Ice skating has a long history at the Hall, dating back to 1889 and has seen us welcome a wide variety of ice shows.
The first ice rink at the Hall was constructed in March 1889 for an Ice Carnival, Bazaar & Festival for the benefit of the West End Hospital (closed in 1972). This event featured snow shoe races and comic skaters.
Olympic gold-medal winning skater John Curry, known for combining ballet and modern dance influences into skating, brought his show A Symphony on Ice to the Hall in April 1984. This was the only time the whole arena floor was frozen over.
An extended stage formed a skating rink in December 1995 for David Essex’s Beauty and the Beast. During the performance David was surprised by Michael Aspel, presenting him with the famous This Is Your Life red book.
The Imperial Ice Stars were first welcomed to the Hall in February 2010 for the critically acclaimed show Cinderella on Ice. The group return again in May 2012 for Swan Lake on Ice.
Transforming the Auditorium
Converting this 141 year old concert hall into an arena fit for ice dancing takes several days.
For the Cinderella on Ice show, 9 tonnes of crushed ice were spread across a ‘miniature pond’ created on the floor and then sprayed with water. The ice was kept frozen by some 16 miles of piping that connect to 3 chillers located in the Hall’s basement. Learn more on this BBC News feature.
View a time-lapse video taken during the construction of Cinderella on Ice here in 2010:
Removing the ice is a tricky logistical issue itself. In 1984 following John Curry’s A Symphony on Ice, the ice was chopped up, put on skips and dumped in the River Thames.