Skip to main content

RWS Entertainment Group acquires international attraction design firm, JRA

The move, announced at IAAPA Expo 2021, comes as both companies continue to expand rapidly

JRA Children's Museum of Atlanta
Ryan Stana RWS
Ryan Stana

RWS Entertainment Group (RWS), a creator of award-winning custom entertainment, live events and branded experiences, has announced the acquisition of JRA, a leading experience designer. This move will create an exclusive, full-service provider of guest experiences and attractions.

The announcement was made at a press conference today at IAAPA Expo 2021 in Orlando by RWS founder and CEO, Ryan Stana and JRA CEO, Keith James. By acquiring JRA, RWS will now be able to deliver a full array of design, production, performance and operation services to theme parks, attractions, cruise ships, zoos, aquariums, visitor centres, retail, hotels and resorts, brand experiences and more.

Two industry leaders join forces

Keith James JRA
Keith James

The two companies have been leaders in the industry for decades. The move comes at a time when both RWS and JRA are getting ready for record growth in all sectors, and as RWS gears up for the festive season with lights, performances and openings taking place on two continents.

“JRA is launching into one of the most prolific years in its history,” says James. “Over a dozen JRA-designed attractions will open in 2022, with still more in development through 2025. Whether it’s children’s museums, science centers, indoor theme parks, outdoor theme parks, or branded attractions, JRA designs will bring smiles to visitors across the globe.”

“RWS Entertainment Group has also experienced unprecedented growth this year,” adds Stana. “We’ve tripled our cruise ship activations, added a new Leased Experiences Division, new RWS Décor Products line and launched the RWS Fun Crew: Staffing Reimagined.

“Adding the design, project management and media production experience of the JRA team to the RWS portfolio allows our clients to dream even bigger and achieve even more in terms of guest satisfaction and return on investment.”

RWS expands

Since opening in 2003, RWS’ team of dreamers, designers, creators and operators has expanded globally, with headquarters in New York, London and now Cincinnati. During this time, the company has grown to include live performances and experiences at theme parks, cruise ships, events and more. It also acquired Binder Casting in 2016, allowing it to include casting to TV, commercials and broadway.

RWS Fun Crew Hersheypark
RWS Fun Crew at Hersheypark

RWS also recently formed a new Leased Experiences Division, offering interactive exhibits and brand activations for even the smallest of museums and galleries. In addition, the company also operates attractions and in 2020 it launched the RWS Fun Crew: Staffing Reimagined, in response to the many unfilled seasonal positions left in the wake of COVID-19.

Over the last 20 years, it has filled roles for over 4,500 performers and technicians each year, providing summer jobs and opening the doors to rewarding careers.

Taking projects from vision to reality

With this announcement, the RWS Entertainment Group has the ability to make ideas a reality, taking projects from design to operation.

“Selling JRA to RWS Entertainment Group is a natural evolution for the company, staff, and clients I love so much,” says James who will continue in the role of president at JRA.

“With Ryan’s support, enthusiasm and energy, I can continue to do the work that excites me, lead our amazing team in Cincinnati, and stay engaged with the University of Cincinnati’s School of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning (UC DAAP). I could not be more thrilled that Ryan has invited our team to join with his as we embark on a shared, expanded vision for themed entertainment.”

RWS Six Flags Great America Holiday in the Park
Six Flags Great America Holiday in the Park, an RWS project

“I have admired Keith James for as long as I can remember,” says Stana. “To have the opportunity to work side-by-side with him, expanding his team’s creative vision to theater and cruise ships, and bringing live entertainment to even more venues throughout the world, is truly the realization of a dream.

“Thanks to the hard work, discipline and drive of both our teams, we are enjoying a record 2021 with even bigger projects and plans on deck for 2022 and beyond.”

After the press conference, glasses were raised to celebrate James’ 50 years in the entertainment industry.

Last month, RWS announced that it will be providing full creative and production services for IAAPA Expo 2021. Earlier this year, JRA partnered with the Nancy & David Wolf Holocaust & Humanity Center at Cincinnati’s Union Terminal to present a new exhibit using AI technology.

Top image: Children’s Museum of Atlanta, a previous JRA project

Share this
charlotte coates

Charlotte Coates

Charlotte Coates is blooloop's editor. She is from Brighton, UK and previously worked as a librarian. She has a strong interest in arts, culture and information and graduated from the University of Sussex with a degree in English Literature. Charlotte can usually be found either with her head in a book or planning her next travel adventure.

More from this author

More from this author

Related content

Your web browser is out of date. Update your browser for more security, speed and the best experience on this site.

Find out how to update