Tuesday, April 23, 2024

ISSUE 66 EDITORIAL: The Theatrical Haunting of Themed Entertainment

This issue’s bonus distribution diversity reflects our industry

ABOVE PHOTO: Courtesy CityArchRiver

Martin Palicki, Publisher
Judith Rubin, Editor
Joe Kleiman, News Editor






If you are reading this magazine in St. Louis you are likely at the annual conference and trade show of USITT (US Institute of Theater Technology) or the TransWorld Halloween & Attractions Show. If you’re reading it in Dubai, you’re probably attending DEAL.

We’re very pleased to be media partners with USITT, TransWorld, and DEAL. Each of these organizations has a unique and important relationship to the industry. Themed entertainment is essentially a specialized form of theater, and to this day a huge number of industry professionals have a foundation of theatrical training. Several articles in this issue reinforce the connection (see Thomas Megna’s cover story, Ringling Bros., Ken Saba, Gary Goddard). “At our conference, you’re as likely to run into an Imagineer as someone from a regional Shakespeare festival,” said USITT executive director David Grindle.

Haunted attractions are also a form of specialized theater, right down to the zombie makeup, props, lighting and effects – and their sister industry, escape rooms, might be seen as a form of improv.  This industry has blossomed internationally over the past decade or so and TransWorld has been there to bring it together. Be sure to check out Rick West’s overview of the state of the industry in Southern California.

DEAL is the foremost industry trade show in the Middle East, an important, growing leisure market like no other, in just about every way you can imagine. In the last year, Dubai Parks and Resorts opened along with IMG Worlds of Adventure. In Abu Dhabi, a Warner Brothers themed park began construction near Ferrari World, which itself is in the midst of opening a steady stream of new attractions. In this issue we look at how Wärtsilä Funa Solutions took their decades of experience with AV integration in theaters and applied it to almost 50 of the venues in the new Dubai Parks and Resorts property.

And those are just some of the bigger players in the United Arab Emirates. The unique theme parks, cultural attractions, resorts and retail developed in the UAE have few counterparts elsewhere in the world. In 2020, Dubai will host a major world’s fair and that too, is proceeding on a unique model. (Check out the InPark website for our coverage of Dubai Expo 2020.)

This convergence of theater, technology and storytelling isn’t new, but it’s getting expanded recognition in larger circles, both geographically and in different market segments. InPark continues to be on the forefront of covering these growing markets not only in our partnerships with leading industry associations, but also in covering the stories and projects wherever they are happening. • • •

Joe Kleiman
Joe Kleimanhttp://wwww.themedreality.com
Raised in San Diego on theme parks, zoos, and IMAX films, InPark's Senior Correspondent Joe Kleiman would expand his childhood loves into two decades as a projectionist and theater director within the giant screen industry. In addition to his work in commercial and museum operations, Joe has volunteered his time to animal husbandry at leading facilities in California and Texas and has played a leading management role for a number of performing arts companies. Joe previously served as News Editor and has remained a contributing author to InPark Magazine since 2011. HIs writing has also appeared in Sound & Communications, LF Examiner, Jim Hill Media, The Planetarian, Behind the Thrills, and MiceChat His blog, ThemedReality.com takes an unconventional look at the attractions industry. Follow on twitter @ThemesRenewed Joe lives in Sacramento, California with his wife, dog, and a ghost.

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