A former Disney Imagineer and Refinery29/Vice Media Experiential Creative Director, Stephanie Riggs has been bridging storytelling and immersive technology for over two decades through ground-breaking projects across theatre, theme park, film, experiential and XR. Her collaborations with international corporations (Facebook, Google, Netflix, Amazon), start-ups (InceptionVR, JauntVR, Lightframe.co), non-profits (IndieFlixFilms, The Nantucket Project), and academia (Yale Blended Reality Lab, NYU Future Reality Lab, CMU Entertainment Technology Center) have pushed the boundaries of technology and story. In 2015, she was invited to film President Barack Obama’s historic speech in Nairobi, Kenya in 360, making him the first US President recorded in virtual reality. explores learnings from these experiences in her acclaimed book, “The End of Storytelling”, and presents a powerful new paradigm for narratives in immersive technology. Passionate about inspiring diverse, interdisciplinary teams, Stephanie frequently mentors and speaks around the world (TedX, SXSW, SIGGRAPH). She is a founding board member of 5th Wall Forum and the World Experience Organization. A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Drama (Directing) and School of Computer Science (Human-Computer Interaction), she is the director of the New York Times Critics Pick documentary “The Standbys” about Broadway understudies and standbys and produced the cult classic film “Banshee Chapter” with Zachary Quinto (“Star Trek”, “The Boys in the Band” [Broadway], “The Glass Menagerie”[Broadway]), which was also the first feature film released in VR (Oculus DK2).
Simón Adinia Hanukai is a theater maker, director, educator, and the Artistic Director of Kaimera Productions. Originally from Baku, Azerbaijan, he splits his time between NYC and Paris. Other artistic leadership roles include Co-Artistic Director of Destiny Arts Center, Adjunct Professor at CUNY & Sciences Po (Paris), and HowlRound World Theatre Map Ambassador. Simón has created work and taught throughout the U.S., Middle East, Europe and India. He holds an MA in Education from the University of San Francisco’s Center for Teaching Excellence and Social Justice, and an MFA in Directing from Columbia University. More info at www.kaimeraproductions.com.
Nate Koch is a Lortel-award winning (Sweeney Todd, 2017) and Drama Desk-award winning (Queen of the Night, 2015) immersive theater creative, producer, executive producer, and consultant for site-specific/immersive works, theatrical productions, and hospitality projects. Select current/recent projects include: producer of David Byrne’s THEATER OF THE MIND (upcoming, 2021); producer of Hebru Brantley’s NEVERMORE PARK, a 6,000 square foot ticketed immersive art installation in Chicago (present, 2019); executive producer of the award-winning, Tooting Arts Club immersive production of SWEENEY TODD (Barrow Street Theatre, 2017-2018); producer of massive immersive show/circus/feast QUEEN OF THE NIGHT (New York City’s Paramount Hotel/Diamond Horseshoe, 2013-2015); creative producer for Google’s 2016 I/O Conference (Mountain View C.A., 2016); EVP, creative development and business affairs for SUPERFLY (2015); associate producer for development of SLEEP NO MORE (2009-2010).
Sheila Gaskins is a teaching artist, activist, playwright, facilitator, stand-up comic, and healer. Sheila teaches in the Community Arts Program at MICA. She is a drama teacher at the Forbush School in Glyndon, where her special needs students performed 5 of her original stage productions. She is an experienced facilitator in the civic dialogue of the art of theater of the oppressed. She is the playwright and director of "The Last House Standing," which premiered at the Arena Playhouse. Among other performance pieces, she has created "Surprise," a birthday party for Trayvon Martin at the Transmodern Festival, and "Hired: Knot!" at the EMP Collective. Credits include, HBO's "The Wire," "BET Comicview," and "The Salon." Gaskins was recognized for her art activism in the Baltimore Sun's "10 People Who Make Baltimore Better (2018)." She is one of the co-founders of "Artpartheid: Bridging the Gap of Disparities in the Baltimore Art Scene."
Founded by multi-award-winning theatre and experience makers, Swamp Motel creates entertainment that blurs boundaries between theatre, film and gaming. By giving audiences a pivotal role within story-worlds, Swamp Motel’s innovative productions are always live, social and thrilling whether experiencing them from your sofa, your desk or in an unexpected venue. Their online experiences combine the artistry of immersive theatre with the thrill of an escape room, made for the internet. Their theatrical events allow audiences to experience new and existing stories in the most unexpected ways, made for live.
Leila has over 20 years in Entertainment, Technology & Event Production developing digital products across mobile, web, OTT, AR & VR, while launching award-winning marketing campaigns for brands and startups. Her experience includes working with Microsoft, Enklu, Two Bit Circus, Disney, AREA15, Cleanbox Technology, Warner Bros, LBX Immersive, Meow Wolf and Universal Studios. Leila has produced large-scale real and virtual events and festivals, including BRCvr, launched several location-based experiences and was co-creator/producer of the Unreal Garden, the world's first mixed reality location-based experience. Leila’s career in immersive started in 2007 with a project for Adobe MAX using projectors and Wii remotes, followed by her first AR project for Playmates toys in 2008. Leila is co-author of the book “A Handbook of Research on the Global Impacts & Roles of Immersive Media”, founder of XR consultancy MESH, a member of Spatial Activations, and advisor to Collimation. Most recently Leila joined the Microsoft Mixed Reality team as Senior Program Manager for AltspaceVR.