Alex Rinsler prepares to perform an explosive fire-spinning stunt

Don’t play with fire? Not advice that Alex Rinsler would live by.

Mr Rinsler, 26, is the creator of FireWorks — a company of fire spinners that puts on shows across the UK. The group is getting ready for its biggest and most difficult gig yet. They are performing at next weekend’s Secret Garden Party festival, where they will build a 40ft pirate ship in the middle of a lake in Cambridgeshire, have 100 performers spinning fire simultaneously around it, and then burn it down in what Mr Rinser calls a “spectacular” fashion. 

“This is a big step up from what we have done before,” Mr Rinsler, who works in fundraising for various medical charities, tells People. “None of this has been done before at a UK festival, so we are quite excited about it. There is a lot to consider in terms of design.”

He started spinning fire during his gap year in Israel with Hanoar Hatzioni and founded FireWorks in 2002, while at Nottingham University.

“I was working for Red Bull at the time and was pretty involved in the entertainment industry.

“I began teaching myself fire-performing disciplines and saw there was a real need for more performers. When my mum first saw me do it, she said: ‘It looks great. I just wish it wasn’t you.’”

The big challenge of the Secret Garden Party performance, he says, will be building and burning the ship without causing too much damage to the surrounding area. Surely it is not very environmentally friendly, though? “We are not burning any chemicals and it’s all natural. It has all been cleared with the festival authorities. We will ensure all the heat stays above the water and that no fish are harmed.”

Mr Rinsler lives in Kentish Town, North London.

    Last updated: 9:36am, July 17 2008