More than 120 projects are now under consideration for the 14th Annual Thea Awards. The current nominees encompass projects in North America, Europe, and Asia and include educational exhibits, museums, heritage centers, theme park attractions, and live shows.

TEA’s Thea Awards Nominating Committee reviews the candidates and presents a slate of awards to the TEA International Board of Directors for final approval. Results will be announced in mid-November 2007 with the awards presented to the project owners at a black-tie dinner event March 8, 2008 at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim, California. The Thea Awards Gala is attended by a cross-section of the industry and is open to the public.

“Motion pictures have the Academy Awards. The music industry has the Grammys. The experience industry has the Theas,” says TEA president Craig Hanna, chief creative officer of Thinkwell Design & Production. “The Theas are our industry’s top awards, for the men and women who work tirelessly to bring these amazing experiences to life.”

“The Theas awards dinner is a grand networking opportunity as well as an awards ceremony, with owners, operators, creatives, suppliers, members of the media, and the interested public all rubbing elbows and sharing in the excitement—not to mention great food, music and a first-rate stage presentation,” says Thea Awards Committee chair John Wright, of John Wright Enterprises. “After all, we are the experts on providing a superior guest experience.”

TEA will announce this year’s Thea recipients at the IAAPA Attractions Expo in Orlando, Florida Nov 12-16, 2007.

“From inspired beginnings, the Thea Awards have progressively expanded to showcase our industry in all its remarkable creativity and ingenuity,” says Barry Howard of Barry Howard Limited, who chaired the first Thea Awards Committee back in the 1990s. “It is a celebration of professionalism as well as excellence. The Theas got us out of jeans and T-shirts and into tuxedos and gowns, both literally and figuratively. We’re very excited about the growth of participation from outside the US,” continues Wright. “The Thea Awards recognize excellent work, and they recognize it around the world.”

From TEA’s viewpoint, the common thread that ties together the increasingly diverse global list of projects considered and named for Thea Awards is the guest experience—how the vision is realized and the message and content are communicated through a combination of storytelling, architecture, design, media, fabrication, and technology—whatever the venue. “Today, an ‘experience’ could be in a museum, library, theme park, casino, corporate visitor center, aquarium, zoo, world expo, special event, or retail environment,” says Hanna. “Tomorrow’s list could well include hospitals, college campuses and airports. It could be something that hasn’t even been dreamed of yet. By definition, these awards are a mirror on our industry.”

Each project owner who is presented with a Thea trophy has furnished a comprehensive, official vendor list for TEA to publish. Each vendor on that official list will also be entitled to acquire a Thea trophy acknowledging their contribution to the project.

“The Thea Awards fulfill a primary goal of TEA, by specifying who worked on a project and in what role, while simultaneously honoring and acknowledging the vision and support of those who made it possible,” says John Wright. “That not only recognizes excellence, it helps perpetuate it.”