New course in Themed entertainment

Photo setup for the course Themed entertainment
From the course in Themed Entertainment at VIA Multiplatform Storytelling and Production.
Dark Rides. Pepper’s Ghost. The Haunted Mansion. It may sound like the students at VIA Multiplatform Storytelling and Production are attending a special course in horror stories these weeks. But as much as a good scare can certainly be part of it, the current course in Themed Entertainment offers a lot more.

The Themed Entertainment course at VIA University College in Aarhus, Denmark is the first of its kind in Scandinavia. It introduces the disciplines from ideation to completion for a professional storyteller to work in the themed entertainment industry, including creating story-based experiences for theme parks, attractions, shows and museums. 

A career option to consider

“In the beginning of a course like this, some students are curious, some are very motivated to get into the industry from the get-go, while others think that working with creating these experiences is not a realistic option,” says Klaus Sommer Paulsen, founder of the strategic experience design studio ADVENTURELAB who is leading the course. 

“Then, during the course, the students meet people who are actually working in the themed entertainment industry, and for their final project, they receive feedback from professionals from around the world. Suddenly, what the themed entertainment industry professionals are doing for a living becomes a very real career option for the students to consider”. 

Bringing together the practical and the theoretical worlds, and letting students present their work to real-life company professionals is part of Klaus’ trademark as an educator. So, the projects from the students attending the Themed Entertainment course will be reviewed by an International group with individuals representing world-class competencies and attractions from both Europe and the United States. 

Storytellers with extra dimensions

“It is very important that our students get to show off their skills and get feedback from some of the leading experts in themed entertainment and experience design,” says Louis Thonsgaard, Head of Studies at VIA Multiplatform Storytelling and Production. 

He for one knows that the programme presents something new that many other, more traditional movie and media education programmes have not even touched upon. 

“Themed entertainment is a cross-disciplinary field where the students really can explore and utilize their ability to let a storyline work across specific platforms and places within a space that frames immersive storytelling experiences. The students themselves have not just expressed an understanding of what their extra dimensions as storytellers are. They have actually shown it,” he says. 

Klaus Sommer Paulsen agrees, equally impressed by the creativity and understanding of the themed entertainment disciplines the students have displayed. 

As an EME Division Board member of Themed Entertainment Assocation, the world’s largest organization for themed entertainment and experience industry designers, creators and constructors, Klaus shares the common interest of that organization to help educate and accelerate the careers of the next generation. 

“As an organization, we have called for training, courses and degrees for those with an interest in themed entertainment,” Klaus states. “Thankfully, there are institutions with programmes such as Multiplatform Storytelling and Production that are capable and willing of pushing the evolution of storytelling forward. The future of themed entertainment could very well start here.” 

More about the Multiplatform Storytelling and Production degree programme

Louis Thonsgaard
E: ltho@via.dk 

More about ADVENTURELAB

Klaus Sommer Paulsen
E: klaus@adventurelab.dk