THE auditorium at Clacton’s Princes Theatre is set to be transformed into an ice rink this Christmas as part of a special festive treat.

The theatre’s traditional pantomime has been cancelled due to the restrictions surrounding Covid-19.

With other festive events around the country also being pulled, the theatre team wanted to put on something special for the community.

The auditorium of the theatre, in Station Road, Clacton, will become a synthetic ice rink available for small groups to book for 45 minute sessions.

Tendring Council, which runs the Princes Theatre, hopes visitors then go on to spend in Clacton town centre on Christmas shopping, a meal or even just a hot chocolate.

Alex Porter, cabinet member for leisure and tourism at the council, said he hoped plenty of people would get their skates on and enjoy the chance to skate.

“We hope that our ice rink will bring some festive sparkle to what has largely been a gloomy year,” he said.

“With the pantomime cancelled and ongoing restrictions to tackle Covid-19, we hope this attraction – which can run in a Covid-secure way – will spread some cheer at Christmas.”

Mr Porter added: “We’re also looking to work with local businesses on sponsorship or offer opportunities and while we’re encouraging people to start their Christmas shopping early this year we hope visitors to the rink go on to support local businesses while in the town.”

This year’s pantomime was set to be Jack and The Beanstalk, but the council and the production company decided to cancel the event in July.

Anton Benson Productions had been awarded a three-year contract for pantomimes, which began with last year’s Snow White.

The council has agreed to extend the contract, with Anton Benson Productions bringing three winter pantomimes from 2021.

The ice rink is being provided at the theatre by Glice, a firm which has international clients and has provided rinks for numerous events, including the Olympic Games.

To comply with Covid-19 rules and best practise, a maximum of 17 people can take to the ice at any time.

Groups must be of no more than six people unless exemptions apply under the Government’s Rule of Six policy.

Time on the ice is capped at 45 minutes to allow for cleaning to take place between sessions.

The ice rink will be open from November 29 until January 9, except for Christmas Day, with themed nights planned for Thursday evenings.

Ticket prices start at £6 per person or £22 for a family of four, and can be bought from the box office at or on 01255 686633.

Tickets must be purchased in advance and cannot be bought on the door.