About

The Founders

The Imperial Ice Stars was formed in July 2004 as a joint venture between two leading producers of live entertainment, Tony Mercer and James Cundall, and businessman and former speed skater Vladislav Olenin.

Originally collaborating on a production of The Sleeping Beauty on Ice in Hong Kong in 1998, James and Tony also produced The Nutcracker on Ice in Australia and New Zealand in 2003 before creating their own company The Imperial Ice Stars in 2004. 

Award-winning Tony Mercer is widely regarded as the world's leading ice director and choreographer, and has over 15 years experience in creating ice shows such as The Sleeping Beauty on Ice, The Nutcracker on Ice, Cinderella on Ice, Barnum on Ice, Phantom of the Opera on Ice, Peter Pan on Ice and Carmen on Ice. With his new productions of The Sleeping Beauty on Ice (2004-06 and 2007-09), Swan Lake on Ice (2006-08), Cinderella on Ice (2008-2010) and a new adaptation of The Nutcracker on Ice (2012-2014), performed by The Imperial Ice Stars, he has added a greater theatricality to the performances, and taken ice choreography to new limits, creating a new genre of 'Theatre on Ice' and broadening its appeal to a more adult audience.

James Cundall is one of the top producers of live entertainment across five continents with over 80 productions to his name - musicals such as Les Misérables, Cats, The Phantom of the Opera, Miss Saigon, Chicago, Singin' in the Rain, Oliver, Cabaret, and We Will Rock You; spectaculars such as Cirque du Soleil's Alegría and Riverdance; plays such as The Blue Room and Talking Heads; and solo performers such as Dame Kiri te Kanawa, Jose Carreras, Andrea Bocelli, Elaine Paige, Clive James and Jamie Oliver, to name just a few.

James Cundall is Chief Executive of Lunchbox Theatrical Productions, based in the UK with subsidiary offices in Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore and the Philippines.

The Producers

The Imperial Ice Stars are produced by Lunchbox Theatrical Productions, Tony Mercer and David Atkins Enterprises.

Tony Mercer

Producer and Artistic Director

Award-winning Tony Mercer is recognised as one of the world’s leading directors and choreographers of theatre-on-ice shows. His productions over the past two decades have toured extensively throughout the United Kingdom, Europe, Eastern Europe, The Middle East, Australia, New Zealand, Asia, Russia, South Africa and Canada.

Tony developed his hobby of working in theatre into a full time career following a serious leg injury, which curtailed his dream of becoming a professional footballer.

Having completed his Drama Studies in Manchester, he started out as a production rigger, and rapidly progressed to becoming a lighting designer and began travelling the world, lighting shows and working as a tour manager and production manager for such international artists as The Three Degrees, Dionne Warwick, The Supremes, Elkie Brooks, Kool & The Gang, The Commodores, The Four Tops, The Temptations, Jack Jones, Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes to name just a few, before going on to manage The Dooleys.

Having originally been asked to work on the concept of Theatre on Ice shows in 1991 and bringing this idea to life, in 1993 Tony was invited to join Wild Rose Ice Theatre as Production Executive for the company’s first tour of The Sleeping Beauty on Ice and was later appointed Artistic Director. In 1994 Tony directed his first ice show, Summer Ice Spectacular, before going on to direct and choreograph Phantom of the Opera on Ice, Barnum on Ice, Carmen on Ice, Cinderella on Ice, a second tour of Sleeping Beauty on Ice, Peter Pan on Ice, and lastly the 2003 Australasian touring production of The Nutcracker on Ice.

In 2004 Tony Mercer, Vladislav Olenin and James Cundall set up The Imperial Ice Stars to bring to life a new style of ‘Theatre on Ice’ and toured The Sleeping Beauty on Ice in Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore, UK, Germany, Holland, and South Africa (2005) as part of a world tour. From 2006–2008 Swan Lake on Ice toured five continents, playing to more than 1.5 million people and earning universal praise from critics and audiences alike. This was followed by the 2008-10 world tour of Cinderella on Ice. Since then Tony has re-staged Swan Lake on Ice for a second international tour, created a new production of The Nutcracker on Ice, and has now re-staged The Sleeping Beauty on Ice.

The Producers

David Atkins Enterprises (DAE)

David Atkins Enterprises (DAE) is one of the world's leading Event & Production Companies. Headed by David Atkins OAM, DAE has been producing international ceremonies, musicals, arena events and live productions across Australia, Asia, America, Europe and now the Middle East for over 25 years. DAE co-produced The Imperial Ice Stars - Swan Lake on Ice.

Major Events created and produced by DAE most recently include the Opening Ceremony of the Rugby World Cup for Rugby New Zealand 2011, a Guinness World Record breaking 3D video-mapping show in celebration of Alfa Bank’s 20th anniversary and Moscow’s 864th birthday and the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the 2011 Arab Games in Doha, Qatar. DAE’s other major events include the Opening & Closing Ceremonies of the Doha 2006 Asian Games; the Opening & Closing Ceremonies of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games; the Closing Ceremony Harbour Spectacular of the Sydney 2000 Olympics; and the Melbourne Handover Ceremony of the 2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games. In 2010 DAE was proud to produce the Opening, Closing & Victory Ceremonies of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games which won three Emmy Awards and the Opening Ceremony – Outdoor Event for World Expo 2010 Shanghai China.

 

Tim A. Duncan : Composer & Arranger

The Sleeping Beauty on Ice, Swan Lake on Ice, Cinderella on Ice, The Nutcracker on Ice

Born in Manchester, England, Tim Duncan’s first musical offering was written when he was eight years old. He went on to play horn, and study composition and orchestral arranging at the Royal College of Music, London. Several rock bands later and after a successful career as a freelance sound engineer, Tim has come full circle and now almost exclusively works as a composer and producer. He has worked with Tony Mercer for almost two decades on ‘theatre-on-ice’ productions.

Together with Edward Barnwell and Peter Whitfield, Tim re-arranged Tchaikovsky’s scores for both The Sleeping Beauty on Ice and Swan Lake on Ice, while he and Peter re-arranged the score for The Nutcracker on Ice. The scores were performed by the Manchester Symphony Orchestra, and conducted by Tim.

Together with Edward Barnwell, Tim wrote the original score for Cinderella on Ice, with Peter completing the string arrangements. Conducted by Tim, the music was recorded by the Moscow State Cinematic Orchestra with soloists and percussion from the Manchester Symphony Orchestra added to complete the sound track.

Maria Orlova : Assistant Creative Director

The Sleeping Beauty on Ice, Swan Lake on Ice, Cinderella on Ice, The Nutcracker on Ice

Maria Orlova has been involved in the world of ice skating since the age of five and has won medals at numerous national and international skating competitions. After turning professional, Maria performed in shows around the world with Igor Bobrin Ice Theatre and as a member of the Russian Ice Stars, where she performed a number of lead roles in Carmen on Ice, Phantom of the Opera on Ice, Cinderella on Ice, Peter Pan on Ice and The Sleeping Beauty on Ice.

Maria created choreography for The Imperial Ice Stars 2004-2006 world tour of The Sleeping Beauty on Ice, the 2006-2008 world tour of Swan Lake on Ice, the 2008-10 world tour of Cinderella on Ice, the 2011-12 world tour of The Nutcracker on Ice as well as The Imperial Ice Stars’ appearances on Russian national television. During 2009 she became a well-known face in Russia as coach and demonstrator on Channel One’s prime-time ice dancing programme Ice Age, and went on to appear in the series Hot Ice also on Channel One. She is enjoying a growing reputation as one of the world’s leading ice choreographers.

Choreography


Evgeny Platov

Swan Lake on Ice, Cinderella on Ice, The Nutcracker on Ice

Evgeny Platov, is the only man ever to win two Olympic gold medals in competitive ice dance – the 1994 season and the 1998 season – with his partner Oksana Grishuk, and together they won 20 consecutive competitions during that period.  Evgeny’s achievements, medal list and experience go far beyond the two Olympic, four World and three European gold medals he has garnered during his career.  Evgeny is currently based in the USA coaching and choreographing for a number of the world’s leading competitive skaters, and was part of the creative team that won a gold medal for Russia’s Tatiana Navka and Roman Kostamarov at the 2006 Winter Olympic Games in Turin. He also coaches the leading British ice dance pair Sinead and John Kerr.

 

Albena Denkova and Maxim Staviski

Cinderella on Ice, The Nutcracker on Ice 

Albena Denkova and Maxim Staviski were the 2006 and 2007 World Champions in ice dancing. They have competed at three Winter Olympic Games, are Grand Prix Final Champions, two-time silver medallists at the European Championships and hold a plethora of other gold and silver medals from championships around the world.  Bulgarian born, they have set up a skating school in Sofia, and Albena is currently enjoying a five-year term as President of the Bulgarian Skating Federation.

 

Vladimir Uliyanov : Rehearsal Director

The Sleeping Beauty on Ice, Swan Lake on Ice, Cinderella on Ice, The Nutcracker on Ice

Vladimir Uliyanov was born in Moscow and graduated from the Ballet Academy in 1963. He went on to join the Moiseiev Dance Company where he performed as a soloist until 1987. As a soloist Vladimir performed all over the world in more than sixty countries. He completed his studies at the Institute of Ballet and graduated as a Ballet Master, going on to become a qualified ballet teacher.

From 1970 Vladimir changed direction and began working alongside some of Russia’s top ice skaters including Olympic ice dance champions Bestemianova/Bukin, Klimova/Ponomarenko and more recently Olympic Champions Ilia Kulik and Alexei Yagudin.

In 1999 Vladimir became the Rehearsal Director for the Russian Ice Stars and worked on Peter Pan, The Phantom of the Opera, Barnum, The Nutcracker on Ice and Ice Spectacular. He joined The Imperial Ice Stars at their inception and has worked on all productions to date.

Alexei Nemov : Gymnastics Consultant

Swan Lake on Ice

Alexei Nemov is one of the most medalled gymnasts of all time. He is a four-time Olympic champion, his last gold medal achieved at the Sydney Olympics in 2000, and has won eight other Olympic medals. Alexei’s talents as a gymnast are legendary and his medal credits are endless.

The Imperial Ice Stars production of Swan Lake on Ice was Alexei’s first venture into the creative world of theatre-on-ice, where he coached the gymnastic feats seen in the production. Alexei is currently working with the Russian Olympic Committee for the London 2012 Olympic Games and is also one of the figureheads for the Sochi Olympic Winter Games in 2014. He also features in his own show Alexei Nemov’s Cirque De Mira in Russia.

Eamon D'Arcy : Set Designer

The Sleeping Beauty on Ice, Swan Lake on Ice, Cinderella on Ice, The Nutcracker on Ice

Eamon D’Arcy has worked with The Imperial Ice Stars over the past decade, on The Sleeping Beauty on Ice, Swan Lake on Ice, Cinderella on Ice and The Nutcracker on Ice.

Recent work in the world of events includes the Acting Head of Design for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics and the Concept Designer for the Cisco Pavilion at the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai. Prior to that, Eamon was Senior Production Designer for the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony.

Eamon has designed for drama, dance and musical theatre in both Australia and Asia over the last 30 years. His latest theatre project in Australia – Hairspray - has been nominated for two design awards.

He holds a Master of Philosophy degree from the University of Sydney, and has been awarded a Centennial Medal by the Australian Government for his services to design.

Gavan Swift : Lighting Designer

The Sleeping Beauty on Ice, Swan Lake on Ice, Cinderella on Ice

Gavan Swift graduated from Australia’s National Institute for Dramatic Art (NIDA) in 1994. Since then he has been in constant demand as a lighting designer for plays, musicals and corporate events.

His musical lighting designs include The Pirates of Penzance, Fiddler on the Roof, Footloose, Hair and Saturday Night Fever both in Australia and London’s West End.

Gavan has worked for some of the leading theatre companies in Australia, including the Sydney Theatre Company, the Melbourne Theatre Company, Bell Shakespeare, the Ensemble Theatre, the State Theatre Company of South Australia and OzOpera.

Gavan has also designed the lighting for the Australian entertainment industry’s Helpmann Awards from 2007 to 2010. Gavan was the Associate Lighting Designer for the Australian productions of Cabaret, The Full Monty, Chicago, High School Musical, Wicked, The Lion King, and Moby Dick (State Opera of South Australia, San Diego Opera).

Richard Rhys Thomas : Lighting Designer

The Nutcracker on Ice

Richard Rhys Thomas began his career working on regional productions in the UK, before attending and graduating from the prestigious Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, with a degree in Technical Theatre.

His extensive work in lighting has led to designing a wide range of genres such as theatre, dance, corporate events, sport events, classical concerts, rock and pop concerts and television.

Since 2005, Richard has been the Lighting Designer for the internationally renowned Royal Albert Hall in London where he lights over 50 productions a year, including the 2010 Imperial Ice Stars production of Cinderella on Ice.

Richard is best known for creating exciting and dynamic lighting to enhance live music concerts of all genres, including Katherine Jenkins Christmas Concert, Jose Carreras Gala, Fame the Musical, and the Dusty Springfield Tribute Concert, to name just a few.

He has also designed lighting for individual artistes and actors such as Lang Lang, The Faces, Neil Sedaka, Eric Clapton, Mick Hucknel, Jose Carreras, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Beverly Knight, Emma Thompson, Kenneth Branagh, Kevin Spacey, Alan Rickman, Dame Judi Dench and Dame Shirley Bassey.

High profile Corporate Events have included appearances by President Bill Clinton and HRH The Prince of Wales.

Albina Gabueva : Costume Designer

Swan Lake on Ice, Cinderella on Ice

Albina Gabueva has been an artist-designer for more than 30 years. She started as a director of workshops, producing theatrical costumes for drama productions. Albina was then invited by A F Lushin, the Artistic Director, to join Moscow’s famous Stanislavsky Theatre and worked there for 20 years.

During that time she designed sets and scenery for more than one hundred opera and ballet productions. In addition, Albina supervised the production of theatrical costumes for opera and ballet and was the costume designer for many productions.

She has also designed costumes for a number of Russia’s leading theatres. For over 10 years Albina has worked with Wella-Dolores (Russian national team of cosmetologists and hairdressers) in designing and making evening dresses for the Russian national team of stylists for international competitions. Currently, Albina is a freelance artist and producer, working for a number of Russia’s producing theatres.

Elena Predvodeteleva : Costume Designer

The Nutcracker on Ice

Elena Predvodeteleva graduated in costume design from the Moscow Textile Institute in 1981, and spent the next ten years with the Russian Design House “Kuznetsky Bridge.”

Since 1991 Elena has worked as a costume designer on numerous theatrical productions, with some of Russia’s most notable directors such as R. Viktyuka at the Soboryane Theatre (Spring Awakening), Eugene Vakhtangov (Infernal Garden) at the Contemporary Theatre in Moscow, R. Lyubimov (Marat and the Marquis de Sade) at the Taganka Theatre in Moscow, T. Chkheidze (House of Heartbreak) in St. Petersburg, D. Astrakhan (Lady in the Day) and R. Kazak (Romeo and Juliet), both at the Pushkin Theatre in Moscow, with K Rod (Cagliostro in Vienna) at the State Academic Theatre of Musical Comedy in Ekaterinburg, A. Shiryaev (Angel Came Out of the Fog) at the Moscow Theatre of Satire, with M. Bychkov (Beauty Queen) at the Eugene Vkhtangov Theatre and Ged Gabler at the Voronezh Chamber Theatre, with V. Nazarov and A.N. Popkov on the musical Fiddler on the Roof, and with the composer Rybnikov on a musical play Bu-ra-ti-but.

Elena has also created costumes for films with the famous movie director, Zguridi. In addition, Elena has also designed costumes for the Moscow State Circus and a number of Variety productions, as well as evening and graduation gowns. Elena was presented with the Award of “The Seagull” in the category PRET-A-PORTER (2000 season).

Elena is an honorary permanent member of the annual exhibition The Results of the Season, dedicated to the Theatrical Premieres of the season.

The Skaters

The Imperial Ice Stars is one of the world's leading companies specialising in performing theatrical ice skating in the intimacy of the theatre stage.

Comprising the cream of Russian skating talent, the majority of the skaters have been trained by Russia's leading coaches, and some from as early as four years of age.

The Imperial Ice Stars troupe boasts 25 World, European and National Championship skaters who between them have won more than 250 competition medals.

The Imperial Ice Stars perform stunning skating feats, normally only seen in Olympic arenas, within the confines of a frozen theatre stage, including breathtaking triple flips, triple toe loops, double axels, death spirals, camel spins, Bielmanns, throw axels, awe-inspiring aerial gymnastics and their performance specialty of incredible lifts and lift sequences, unrivalled throughout the ice skating world, as part of their unique style of theatre on ice.

The internationally renowned Imperial Ice Stars have toured The Sleeping Beauty on Ice (2004-6, 2007-9), Swan Lake on Ice (2006-8), Cinderella on Ice (2008-10) and The Nutcracker on Ice (2012-14) to such countries as Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, Finland, Monaco, Cyprus, France, Germany, Spain, The Netherlands, Russia, South Africa, Canada and the UK. Their stunning productions have been enjoyed by nearly three million people worldwide and have been acclaimed by critics from London (including the Royal Albert Hall and the London Palladium) to Sydney, Toronto to Cape Town and Tokyo to Moscow.

The Technicians

The technical team behind The Imperial Ice Stars has perfected the creation of 'on stage' ice rinks to provide the ideal skating surface for the performers.

Two chillers, over 10 miles (16kms) of refrigeration pipes and 600 gallons (2,700 litres) of water are used to create 14 tonnes of ice, all in the space of 34 hours.