events across The Middle East. As a company, we are relatively new to the region but we have had an exciting first 18 months. We have rapidly increased our inventory and team, allowing us to support large projects like Disney on Ice. We will continue to improve our inventory and facilities over the next 12 months to enable ourselves an even greater capacity to support our event partners across the region.