From box office boy to the glare of the spotlight, a lot can change in 12 months.
And that’s the journey for young skater James Horrocks, as he prepares to make his debut in Blackpool’s world famous Hot Ice Show’s 2017 production Dreams.
But for James, the dream began as a child taking lessons at the South Shore rink, climbing the ranks to compete nationally and staring in the BICDA children’s ice pantomimes each year.
Tonight, the Thornton teenager will swap school books for feathers and sequins to join the cast of 30 skaters from across the globe to appear in the coolest show in town.
“It is a dream come true to be part of Hot Ice,” he said. “Some of the skaters are so talented and from such a high level of competition.
“I’ve seen some of them as a fan, and others, when I did my research into some of the cast I was thinking ‘Oh my God’, I’m going to be on the rink with these people.
“It’s weird to think I’ll be going from looking up to the Hot Ice skaters to being someone younger skaters will look up to.”
Since the start of June, 18-year-old former Cardinal Allen School pupil James has been combining rehearsals with a packed revision schedule for his final A Level exams in modern history, religion, ethics and philosophy and fine art at Blackpool Sixth Form College.
“It’s really different from competing and from the BIDCA shows,” he said. “I can’t wait for opening night.
“I was so nervous and excited to start rehearsals. I have seen Hot Ice every year, and it’s so hard to get into the cast. It didn’t really sink in until I started rehearsals.
“It has been hard [combining study and rehearsals], but I had to separate the two completely - focusing on revision when I get home and on the show when I get to the Arena.”
Another home grown star of the rink appearing this year is figure skater Charlotte Waring, who returns for her fifth year in the show.
A coach at the arena and former British gold medal-winner, 29-year-old South Shore resident Charlotte admits she’s feeling like a ‘veteran’ among the cast this year.
“We’ve got a lot of new cast members, almost half I think, and everyone’s getting on really well. James is like our little brother.
Hot Ice last year marked its 80th anniversary, having launched in 1936 in the Pleasure Beach Arena - the world’s first purpose-built ice theatre.
The show has been produced and directed by Pleasure Beach managing director Amanda Thompson since 1994.
The show runs until Saturday, September 9. Call 0871 222 9090 to book.