How did you get started in the world of Disney?
I was on a golf scholarship in the US and played golf with a former member of the team whose son worked for Feld Entertainment, the company that produce, promote and travel all of the Disney On Ice (and now Marvel Universe Live) productions around the world. He asked if I would be interested in going on for an interview and the rest is history! I worked in the US for seven years out of Atlanta and Philadelphia, before moving to Amsterdam ten years ago to work mainly in the UK and now overseeing the business for Europe, Middle East and Africa.
What can families expect from Disney On Ice presents Frozen?
The show this year is the entire story of the mega Disney hit Frozen, with all of the hugely popular characters Anna, Elsa, Kristoff, Olaf and Sven, as well as the incredible songs that I think most parents will now know the words to, especially ‘Let It Go’. This story could not be more perfect for an ice show and the special effects transform the arena into a wintry Arendell, complete with falling snow. Of course, Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse will also make appearances as they do in all Disney On Ice productions.
Favourite thing about working with Disney?
I think, working with such a large global brand and how they are constantly finding new products and ways to be the best at what they do. Their attention to detail and creating magic for everyone who experiences anything Disney makes my job very rewarding. It is fantastic to work with such a well-respected and loved brand that even tough days at the office are always enjoyable.
The best thing about returning to the North East?
Seeing friends and family is always something I look forward to when coming back to the North East. It is such a special place where the people are hugely generous and helpful. The people make the place and everyone always has the time to make sure they look after their neighbours, which they do with pride and enthusiasm. I also love the humour – you have to be very quick-witted to survive in the North East, otherwise you will be the brunt of many a joke, people aren’t afraid to laugh at themselves (and certainly others) which I think is very much unique in today’s society. No matter what they are going through personally, they want to enjoy life to the full and have a little fun along the way. No matter where I go in the world, I always look forward to getting back as much as possible and am very proud to be from the region.
What do you get up to in your free time?
I do a lot of traveling with work, so free time is precious. I love nothing more than playing golf, but unfortunately I don’t get to play as much as I used to. Relaxing at home watching a good movie or the Premier League football is my ideal Saturday afternoon.
Favourite Disney character?
I love the Genie from Aladdin, I think he is such a fun and energetic character which is loved by many. Having Robin Williams’ voice and personality makes him hugely likeable – and being able to grant wishes for people doesn’t hurt either! I think we would all love to have that magic power.
Most-loved Disney film?
That’s a tough one, there are so many great films that Disney has produced over the years. The one that is probably my favourite is Toy Story. I loved it the first time I saw it – not only did I think it was an incredible story with great characters, but I was impressed with what Disney and Pixar were able to do technology-wise. It really was a game changer and certainly raised the bar, going on to win numerous awards and setting the stage for computer animation to become a whole new genre of entertainment.
What’s next for you?
I want to make sure that my team and I continue to work hard to bring high-quality family entertainment products to as many cities across Europe, Middle East and Africa as we possibly can. There are many complexities to how the region works with varying different cultures, languages and infrastructures to consider. But we have a great opportunity to expand into new countries with both Disney On Ice and our newest production Marvel Universe LIVE! which we hope even more families around the region can enjoy and look forward to each year.
We’ve teamed up with Disney On Ice presents Frozen and Metro Radio Arena to offer our lovely readers one of two pairs of family passes (two adults and two kids) for the opening show on Tuesday 18 October at 6.30pm. To be in for a chance of winning, click here!