TEA Connect Blog

15 May 2015

A day in London with the Themed Entertainment Association - Report from COO Jennie Nevin

London Day Out with TEA, May 6, 2015

The Europe & Middle East Division of the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA EME) has continued its successful series of SATE Academy Days. These professional development and networking gatherings and behind-the-scenes tours provide TEA members with the opportunity to share experiences and insights.

David Willrich

EME Division president David Willrich of DJ Willrich Ltd. created the SATE Academy Day program based on the concept of TEA's annual, 2-day SATE conference. The acronym refers to Storytelling + Architecture + Technology = Experience.

First, the Shard

This particular SATE Academy Day was a "London Day Out" excursion to a series of attractions in and around the city, beginning at 8:00 am at The Shard, the celebrated, Renzo-Piano designed skyscraper, new feature of the London skyline and central icon of the London Bridge community. Its viewing platform opened in February, and we headed up to experience it at both the 68th story and 72nd story levels.

Ascending in the elevator, we enjoyed the ceiling video and sound mix and then, stepping out to breathtaking 360 panoramas, appreciated the background music that was a perfect accompaniment to being among the clouds. (AV integration provided by DJ Willrich.) On the 72nd story, the experience is more open to the elements and we were braced by the sounds and gusts of the city we'd soon be venturing out into. Even the toilets up there have picture windows - they didn't miss a trick.

All aboard the Double Dutch bus!

We descended from The Shard and boarded a classic London double decker bus to commence the rest of our tour. The bus was full top and bottom with our group of about 50 people from six countries, including a few who came over from the US just for this event (I was one of them). It was a TEA Mobile Event! - full of lively conversations and the kind of warm interaction and genuine enjoyment that mark every TEA event, because that's the kind of business community this is!

Some of the people I had the pleasure of chatting with included several EME Board members: Michel Linet-Frion of Center Parcs Europe, consultant Martin Barratt, and Alex Korting and  Laura Marakowits, who are spearheading TEA's NextGen initiative in Europe.

Peter Ed of Light Emissions has been with TEA from early days and shared some wonderful tales of early EME Division history - from when it was a few dedicated people meeting regularly in a pub. Later we used the bus to conduct the first mobile EME Board Meeting.

Palladium to Potter

We touched down at the London Palladium in the West End theater district. The world-famous Palladium was a revolutionary performing arts space when it opened in 1910 and is still in continual use today. (I wish we'd had a chance to see the current production, "Beyond Bollywood.") We were treated to a fantastic tour and discussion.

Next stop: the Warner Bros. Studio Tour at Leavesden - The Making of Harry Potter, an amazing project and one that involved the creative services of TEA member company Thinkwell Group, the company founded by TEA past president Craig Hanna. As I was enjoying the splendors of this attraction, I thought about The Wizarding World of Harry Potter attractions in Orlando that we have honored at the Thea Awards - and the fact that Craig Hanna is the new chair of the Thea Awards committee. Everything is connected!

What could be more perfect than an afternoon reception in the Grand Hall, sponsored by Electrosonic and attended by Electrosonic founder Robert Simpson himself. A good time was had by all.

Behind the wheel

I was encouraged to pose for this metaphorical "COO driving the TEA bus" shot. Sitting there in the driver’s seat for a few moments gave me a chance to reflect on an amazing and very full day of events. I am truly honored to be part of the TEA community - an extraordinary community - and to be part of the core group steering this association.

The EME board and members impressed me as a very close-knit and dedicated group who are doing their very best for the Association and its members in that part of the world. There is a lot of enthusiasm and excitement going forward in the revitalization and continued growth of the region. The SATE Academy Days provide a huge benefit for members. People are having so much good fun that it's easy to overlook the fact that they're also doing good business.

The informal bonding that goes on at these gatherings will undoubtedly lead to some formal contracts. That’s TEA; that's the TEA culture - Our members love being together for work and for play. When they meet, it’s a meeting of good friends.

-- Jennie Nevin

COO, Themed Entertainment Association


View more pictures from TEA's London Day Out on the TEA Facebook Page.

Many thanks to everyone who made the TEA London Day Out a reality!


Posted by Judith Rubin



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