Evermore Park: Virtually Literal Reality
The Crooked Lantern Tavern at Evermore Park
Evermore is not a theme park. Its founder Ken Bretschneider describes the brand new attraction as an interactive 'theatrical experience', where the land is a set and you are the star. Imagine the video game Skyrim, where the orcs and elves are not on a screen but right in front of you. You don't press buttons to complete a quest- you get up and you do it yourself! Dressed as a character of your own creation, the fantastical environment is yours to explore freely.
Pictures of Mortlock Mausoleum from Josh Steadman, where guests can wander the gloomy halls at their peril!
The team consists of a diverse range of creatives, with theatrical specialists, sculptors, gardeners, prosthetics and makeup artists, builders and costumers, to name a few:
An insight into the intricacy of Evermore
Many of these specialists have worked in the film and themed attractions industries before. Josh Steadman, Director of Show Design and Production, had prior experience designing for Shanghai Disneyland before joining Evermore.
More of Josh's portfolio, including Disneyland work like this, can be seen on his website here.
Speaking about his responsibilities, Josh explains: “As Director of Show Design and Production, I oversee a tight-knit and very talented group of artisans with specific backgrounds in scenic design and build for television, film and video games. My team has the fun opportunity to ensure that the set design and theming remain true to our story treatments and the overall creative vision of the park.” The job of keeping the storytelling consistent is vital to Evermore, considering that their guest adventures and tours are fuelled by story.
“We design everything from beautiful banners, wrought iron building details, to bas-relief wood designs which all reinforce the storylines and make Evermore a truly unique place.”
Some of Josh's designs for the Burrows and a picture of its construction from MillCreek Builders
Since there is no clear-cut way to become a theme park designer, Josh says how he had a late start in his career, and things weren't easy to begin with. “I was 29 years old when I landed my first internship. I was making $9.50 an hour and had some set-backs. As disappointing as that was, it pushed me harder, and I later entered the University of California to get my Masters Degree in Scenic Design for Theater, Film and Television.
A design by Josh for Shanghai Disneyland's Enchanted Storybook Castle
“This has helped me immensely and taught me to work super fast and turn out designs overnight. Designing quickly and building scenery as an Imagineer for Shanghai Disneyland was also more than intense. It taught me so much about being a better designer, and more importantly, it taught me some personal life lessons. It’s projects like those that you learn the most from.”
There is a great appeal in finding out about the detailed artistry behind Evermore, and they have shared much of its creation publicly.
Even with lots of experience, there is always more to learn in the attractions industry! “There are new challenges about this project, but they are fun challenges. The market here is very new, and that is exciting to me. Leading a team is a challenge, but I absolutely love it. It’s fun to steer talented people the way I wish I had been taught and trained, but that is something I’m very grateful for. Working in a non-political environment allows artists to really grow and have confidence in the work they produce. That is amazing in and of itself.”
Josh's design for an old fireplace below the final product in construction
While Evermore has been sharing much of their creative process, there are still certain secrets that guests will have to wait to uncover for themselves! “There have been lots of images shared, but I’m trying to keep certain images and concepts a bit more secret so as to surprise our audience! Also, I’ve learned that many people in the industry are hungry for ideas, especially if they are good ideas, so I’m trying to protect the work we are producing to some degree!”
Sculptor Cory Lawson working on one of many pieces for the park, contributing to its story's own unique history and culture
With such carefully guarded surprises in store, let alone the innovative treats we already know about, Evermore is certain to press a deep footprint into themed attraction history!
Evermore is based in Utah; you can find out about its opening event for the Halloween period here!