Arts, Charity and Vampires: New Nonprofit Melds Passion with Mission

From left to right: Marissa Pattullo, Michaela Slezak, Libby Rose, Elif Savas and Angel Duque show their own form of holiday cheer while singing some tunes. / Photo by Jessica Peralta

Los Angeles-based escape room creator Rachel Adams wanted a way to turn her passion into a mission. So after developing the concept of an immersive, vampire dinner-theater experience, the Immersive Art Collective was born. 

“The idea for this collective has been gestating for some time, but the pandemic afforded us the time and impetus to finally get it off the ground this year,” said Adams. “I have always wanted to combine my artistic and charitable interests, and the IAC is basically a more formal way of doing so.”

Made up of a group of mostly female professionals spanning backgrounds in the arts, entrepreneurship and social work and advocacy, the nonprofit IAC has a triple mission of developing experimental performance productions out of its venue The Count’s Den in Downtown LA, reinvesting proceeds from these productions into various outreach projects including charitable donations and arts workshops for at-risk youth, and becoming an accessible community resource for creators and creatives in the LA area.

Now in the Halloween post-season, the IAC is keeping the season alive and well with some vampires, of course, as well as other dark characters. Bite returns with the holiday-themed Season’s Bleedings, bringing back the dysfunctional vampire family led by Countess Yizidora and her vampire clan — with both old and new members. Guests will celebrate the jolly season with the unholy family over cocktails and a sit-down holiday feast.

A Grave Affair premiered for one night in October and now returns for a full run. Themed around a funeral celebrating the life and death of Madame Malade, who headed the Cirque du Sique traveling circus, another twisted family awaits guests with an immersive experience involving burlesque, variety performance, interactive murder mystery, and of course, humor. Drinks and appetizers are also included.

The new productions, starting in November, are also helping to usher in the new nonprofit and its philanthropic goals. Adams took some time from her endeavors to answer some of our questions about the IAC. 

HalloweenEveryNight: Why did you decide to create a nonprofit? 

Rachel Adams: I wanted to bridge the gap between my personal passion for the arts and my desire to give back to the youth and marginalized communities in circumstances similar to my upbringing, with the hope that art might be able to provide for them what it has provided for me. Additionally, I wanted to structure the organization to enable free arts workshops, scholarship programs, and transitional opportunities for youth coming out of institutional living … all the things I wish were available to me at that age.

HEN: Do you plan for most of IAC’s productions to be horror-themed?

RA: While much of my past work has been horror-themed, I see the IAC as a good opportunity to branch out and explore all kinds of themes, genres and forms. Some of our inaugural productions, such as Club Salvation, have had very few horror elements, and while horror will always be very close to my heart, we intend to continue to try new things as well.

HEN: Tell us about the people behind IAC.

RA: Throughout my years working in the theatrical arts, I’ve been so fortunate to meet and work with incredibly talented people across multiple fields. With the IAC, I have simply tried to bring some of those people together to form a powerful team, using their individual skills to further our mission. And yes, a lot of us happen to be women!

HEN: How many productions have you done so far through IAC? 

RA: As of now, we have produced four unique events, as well as hosted workshops for local group homes and charities.

HEN: You had a one-night-only event for A Grave Affair during the Halloween season and now will have a couple of productions, including A Grave Affair, off-season. Is the plan to have continuous Halloween-themed productions throughout the year? 

RA: We are definitely interested in recurring productions, and while they won’t all necessarily be of the Halloween variety, who wouldn’t want to see a Halloween show in the spring?

HEN: Who wrote and directed A Grave Affair and Bite: Season’s Bleedings?

RA: Our productions are all collaborative efforts, and we encourage our performers to contribute creatively as much as possible. Generally, we’ll come up with the skeletal structure of a show and its characters, and then throw it to our performers to see what they do with it. This allows each show to have a unique “voice,” and we hope our performers feel as though they share that voice.

HEN: How did outreach for at-risk youth become part of your mission? 

RA: I spent a lot of my youth in group homes, so it’s always been a desire of mine to take my experience there and offer whatever help or inspiration I can to those in a similar situation. I think it’s important to meet them with compassion and care, as well as expose them to ideas and possibilities they may not otherwise have considered. They are still very much at the beginning of their lives, and the kind of things we do are just some of the many avenues they could explore, but we truly believe artistic expression is one of the most cathartic and powerful ways of channeling and exorcising those things that hurt us. More than anything else, we want them to be heard. In some ways, I’m trying to offer them something I would have appreciated and benefited from when I was in their position.


The Gory Details
Bite: Season’s Bleedings
>> 90 minutes and includes a fully-catered meal with vegan and gluten-free options

>> Guests can participate in an optional secret Santa ceremony (must bring gift valued at no more than $10)
>>Shows twice nightly at 7:30 pm and 9:30 pm
>>Dates: Nov. 13 and Nov. 14, followed by Friday and Saturday nights until Dec. 18

A Grave Affair
>>90 minutes and includes drinks and appetizers

>>Shows twice nightly at 7 pm and 9 pm
>>Dates: Sundays from Nov. 21 through Dec. 19