Interview with Tony Mercer

Producer and Artistic director Tony Mercer returned home this week with his latest production ‘Sleeping Beauty on Ice’ at The Lowry.

By Matthew Tyas | April 8th '13

Born and raised in Salford, Producer and Artistic director Tony Mercer returned home this week with his latest production ‘Sleeping Beauty on Ice’ at The Lowry.

ATony

Mercer spent his childhood living opposite the previous Salford Rugby Club site, attended Salford Grammar School and went on to study Drama at University in Manchester. Performing was always his first love although Tony found he had a natural talent for football, which eventually led to him becoming a professional footballer. Despite this he continued his loved for the theatre whilst playing the beautiful game.

His ‘Sleeping Beauty on Ice’ production which runs till 7th April sees 15 tons of real ice to laid on top of The Lowry stage, a place Mercer returns to after his award-winning Ice show there back in 2006.

All of this changed one fateful day when he played a charity football match and broke his leg. This became a defining moment for Tony as it signalled the end of his football career and made him more determined than ever to return to the stage.

In 1984 he formed the Imperial Ice Stars, inspired after watching an ice arena performance from Torvill and Dean.
Mercer explains: “I loved every minute of what I was seeing but the setting let it down. It missed the theatrical magic and it was cold by the ringside. I wanted to take the essence of it and put it on a stage and show ice dancing in a specific way and setting.”

His ‘Sleeping Beauty on Ice’ production which runs till 7th April sees 15 tons of real ice to laid on top of The Lowry stage, a place Mercer returns to after his award-winning Ice show there back in 2006.

Can he put on his show in any theatre though?
“No”, Tony explains, “ I make sure I look for theatres that have great facilities and The Lowry has that, it ticks all the boxes for me”.

Tony continues, “Dance is beautiful in whatever form. You watch ‘Dancing on Ice’ you see how skaters like Torvill & Dean have the ability to generate speed far quicker than any other medium, they have an extra facet of grace along with that speed and an element of danger. All of this combined makes ice dancing so engaging which is why over 14 million have watched The Imperial Ice Stars since they were formed nearly 10 years ago.”

Whilst ‘Sleeping Beauty on Ice’ enjoys its Salford run there will be 2 large refrigerators on site plus an ‘Ice Doctor” whose job it is to check the temperature is always correct so the ice remains frozen and doesn’t melt (the optimum temperature for the ice is minus 15 degrees).

The Imperial Ice Stars will celebrate their 10th Anniversary next year by performing at the Kremlin in Russia which will also coincide with Russia hosting the Winter Olympics which fits in perfectly.

www.thelowry.com