The Art of the Escape (Room)


Over the last five years, there has been an explosion in Escape Rooms. As of 2017, it was estimated that there were over 1800 in the US with the number expected to break 2,500 by the end of 2018. While most Escape Rooms have teams toiling with puzzles as they race to beat the clock - a new crop is mixing storytelling and immersive theatre to the form.

Join us for a special evening of Escape Room experimentation. Lance Weiler will share and playtest the design of his latest project entitled “Where There’s Smoke." Slated to roll out in late 2018 and tour throughout 2019, “Where There’s Smoke” represents Weiler’s most personal work to date. A project that mixes a live documentary, immersive theatre and an escape room to create an experience that explores memory and loss. Set within the aftermath of a blaze, participants race to determine the cause of a tragic fire by sifting through the charred remains. Inspired by true events in Weiler’s life, “Where There’s Smoke” details the connections between two mysterious fires through the use of thousands of archival slides that his father shot over 20 years as a volunteer firefighter and occasional fire scene investigator.

Lance Weiler is an award-winning writer/director/producer and founding director of the Columbia University School of the Arts’ Digital Storytelling Lab. His work harnesses emerging technologies and spans feature films, television, immersive theater, games, and installations. An alumnus of the Sundance Screenwriting Lab, Lance Weiler is recognized as a pioneer in mixing storytelling and technology. Wired magazine named him “one of 25 people helping to reinvent entertainment and change the face of Hollywood.” Weiler has designed experiences that have reached millions of people via theaters, mobile devices, and online. He was nominated for an International Emmy in digital fiction for his work on "Collapsus: The Energy Risk Conspiracy." For more on Lance and his work visit

7:00 - Doors Open

7:15 - 9:15 - Playtesting begins

9:15 - 10:00 - “Pulling back the curtain on the design, production and funding” - Lance shares a behind the scenes look at the project