Tom Pearson and Jennine Willett (Co-Artistic Directors of Third Rail Projects) Teach Experience Design and directing for Immersive Theater IN China

Conference Information:
DATE: Saturday, Sept. 24 - Sunday, Oct. 7
TIME: 9:00 AM – 18:00 PM


Third Rail Projects | Global Performance Studio will be doing a presentation and a master class on experiential storytelling and design during the conference.

Designing Experiences for Immersive Theater Workshop
Led by Jennine Willett and Tom Pearson of Third Rail Projects, this workshop introduces the concepts behind designing an experience for an audience in an immersive setting, where there is no clear divide between the audience and the performers. Participants will be guided through game-like activities that explore this topic by looking at the way that human beings share space and connect with each other and how different scenarios impact and shape our experiences. The workshop will involve both a lecture and discussion that introduces the elements of experience design, as well as and activities that allow participants to discover and explore these concepts.  No previous theatre training is required, however a willingness to engage in activities that involve standing and walking in space is a requisite. 

More About the Conference

As an international annual innovation event which is open to the public, 2018 Xi' an Global Innovation Conference is dedicated to promote urban innovation and cultural vibrancy. With urban rejuvenation as its theme, The conference presents itself within one week through speech units, roundtable forums, international workshops, exhibitions, etc. This event is meant to explore future trends in the fields of architectural space, innovation, design, culture, technology and consumption so as to build a practical model for future urban development.

The speech units serve as the main section of the conference. 12 world-class innovation pioneers of various industries are to be invited to give their creative remarks from the following four units, i.e. urban innovation, digital art, cultural consumption and a design-driven world. Potential guest speakers come from global innovation centers, including the UK, the US, Japan, Sweden, etc. Pritzker Architecture Prize winner Sejima Kazuyo, world-renowned architect Kengo Kuma and multimedia artist Daan Roosegaarde are all on the potential guest list.

Except that it presents a collision of the top-notch technologies and ideas, this innovation carnival at the same time pays great attention to the connectivity between the remark content and urban industries of the related fields. By turning ideas to reality, the conference is going to create enormous practical value.

We are willing to build a bridge between your success stories and the world with great sincerity. And we take great pleasure in inviting you to join us and creating more possibilities with endeavor for a better urban future. 

About Third Rail Projects

Third Rail Projects has been hailed as one of the foremost companies creating site-specific, immersive, and experiential performance. The company is led by Artistic Directors Zach MorrisTom Pearson, and Jennine Willett,and is dedicated to re-envisioning ways in which audiences engage with contemporary performance. They have made work in New York, nationally, and abroad since 2000. The company’s currently running, award-winning immersive hit Then She Fell, was named as one of the “Top Ten Shows of 2012” by Ben Brantley of The New York Times and acclaimed as one of the best theater experiences of 2013 by Vogue.

Fundamental to Third Rail’s work is the notion of re-imagining contexts for presenting contemporary performance, as exemplified by a history of creating projects that have been sought after by avid theater goers as well as underserved populations and those seeking unique experiences. Collaboration is integral to all of Third Rail’s work, in the creative process as well as in collaborations with each new site, community, and cultural landscape in which they work. This manifests in numerous points of inquiry and programmatic objectives that foster artistic exchange and shared practice across unique communities.

In recent years, the company has launched several major works, all of which were met with massive critical and audience recognition: As Time Goes By in St. Petersburg, Russia; Sweet & Lucky with the Denver Center for the Performing Arts; Learning Curve with Albany Park Theater Project in Chicago; Ghost Light with Lincoln Center Theater’s LTC3 at the Clare Tow Theater; Behind The City with The Macallan; and The Grand Paradise, which ran for 11 months and garnered rave reviews and Critic’s Picks from The New York Times and Time Out New York, among others.

The artistic directors and company work nationally on new immersive and site-specific projects, and internationally through the Global Performance Studio (GPS), which combines the company’s creative and educational offerings through a program of cultural listening and exchange. Third Rail Projects has been the recipient of several prestigious awards, including: two New York Dance and Performance (Bessie) Awards; a Chita Rivera Award for Choreography; several fellowship awards including two CEC Artslink Back Apartment Residencies (Russia); a Theater Fellowship from the Bogliaco Foundation (Italy); an IllumiNation Award from the Ford Foundation and National Museum of the American Indian; and more. The artistic directors were recently named among the 100 most influential people in Brooklyn Culture by Brooklyn Magazine.

About the Workshop Leaders

Tom Pearson

Tom Pearson

Tom Pearson is a Bessie award-winning director and choreographer working in a variety of media that includes interactive and immersive theater, contemporary dance, site-specific performance, film, visual art, and large- scale art installations. He is Co-Artistic Director of Third Rail Projects and helms the international programs for the company as the Director of the Global Performance Studio (GPS.) The Global Performance Studio has worked with artist populations in a variety of international communities to develop innovative site-specific and immersive works and to share creative methods.

Tom has taught domestically and abroad for more than 20 years: as adjunct faculty for Florida State University and the Florida School of the Arts and through workshops, lectures and panels with Actor’s Theater of Louisville, New York City Opera, American Dance Festival, Town Hall, The LaGuardia High School for the Performing Arts, Swarthmore College, New York University, the Public Theater, Columbia, and internationally with MindPark in Shenzhen, CEC Artslink in Russia and Central Asia, and with the Hong Kong Youth Arts Foundation, among others.

Tom received his MA in Performance Studies from New York University Tisch School of the Arts and his BA in Literature and BFA in Dance from Florida State University.

Jennine Willett

Jennine Willett

Jennine Willett is a Bessie-Award winning choreographer, director, performer, writer, and educator and is Co-Artistic Director of Third Rail Projects. At the helm of the company’s education initiatives and curriculum, she teaches workshops, master classes, and residencies that share the creative methods and skills that come into play when devising, directing and performing in both traditional and non-traditional formats. Her courses attract artists of all ages and disciplines and she creates a learning environment that encourages dialogue, experimentation and collaboration. She also advises and consults for academic institutions and producers to help them realize their performance visions and discover the right medium for the message.

Jennine has served as a Visiting Artist at Princeton University and as an adjunct faculty member at Swarthmore College and Florida State University. She has offered workshops, courses, and lectures for numerous academic institutions and arts organizations, such as Columbia Teachers’ College, Rutgers University, Lincoln Center, Hunter College, The Actors Studio Drama School at Pace University, Primary Stages Einhorn School of Performing Arts, Materials for the Arts, and Gibney Dance. She received her MFA in Performance and Choreography from Florida State University.