The show combines ice skating, aerial arts, puppetry and film (photo: Louise Stickland)
World - Engineering and automation specialists Wicreations is supplying flying and rigging solutions to the Ice Age Live - A Mammoth Adventuretour produced by Stage Entertainment Touring Productions, which continues to enthral audiences worldwide now on its latest third leg of an extensive touring schedule that started in 2012 and is currently scheduled until 2017.

The show, directed by Guy Caron and Michael Curry, combines ice skating, aerial arts, puppetry and film, offering a new story based on the first Ice Age film.

WIcreations has a long standing working relationship with Amsterdam based Stage Entertainment, and has been involved with various specialist rigging aspects of the Ice Age Live project from the start.

For this phase of the tour, the WIcreations team - project managed by Hans Willems - redesigned a ground support and 42m tracking system for the large upstage LED video screens, and is supplying WI stacking truss and a special SIL3 certified winch system being used for flying some of the main characters.

A total of 52m of WI stacking truss makes up a 13m diameter circle flown at the front of the stage with an arch rigged off it that is fitted with a custom double SIL 3 winch system that is used to fly two of the main characters - Peaches the baby mammoth, and her captor, the evil hawk-like bird, Shadow!

The system is compact, flexible and controlled via Kinesys Vector software, which is highly versatile and reliable. The tracking dollies fit inside the WI truss and the winches are able to move on four axes - right/left and up/down, which enables some complex choreography to happen extremely smoothly.

As with all WI solutions, the system is also optimized for quick and straightforward set-ups and de-rigs, and WIcreations is also supplying an operator for the tour.

The WI trusses are designed to maximize headroom in any venue, whilst taking up just a third of the volume of standard full-strength truss. Due to its stacking design, it is also extremely expedient on truck space.

SIL 3 compliant winches were needed for the German shows, and WI has these available through its regular hire stock. Three additional WI SIL 3 winches are being supplied for personnel flying.

The upstage ground support and WI tracking system moves six panels of LED screen left and right to facilitate entrances and exits for performers and scenery pieces throughout the show.

Hans Willems comments, "Working for Stage Entertainment Touring and Holiday On Ice since 2006 continually presents us with new and exciting technical challenges. It's great for creative engineering - to have to push boundaries further all the time - and also to work with a brilliant production team and crew.

"For this one, the brain-teaser was finding a perfect balance between taking up minimal truck space and ensuring that everything could be built and installed quickly and practically once on site. The requirement for lightweight designs with limited rigging weight meant custom ground-supports, which can be a great asset in helping fit a large production into a low capacity venue.

"WI has supported the producers from A till Z on this with design, fabrication, engineering, safety certification for all the cities and countries on the tour as well as supplying a large quantity of rental gear."

(Jim Evans)

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