We had the good fortune of connecting with Rhea Amos and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Rhea, can you talk to us a bit about the social impact of your business?
A piece of Pandemic Collective’s mission statement is, “By engaging artists and audiences across all mediums, we seek to collaborate as a cultural force to rouse outrage and fear in hope of social change.” And I believe Pandemic does this, the company itself is highly collaborative. Everyone involved has a distinct voice, and all of those voices are heard in our process. We produce socially conscious work that is developed entirely by local artists, and we collaborate with someone outside of the theatre medium with every piece that we do, (like radio hosts, sand artists, screenwriters, some really killer people!) Our work addresses community issues, things that keep us up at night, and the hope is that we infect the masses with horror theatre and inspire our audiences to be the change they wish to see in the world.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I started out as an actor, and got my BFA in Theatre at Stephens College in 2010. From there, I moved to Denver and started working as an actor. And through this journey, I stumbled upon a pretty serendipitous opportunity to co-produce a show. This opportunity sparked an interest I’ve always had in devising work, bringing the immersive theatre that I always craved to life. So I founded Pandemic Collective back in 2014, and it’s been an incredibly rewarding and gritty and bloody and nightmarish 7 years! It’s never been easy, but it’s always been worth it. Viewing every challenge as a lesson has been so valuable. Learning to ask for help, even when that ask feels so uncomfortable, has been illuminating. Trusting your team to deliver is a must, but also loving the work enough to teach yourself how to do anything, from hanging lights to rewiring sound boards, is essential to keep everything in forward motion. Comfort is a killer, and any challenge or discomfort that keeps you hungry and humble is a gift.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I’d kick it off at PS Lounge! This is my favorite haunt, a true homage to the soul of Denver that I love. A midnight stroll through the uber-haunted Cheesman Park, (hoping that you don’t trip on any coffins,) is a must. I love RedLine, one of the best galleries in Denver; and a stop for bahn mi at Vinh Xuong Bakery makes for a killer afternoon. I think Denver is pure magic if you keep open to it. I love leafing through the Westword and 5280 Magazine to find unique events and happenings, even flyers on the corkboard of Bardo Coffeehouse have led me to some incredible things. Keeping open to all of it is a guaranteed rad experience.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I’ve had some incredible support throughout my journey, and there are so many people that have helped me to find the method in all of Pandemic’s madness. First is Chris Hubersberger, fearless Pandemic board member who has edited every play I have ever written, (a heroic feat!) Hart DeRose, my muse and kindred spirit that has walked through the fire with me as an actor/director/collaborator/all-around macabre angel. Cali Masters, one of the most talented people I have ever had the pleasure of working with, a kindred spirit who has always kept me grounded and laughing, (so important when you’re doing four hour long rehearsals of horror plays every night!) Morgan Schreiber, who is an inspiration and an all-around empathetic, talented, and incredible force of nature. Katy Williams for being an absolute wonder woman. Matt and Jenny Amos for doing everything under the sun to support me along this strange and spooky journey of mine, scavenging for old-timey doctors chairs through downtown Denver to always making sure that I remember to take dinner breaks. There are so so many people that dazzle me, that keep me sane and push me to be better. Their love has lit the way for me, as a luminous reminder that we’re better together. I deeply believe in that.
Images courtesy of Pandemic Collective