Themed Entertainment Association Selects RWS Entertainment Group to Produce 2023 & 2024 Thea Awards Gala
RWS Creative Team to Re-Envision Show as Part of TEA’s New INSPIRE Week
New York, NY, USA – February 1, 2023 – The Themed Entertainment Association (TEA), the international non-profit association representing the world’s leading creators, developers, designers and producers of compelling places and experiences, has selected global Emmy Award-winning experience company RWS Entertainment Group to provide full creative and production services for its 2023 and 2024 Thea Awards Gala. The 2023 Thea Awards Gala will take place Saturday, April 15th at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim, California.
TEA’s Thea Awards have become internationally recognized as a symbol of excellence, bringing recognition to achievement, talent and personal excellence within the themed entertainment industry. As Producer of the Thea Awards Gala and a TEA Premier Global Partner, RWS’ services will include scripting; stage design; media, graphic and video elements; entertainment; technical, production and stage management and oversight of AV, lighting, sound, construction, rigging and engineering.
New for 2023, the Thea Awards will serve as the culmination of TEA INSPIRE Week. Other events throughout the week will include the TEA INSPIRE Leadership Forum, which offers executive level networking and knowledge sharing, and the TEA INSPIRE conference, which features a deep dive into each of the TEA Award recipient projects.
“We are honored to be entrusted with such a high-profile, globally recognized event as TEA’s Thea Awards Gala,” said RWS Founder and CEO Ryan Stana. “For the next two years, not only will we have the opportunity to inspire gala attendees as part of TEA’s new INSPIRE Week, but we will also have the great privilege of producing an event that celebrates the immense talents of our clients, colleagues and friends.”
“TEA is thrilled to be embarking on this multi-year partnership with RWS Entertainment Group,” said Lindsey Nelson, TEA Executive Director. “As both a long-time member and dedicated global partner of the TEA, RWS understands the TEA membership and what the Thea Awards Gala represents to the global themed entertainment industry. Because of that wealth of industry knowledge, they also recognize the untapped potential of the Theas and will utilize their expertise as a world-class event producer to help TEA elevate and grow this global brand.”
To learn more about TEA INSPIRE Week and Thea Awards Gala, visit https://www.teaconnect.org/tea-inspire.html.
CONTACT Clara J. Rice, Global Director, Marketing & Communications
+1 (513) 309-0478
Lauren Moore – Public Relations, Themed Entertainment Association
The Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) is the international non-profit association representing the world’s leading creators, developers, designers and producers of compelling places and experiences – worldwide.
Our members bring specific expertise in a variety of disciplines to a field that is constantly evolving: the creation of successful, highly engaging, out of home visitor attractions and experiences in the leisure and travel sector. These entertaining and educational projects include theme parks, water parks, museums, zoos, corporate visitor centers, casinos, restaurants, branded experiences, multimedia spectaculars, retail spaces, resorts and hospitality, destination attractions and more.
TEA members are innovators and problem solvers whose careers are spent confronting and overcoming unique challenges. They are specialists in realizing one-of-a-kind projects that have never been built before, and opening new frontiers of technical integration, creative storytelling, visitor engagement and brand extension. For more information visit: https://www.teaconnect.org/
About RWS Entertainment Group
RWS Entertainment Group is a global, Emmy Award-winning experience company with headquarters in New York, London and Cincinnati. Together with its subsidiaries, RWS designs, fabricates, installs and operates custom entertainment, live events, exhibits, destinations, décor and branded attractions. On land, at sea, and everywhere in between, RWS produces over 500 live experiences and employs over 8,000 performers and technicians annually.
Founded in 2003, RWS operates the largest live production facility in New York City, which includes 56,000 square feet of office space, a rehearsal studio complex and performer housing. RWS properties include Binder Casting serving the stage, film and commercial markets; RWS Décor Products and RWS Leased Experiences.
In 2021, RWS acquired JRA, an award-winning creative studio providing master planning, writing and content development, attraction/exhibit planning and design, graphic design, executive media production, art direction and project management. In 2022, RWS acquired ted, Europe’s largest leisure entertainment experience company. Specializing in theatre, cruise, travel, resort and retail, ted leverages a vast knowledge of multiple industries across six internal departments: guest acts, production, technical, merchandise, fitness & wellbeing and music & media.
RWS Entertainment Group and its subsidiaries have supplied groundbreaking productions for an impressive roster of clients that includes Warner Bros., Lionsgate, The Coca-Cola Company, Apple, Disney, O, the Oprah Magazine, Vera Wang, Azamara, MSC Cruises, Virgin Voyages, Hard Rock Resorts, Iberostar Hotels & Resorts, Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, Europa-Park Resort, Paultons Park, Marella Cruises, TUI Group, Roompot, Bourne Leisure, Six Flags, Cedar Fair Entertainment Company, Science Centre Singapore, Space Center Houston, Original X Productions, Crayola, Hershey’s and many more.
Follow RWS Entertainment Group on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn, JRA on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn and ted on Facebook and Instagram.
One week, three amazing TEA events!
Don’t miss this opportunity to be a part of the new TEA INSPIRE program! Join us April 13-15 for three incredible events that will empower you with the most advanced education and expertise in the themed entertainment industry.
We start the week off with our pilot program, TEA INSPIRE Leadership Forum, which is then followed by 1.5 days of TEA INSPIRE (formerly Summit and Case Studies). We close out the week with the 29th Annual Thea Awards Gala, where we will honor and celebrate this year’s Thea Award recipients.
What is INSPIRE Leadership Forum?
Thursday, April 13
The 2023 TEA INSPIRE Leadership Forum is a pilot event including a presentation and facilitators for small group roundtable discussions on attendee-selected topics. All registrants are senior-level executives from companies and/or organizations within the themed entertainment industry who are responsible for leading teams of people and/or hold the ultimate responsibility for their company’s success and culture. Owner and Leadership attendance will be curated to best represent a wide range of industry experience and viewpoints. The small group dynamic immerses the attendee in peer-driven learning and thought leadership, purposeful networking, and a safe, non-competitive environment where attendees can share expertise and challenge one another to arrive at better decisions. Discussion topics will help the vision for future TEA Leadership Forum programming. To preserve the integrity of this peer forum, TEA reserves the right to decline registrants who do not meet the eligibility requirements.
What is INSPIRE?
Thursday, April 13
Friday, April 14
TEA INSPIRE (formerly Summit and Case Studies) will usher in a revitalized focus on celebrating excellence in themed entertainment across the globe, offering attendees a fully immersive networking and educational experience and lasting inspiration. This signature event draws themed entertainment professionals at all levels and disciplines within the industry, from emerging leaders to the most senior executives and carries on the tradition of case studies but with a deeper dive in direct response to attendee feedback. In keeping with tradition, INSPIRE will be capped off with the Thea Awards Gala on Saturday evening.
29TH ANNUAL THEA AWARDS GALA
Saturday, April 15
The annual Thea Awards Gala is a black-tie dinner and awards ceremony held every spring in honor of the Thea Award recipients. This elegant affair is the culminating event of TEA’s biggest weekend of the year, which kicks off with the newly reimagined two-day TEA INSPIRE program.
Greetings TEA Members,
As we close out one year and turn the page on another, it is natural to take stock of what we’ve achieved, where we fell short and set intentions for the year ahead.
Admittedly, I left 2022 feeling completely drained. It was a grueling year for TEA as we worked to regain our footing operationally and financially while re-defining our new “normal” following two extremely challenging years. On a personal level, I kicked off the year with a new baby (and covid), spent countless weeks on the road and in the air for TEA duties, and ended the year with the flu rearing its ugly head as it swept through my house in the weeks leading up to the holidays. Thankfully, my family and I were all well enough by December 23. We were able to beat the historic winter storm and subsequent airline meltdown that swept much of the United States and drove from Chicago to Orlando for what would be an epic 10-day adventure.
While there, I was able to share the creativity, magic, and joy of the Themed Entertainment Industry with my family. It brought smiles and laughter that hadn’t been seen since before the pandemic and a renewed sense of energy and purpose to this Executive Director.
The 40+ hours of car time also allowed me the time and space to reflect on 2022. The truth is, 2022 wasn’t all grueling. There were shining achievements, obstacles overcome, and many moments of community, fun, & celebration. Below are some ways TEA delivered for YOU, our valued members, organized under the strategic pillar they support. I hope you feel as much pride in what we have achieved as I do.
Community and Connection
*Implemented a new Code of Conduct Policy and led a global volunteer and staff training session, and 24/7 confidential reporting tool to ensure TEA delivers a welcoming and safe environment for all members
*Resumed in-person programming for all TEA Tentpole events, delivering the first live TEA Summit & Gala since 2019 with nearly 650 people in attendance
*Delivered nearly 100 in-person and virtual educational and networking events leveraging the power of TEA’s global divisions
*Prioritized the advancement of Diversity, Equity, Accessibility & Inclusion (DEA&I) in the TEA Board nominations process through the implementation of the newly formed Leadership Development & Nominations Committee
*Expanded the global reach of the Thea Awards program, receiving nominations from attractions in 20 countries across 5 continents
*Launched the Industry Advisory Council to provide insights and feedbacks on industry trends and how TEA can deliver greater value to its partners.
*Expanded TEA’s reach and influence in adjacent industries through strategic partnerships with other associations, trade shows, and the media
Knowledge & Collaboration
*Debuted a global, member’s only webinar to present the findings from the 2021 TEA/AECOM Theme Index & Museum Index
*Inducted 5 new TEA Masters and integrated their thought leadership into the SATE NA Programming, benefiting the 300 in attendance and 50+ student participants for the full-day NextGen Program
Leadership & Brand Influence
*Advocated on your behalf, representing the voice of the themed entertainment vendor community at the IAAPA Public Affairs Conference in Washington DC
*Developed a relationship with the office of the US Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Industry and Analysis to foster a greater understanding of the challenges and needs of TEA members on matters related to foreign commerce and economic policy
*Invested in re-building TEA’s IT infrastructure including its Association Management System (AMS) and website, providing TEA with an integrated platform for delivering exclusive member benefits
*Developed a new Strategic plan for the Association, setting the direction for TEA’s goals and priorities over the next 5 years
*Updated the association’s Bylaws for the first time since 2013, bringing the association current with proper governance practices
*Re-built the TEA Staffing structure to better support HQ operations and the work of TEA divisions globally
*Transitioned the TEA Foundation under TEA International Board oversight and updated Articles of Incorporation and updated Bylaws, to position TEA for expanded charitable and educational pursuits in the future
*Participated in formal association leadership training retreat (TEA’s President, President-Elect & Executive Director) to ensure strong and effective association governance
For all of this, I owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to TEA’s, now Immediate Past-President, Chuck Fawcett, the Executive Committee, the International Board, the leadership from TEA’s four Divisional Boards, all of our committee and task force volunteers, and of course, our Global Partners who provide critical financial support. And last but not least, the dedicated TEA Staff- Barb, Don, Jackie, Juliette, Kirsten, Michael, Morgan, Sharon, Shawn, Terry, and Tori- none of this would be possible without their dedication and hard work every day of the year.
There is tremendous momentum propelling us into 2023, and I look forward to the opportunity to work alongside TEA’s new President, Melissa Ruminot and the rest of the TEA leadership and staff to continue to deliver value to YOU. Thank you for being on this journey with us. I wish you a successful and joy-filled 2023!
I hope to see you in your corner of the globe very soon!
Lindsey Nelson, CAE
TEA Executive Director
What an absolute privilege and delight the 3 days have been, for the TEA Celebrates Winter Efteling. We were exclusively hosted at the Loonsche Land Hotel by Jaap den Bleker and the wider team. It was like getting a golden ticket, as we were shown for the first time behind the curtain of the inner workings of this beautiful nature park.
Sessions covered ranged from a behind the scenes tour of the new Symbolica ride, followed the next day by a deep dive with the design team sharing their narrative, design and development approach with the opportunity to ask questions and discuss. We also got to hear about the history, present and future of the park which was super interesting. Starting as a playground, next to a lake with a vision to facilitate recreation and wellness in a natural environment, to stimulate local and regional employment, preserve nature and be accessible to everyone and how they are now growing with international reach but retaining their values.
We of course got the time to explore the park from the fairyland forest which now features 30 fairy tales, with most of us getting our essential selfies with the ‘musical mushrooms’. Some of us braved riding ‘Baron 1898’, and also traveled through fog on the ‘De Vilegende Hollander. We explored the new Nest play area and the hosts wonderful adventure waistcoat! And went on to warm up with hot drinks by the fire pits whilst watching the live entertainment and some also went ice-skating amongst the pine trees.
Across the park we all admired the quality of build, real brick, real stone and the attention to detail was a delight, reflecting on what the team spoke to us about ‘building for eternity’. We got to enjoy the panoramic views from the Thai temple ‘Pagode’ from where you can see the park's natural beauty which is made up of 8,415 Trees over 200 acres of which only 11% is buildings.
Ending day two with the truly stunning water show Aquanura, it really was beautiful from the Theatre Balcony with a mulled wine in hand, followed by a great meal and then a walk back to the hotel through the forest.
Day 3 we were treated to a super open Q&A session, a talk around Sustainability and also one on Data Insights. With close to 70 TEA members there was a vibrant energy, with everyone sensing we have all been part of a very special few days, learning, re-connecting and re-energising.
A huge thank you to the team at Efteling, especially Jaap den Bleker, and Paul Kent and Ifat Caspi who made this TEA event possible.
Words by Dawn Foote - TEA EMEA Board Member & CEO Katapult
As the saying goes, all good things must come to an end, and so was the case with the 2022 IAAPA Expo in Orlando, FL. As the week of meetings, parties, dinners, announcements, and networking came to an end, we at TEA were reminded of a time not so long ago when all those things were but a memory. A time when sharing space within 6ft of one another was prohibited, and friends' faces were hidden behind masks or computer screens.
More than ever, we value the connections that TEA helps to facilitate. Whether it’s the simple handshake of a new acquaintance, the shared laughter among old friends, or the meeting of the minds around the conference table, we do not take for granted the interactions we share with our fellow industry professionals. For those interactions are invaluable; they allow us to grow and thrive as individuals, organizations, and associations.
A Week of TEA Connections
The TEA booth was one happening place! Our members took full advantage of the opportunity to network and catch up with one another. It was the perfect place to have a quick meeting or just swap stories with your friends. No matter the reason, we welcomed the interaction and loved seeing all of the new and familiar faces.
29th ANNUAL THEA AWARD PRESS ANNOUNCEMENT
Congratulations to the Thea Award recipients! What an incredible turn out there was for the press announcement. Our booth was packed as family, friends and colleagues gathered around to hear who would receive the prestigious Thea Awards. If you missed the announcement, don’t worry because we have you covered. Click HERE for the full list of recipients and to read the official press release.
TEA INTERNATIONAL MIXER
Over 800 people joined us at Discovery Cove for the annual TEA International Mixer! The laidback island atmosphere and perfect weather made for excellent party conditions. Attendees had the opportunity to watch dolphins and talk with their trainers all while sipping cocktails with their toes in the sand. Tell me, where else can you network with industry professionals while walking on the beach?
The exceptional evening was made possible thanks to our event sponsor PGAV Destinations and our supporting sponsors: Artistic Entertainment Services (AES), Bungalow Scenic Studios, Clair Global, and AV Stumpfl.
TEA ANNUAL MEMBER MEETING
TEA President, Chuck Fawcett, bid members adieu as he welcomed incoming President, Melissa Ruminot, with the official passing of the gavel. Meeting attendees heard a recap of the year from each of the division leaders, as well as the TEA Executive Director, Lindsey Nelson. Members also learned about TEA’s priorities and goals for 2023; which included community and connection, knowledge and collaboration, leadership and brand influence, and organizational excellence. The full Member Meeting video recording will be available in the coming weeks.
Thank you to our meeting sponsors: Barco, Mall of America, and The Shipping Monster!
NEXTGEN ICE CREAM SOCIAL
Mention free ice cream, and you know our NextGen members are there! NextGen leaders Dustin Stephan and Carson Luter welcomed a large crowd of members to the TEA booth, where the ice cream social was hosted. Members had the opportunity to get their sweet treat fix and network all at the same time, talk about being efficient. Thank you to Blue Telescope for being the event sponsor!
We hope you had as great of a time last week as we did. We hope that new connections were made, old relationships were rekindled, and you felt a genuine sense of community. When you think of TEA, it is our goal that you think of us as more than just an association; we are a community; we are a family. So to all of our TEA family, we can’t wait to see you next time!
TEA – THEMED ENTERTAINMENT ASSOCIATION BOARD ELECTION RESULTS
International Board of Directors – Elected to 3 year terms as Board Directors:
Asia Pacific Division – Elected to 3 year terms as Board Directors:
Asia Pacific Division Individual Member Representatives – Elected to 2 year term:
Eastern North America Division - Elected to 3 year terms as Board Directors:
Europe and Middle East Division – Elected to 3 year terms as Board Directors:
Europe & Middle East Division- Individual Member Representatives – Elected to 2 year term:
Western North America Division – Elected to 3 year terms as Board Directors:
Western North America Division – Individual Member Representatives – Elected to 2 year term:
To outgoing 2022 Board Members of the Themed Entertainment Association for their dedication and service:
Outgoing International Board Members:
Outgoing Asia Pacific Division Board Members:
Outgoing Asia Pacific Division – Individual Member Representatives:
Outgoing Eastern Division – Individual Member Representatives:
Outgoing Europe & Middle East Division Board Members:
Outgoing Europe & Middle East Division – Individual Member Representatives:
Outgoing Western North America Division Board Members:
Outgoing Western North America Division – Individual Member Representatives:
From Galactic Starcruisers to Irish Race Horses and everything in between, the awards recognize those who bring incredible experiences to life for people around the world
phone # 818-843-8497
BURBANK, CA USA, Nov 15, 2022 – The Themed Entertainment Association (TEA), announced its 29th annual Thea Award recipients this week in front of an international crowd at the IAAPA Expo in Orlando.
The prestigious TEA Thea Award is considered one of the greatest honors in the themed experience industry. The Thea Awards honor individuals, projects, and technologies in the arena of themed attractions and experiences worldwide. This year, 20 recipients were recognized for their innovative work.
“We are thrilled to announce this slate of amazing individuals, attractions, and experiences as this year’s Thea Award recipients. We look forward to celebrating them – and joining together as an international community – next April for the Annual Thea Awards Gala,” said TEA International Board President Chuck Fawcett.
The Thea Awards were founded in 1994 and have since celebrated hundreds of people and companies for remarkable achievements and contributions to the themed entertainment industry. Honorees, and their teams share expertise in storytelling, design, economics, logistics, architecture, construction, manufacturing, and more.
This year’s Thea Award Recipients include:
Buzz Price Award (recognizing a lifetime of distinguished achievements):
Catalyst Award (recognizing individual contributions to the advancement of the industry):
Classic Award (celebrating a guest experience that has stood the test of time):
Thea Awards for Outstanding Achievement:
Note: A credits list for each Award for Outstanding Achievement will be published in the official Thea Awards program.
Peter Chernack Distinguished Service Award:
“Our field is constantly changing. Honoring these recipients from around the world highlights their success in bringing forth highly engaging, out of the home visitor attractions and experiences in the leisure and travel sectors. They are everything from problem solvers to specialists that create what our imaginations can only dream of and bring it all to fruition,” Fri Forjindam, Thea Committee Chair. She continued, “We invite the industry to join us for our big weekend next April at the Disneyland Resort to formally award these leaders in our field at the TEA Annual Thea Awards Gala, presented by Chimelong”
TEA’s Annual Thea Awards Gala will take place April 15, 2023, at 5:00 PM at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California, USA. Tickets to the Gala and the TEA Annual Summit will be available on the TEA website, TEAconnect.org in the coming weeks.
Stay tuned to TEA’s social media channels: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and Youtube over the next several months leading up to the Awards Gala as more is revealed about behind-the-scenes. experiences of the 2022 Thea Award honorees. Join the conversation and learn more about honorees and the upcoming Thea Awards in April 2023 by following and using the hashtag #TheaAwards.
TEA is the international non-profit association representing the world’s leading creators, developers, designers and producers of compelling places and experiences – worldwide. Its members bring specific expertise in a variety of disciplines to a field that is constantly evolving: the creation of successful, highly engaging, out of home visitor attractions and experiences in the leisure and travel sector. These entertaining and educational projects include theme parks, water parks, museums, zoos, corporate visitor centers, casinos, restaurants, branded experiences, multimedia spectaculars, retail spaces, resorts and hospitality, destination attractions and more. TEA encompasses a community of more than 1,700 member companies in 45 countries.
Note: More details, headshots and photos of attractions and experiences will be available on the TEA Thea Awards website, below is a sampling of a select few of this year’s recipients.
Roland Mack, Buzz Price Award
Chevy Humphrey, Catalyst Award
The Main Street Electrical Parade USA, Classic Award Recipient
Beaudry Interactive, Award of Outstanding Achievement in Technology
Absurdities Vol. 1, Andsoforth Award of Outstanding Achievement in Immersive Dining Experience
Entertainment design & realisation company Scruffy Dog Creative Group has announced the first two new senior appointments of many to come, that will strengthen its design, and creative build division. The appointments allow the group to continue its expansion on a range of major entertainment projects across the globe.
Paul Williams will be joining Scruffy Dog Creative Group as Senior Creative Director at its London design studio. Williams has over 29 years’ experience creatively driving the development of successful visitor attractions and exhilarating live experiences for the World’s biggest brands such as: DreamWorks, Marvel, Disney, Merlin Entertainments, Paramount, BBC, Sony Pictures, BMW, Warner Brothers, Pepsi, ITV Studios, British Airways, 20th Century Studios and Microsoft.
“I have always admired the incredible creativity and high standards of production that Scruffy Dog Creative Group consistently delivers within the global visitor attractions industry. I feel honoured to be collaborating with their brilliant team of talented artists, experienced designers, and creative producers to lead the way in creating unique, exciting, and innovative new experiences that will entertain people all over the World.” Says Williams.
Malik Al Asadi joins the creative build division as senior project manager. Al Asadi an accomplished, Project Manager brings with him over 15 years of experience directing large scale Themed Environments. Al Asadi previously held employment at Universal Creative Japan, DXB Entertainments, and CSM live.
“ I see this new role as a fantastic opportunity to contribute to an exciting, forward-thinking, and fast-moving company. I look forward to using my experience, identifying, designing, and deploying innovative technologies that improve systems, reduce costs, and increase productivity in the creative build division.” Al Asadi says.
CEO Joe Bright Comments says “As a company we are continuing to grow, so it was key to strengthen our team throughout the group. Malik, and Paul both have an exemplary record in the themed entertainment sector, and their experience both operationally, and creatively will support the development of our forthcoming projects.”
PASSENGER 18: Former executive creative director at Walt Disney Imagineering and 2022 Disney Legend, Rob't Coltrin.
What do Mystic Manor, Radiator Springs Racers, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway, Big Grizzly Mountain Runaway Mine Cars, and Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin all have in common? These beloved Disney rides were all conceived over the past 32 years by former Walt Disney Imagineering executive creative director Rob’t Coltrin. A "storyteller, writer, choreographer, artist, designer, theatrical showman, engineer, musician, architect and scientist - all wrapped up into one,” according a colleague, Rob’t will be the 18th passenger to climb aboard our time machine for an hour-long journey through his illustrious career. Don’t let the change to daylight savings time spoil your opportunity to join us for this exciting episode of The Spirit of the Time Zoomcast!
Friday November 11th at 12pm PST
Register here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/457215703477