TEA News

05 August 2021

EME Division's First Get-Togethers in 18 Months!

You wait 18 months for an in-person TEA event in Europe and then two come along at once!

These, the EME division’s first get-togethers since the pandemic, took place less than a week apart in Belgium and England.

First up was TEA Explores Brussels on July 9, immersing guests in one of Belgium’s most famous exports: beer! Highlights of the day included a hard hat tour of the Belgian Beer World under construction at the Bourse de Bruxelles (former stock exchange), plus a visit to Brewers’ House. Here a nice networking lunch was held, giving several European themed entertainment industry colleagues (and even a visitor from the US!) their first chance to catch up in the flesh for some time.

The day’s itinerary also included a legends tour of the European capital and a visit to the Musical Instruments Museum (MIM). The event was organised by Jeroen Verrezen (Electrosonic) with help from fellow EME board member Benoit Cornet (BoldMove Nation), with special thanks to the Belgian Beer World and Walibi Belgium for their sponsorship of this event.

Whilst London hosted the last TEA event in Europe before the pandemic (a December 2019 get-together at The War Of The Worlds Immersive Experience), it was the northern English city of Salford near Manchester that was selected for a TEA Academy Day on July 15. Guests of ITV and Continuum Attractions, attendees got active as they enjoyed a sneak preview of the new I’m A Celebrity Jungle Challenge set to open at MediaCityUK on July 30.

Braving rope walks, climbing walls, zip lines and other physical challenges, attendees were relieved to discover they were no bug eating trials like the TV show the attraction is based upon. Dried insects are, however, available in the gift shop (we’ll all be eating them in future!). The fiercely competitive Chris Willrich, who filmed some of the day with Ryan-Sam Marshall for an upcoming TEA video, was eventually crowned King of the Jungle!

The Academy Day also included a panel discussion on IP, entertainment and retail in a post-pandemic world, featuring some interesting contributions from Juliana Delaney (Continuum), Danielle Tanton (ViacomCBS) and ITV’s James Penfold, ‘Zooming in’ from London. The conversation was chaired by Owen Ralph (Blooloop), who organised the event with assistance from EME board members Richard Hill (Deluxe Group) and Margreet Papamichael (Clear Associates). Many members then stayed on for networking drinks at a couple of nearby MediaCityUK venues.

Travel restrictions meant an all-UK attendance, however 22 people (including a healthy number of NextGens) was considered a good turnout under the circumstances. Just four days later, England would abandon all rules on masks and social distancing. Yet the fact that both this and the Brussels get-together could still go ahead under Covid-19 restrictions was clearly welcomed by all those in attendance.

Here’s to more in-person events!


Photos courtesy of Jeroen Verrezen, Owen Ralph, Matt Barton and Chris Willrich

Posted by Josephine Gilmore



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