TEA Connect Blog

18 December 2019

TEA EME Division celebrates the winter season in Utrecht and London (December 2019)

On December 10, the Themed Entertainment Assocation (TEA) Europe and Middle East Division (TEA EME) held its third round of TEA Tuesday gatherings in 2019 …and this time it was seasonal! 

These casual mixers have proved an effective way for the TEA EME Division to bring members and prospective members together locally (outside the association's larger events and conferences). Previous TEA Tuesdays have been held in various cities in France, Germany, the Netherlands, UK and UAE.

For this festive special, there were two gatherings, one in Utrecht, Netherlands and one in London, each including visit to a Thea Award recipient attraction. Furthermore, Christmas ‘jumpers’ were encouraged as part of the TEA’s popular Ugly Sweater competition.

Report by Owen Ralph with additional information from Margreet Papamichael. MORE PHOTOS HERE


There was a full day’s program for TEA Tuesday attendees in Utrecht. In the biting cold, a stalwart group of Dutch, Belgian and even English TEA members, as well as nice proportion of TEA NextGen members came together to experience the Dutch city’s Escape Tour. We had a lot of fun solving clues, disagreeing with the answers and exploring parts of Utrecht we had never seen before. The tour ended at the Dom tower, where we warmed up over hot chocolate.

From there we marched to the Spoorweg (Railway) Museum where we were very kindly received and enjoyed a tour of the Thea Award honored simulator attraction De Vuurproef. After roaming through the museum for a while, we made our way to the Boulevard Cerveceria bar. Here we were joined by more colleagues who had not been able to join us for the day activities. Together we enjoyed some lovely tapas, drinks and conversation as we compared seasonal sweaters (see photo above; more photos here).


In London (see above photo), TEA Tuesday replaced the ‘Festive Day Out’ that had been held the past few years. In light of other industry events in the British capital during the month, it was decided to hold a shorter, evening gathering on this occasion.

Our venue was The War of The Worlds Immersive Experience in London’s financial district. Launched in June, this is the second ‘layered reality’ attraction from immersive theatre company DotDotDot. It was revealed as part of the new slate of TEA Thea Award recipients on November 19. DotDotDot committed a large chunk of the attraction’s budget to the steampunk themed bar area that precedes the attraction. It was interesting to observe city workers dropping in to enjoy a post-work cocktail with a twist as TEA members and regular guests prepared for their extraterrestrial encounter.  

Offering “22,000 square feet of immersiveness,” the experience features classic Victorian locations from The War of the Worlds. The story is brought to life over several scenes, using a mixture of VR, AR, holograms and other technological effects. Many TEA members in attendance had special praise for the theatrical performances from the actors. Midway through the experience, we were treated to a cocktail in the Red Weed Bar courtesy of sponsor Bluebox Attractions. Barco also kindly supported the event. A burger meal followed the  main attraction.

Many TEA EME members embraced the annual challenge to find the ugliest possible Christmas jumper, as did TEA members in other locations - there were seasonal gatherings at multiple cities in the US and in Osaka, Japan. For some TEA EME Division members, however - such as Division president Matt Barton and the ubiquitous Paul Kent - there was no change to their usual uniform of a loud shirt!


Thank you to everyone who joined us at these two enjoyable events and helped kickstart the winter celebrations with industry friends. And a festive thanks to EME board members Danielle Tanton (London) along with Margreet Papamichael and Ifat Caspi (Utrecht) for their work behind the scenes. Watch the TEA Events page for news of the next TEA Tuesday, expected to take place in early 2020.







Posted by Judy Rubin



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