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Beyond the Screen, the Future of Immersive Realities: Themed Entertainment Association’s 2017 conference hosted by California Institute of the Arts (CalArts)

Beyond the Screen, the Future of Immersive Realities: Themed Entertainment Association’s 2017 conference hosted by California Institute of the Arts (CalArts)
In an experience design class at CalArts, a student presents her team’s ideas for a play-space built around the character of WALL-E

The conference features coming trends in entertainment including immersive place-making, virtual and augmented reality, and new forms of story-telling for experiential environments.

Training future-directed theater artists, the CalArts School of Theater will announce a new specialization in Experience Design/Themed Entertainment at the conference.

Valencia, CA, September 11, 2017 – Since its inception, California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) has led innovation at the intersection of arts and entertainment. Highlighting this history, CalArts will partner with the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) to host TEA SATE Los Angeles, October 5th and 6th. SATE is TEA’s signature conference on Experience Design; the SATE acronym signifies Storytelling + Architecture + Technology = Experience. The SATE 2017 LA theme is Beyond the Screen, the Future of Immersive Realities.

With panels on storytelling, architecture, and technology, the conference explores the latest directions in immersive place-making, virtual and augmented reality, and story-based projects for theme parks, museums, entertainment venues and theatrical presentations. The keynote speaker is CalArts alumnus and faculty member Michael Jung. As Executive Creative Director in charge of Theatrical Development for Walt Disney Imagineering, Jung will discuss the future of Experience Design with School of Theater Dean Travis Preston.

In keeping with a school founded by Walt Disney, many leaders in the field attended CalArts. Continuing the legacy, the CalArts School of Theater is launching a new specialization in Experience Design/Themed entertainment within its Design and Production Program

CalArts alumni like and Jung have paved the way in the industry’s development. Another CalArts alumnus and faculty member, Jason McManus is the Art Director of the Thinkwell GroupHis conference presentation, How Millennials Tell Storieswill explore how the evolution of audiences for themed entertainment effects new directions in immersive storytelling. Prominent “Calartians” in the field include Bob Rogers, founder and CEO of themed entertainment company BRC Imagination ArtsScott Ault, President and CEO of experience design firm Rethink Leisure & Entertainment; and Jonathan Casson, who sits on the TEA Asia Pacific Division Board of Directors.

CalArts’s central role in the history of themed entertainment provides the ideal backdrop for a discussion of the industry. Walt Disney first had the inspiration for CalArts after gathering a group of artists, writers and skilled workers to design Disneyland, a prototype for today’s themed entertainment environments. Their efforts inspired Disney’s vision to train future artists and innovators in the spirit of collaborative practice. CalArts opened its doors in 1970 and has since upheld its founding mission of both rigorous training and open-ended experimentation—pillars of themed entertainment practice.

“CalArts School of Theater provides students with an ever-expanding set of opportunities in new and future pathways for performance and design. This future-directed vision of entertainment is reflected by the Themed Entertainment Association,” says CalArts School of Theater Dean Travis Preston. “We are thrilled to host the SATE Conference as it explores the newest developments in entertainment and looks ahead to the theater of tomorrow.” 

The TEA SATE conference at CalArts is made possible by the generous support of our sponsors: Goddard Group, Perfect World Education and Acomb Ostendorf & Associates (AOA).

Ranked as America’s top college for students in the arts by Newsweek/The Daily BeastCalifornia Institute of the Arts has set the pace for educating professional artists since 1970. Offering rigorous undergraduate and graduate degree programs through six schools—Art, Critical Studies, Dance, Film/Video, Music, and Theater—CalArts has championed creative excellence, critical reflection, and the development of new forms and expressions. As successive generations of faculty and alumni have helped shape the landscape of contemporary arts, the Institute first envisioned by Walt Disney encompasses a vibrant, eclectic community with global reach, inviting experimentation, independent inquiry, and active collaboration and exchange among artists, artistic disciplines and cultural traditions. 

The Themed Entertainment Association(TEA) is an international non-profit association representing the world's leading creators, developers, designers and producers of compelling places and experiences. TEA members bring the experience of engaging storytelling and entertainment to a vast number of casinos, restaurants, retail stores, museums, zoos, theme parks and an ever-growing list of destinations that aim to bring a higher level of visitor experiences world wide.

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Perfect World Education
The business of Perfect World Education covers both kids and youth education. In terms of kids education, R&D tailored for digital education is the core competitiveness of Hongen Education of Perfect World Investment & Holding Group. More than 20,000 kindergartens, over 300 training schools and more than 5 million children in China are using Hongen’s books. Meanwhile, Hongen products are so far exported to over 10 countries and regions, including the U.S., Italy, South Korea, Singapore and Indonesia.

Acomb Ostendorf & Associates (AOA)
AOA is comprised of top design-and-build professionals in themed entertainment and hospitality who help owners and developers deliver extraordinary guest experiences.  Starting with a consistent philosophy of “put yourself in the guests’ shoes,” we have distinguished ourselves through a unique combination of creative vision and a practical, down-to-Earth approach to getting things done.  In an industry that values innovation and vision, AOA has cultivated relationships with partners who share their adventurous drive to make the impossible a reality, to see every boundary as a bracing challenge.