To produce and promote theatrical productions that inspire and challenge audiences to explore the questions of modern sexuality, gender, and body politics.
Torn Out Theater, founded in August 2016, is a home for theater projects that push the boundaries of how we see the human body and what we assume about modern sexuality. Alice Mottola and Pitr Strait, co-founders, believe that everyone's body tells a story, sometimes many stories. By adapting classic texts and devising unique audience experiences, Torn Out attempts to navigate a culture where private and public blur together, where the shocking and common trade places, and where magic is real.
In the spring of 2016, Mottola was approached by the Outdoor Topless Pulp Fiction Appreciation Society about directing a nude production of Shakespeare's The Tempest. After developing the core concepts of this world, finding a way for nudity and Shakespeare to blend together seamlessly, she invited Strait, longtime friend and collaborator, to join her as co-director. Together, they brought a performance like no one had ever seen to Central Park. A cast of brave and proud actors, dancers, and musicians played to overflowing crowds, leaving sorcery, beauty, and wonder in their wake.
In the weeks that followed, coverage of the performance circled the globe, igniting controversy and conversation. Thousands of people debated the role of the nudity in art and in society, the politics of reinventing classic plays, and the differing perceptions of male and female bodies. Seeing the power of theater to bring simmering tensions to the surface, where they could be confronted and explored, Mottola and Strait decided to form a company dedicated to starting more difficult conversations.
who we are
Co-Founder / Artistic Director
Pitr Strait is a New York-based director and teacher. After graduating from The New School's MFA program, he co-founded Torn Out Theater with Alice Mottola in 2016. Prior to directing Torn Out's debut production of The Tempest, he has directed numerous works by William Shakespeare, Caryl Churchill, and Don Nigro. His film work includes directing Words & Actions, a short film written by Allan Staples; and co-writing the story for Alexis and Bodine Boling's feature film Movement + Location, winner of Best Screenplay at the 2014 Brooklyn Film Festival. Pitr's education work includes both graduate and undergraduate classes at The New School, as well as Concordia Language Villages' French immersion programs.
Diana Levy has worked as a Producer, General Manager, Company Manager, and Press & Marketing Director for a number of projects, including: The Tempest, Hamlet, and The Rover (Torn Out Theater), Henry IV, The Tempest, Richard III (Smith Street Stage), All the Rage (piece by piece productions & Rising Phoenix Rep), Emotional Creature (by Eve Ensler), Murder for Two (New World Stages), Othello, HamletGhosts, Meet Murasaki Shikibu (The Brewing Dept.), Portrait and a Dream, Chemistry, Coping, Cracks (FringeNYC), Pains of Youth (Cake Shop Theatre Co), About Face (Brick Theater). Diana holds a degree in Political Science and Theatre from Columbia University.
Alice Mottola is an actor, director, writer, and software engineer. Before co-directing Torn Out Theater/OCTPFAS's The Tempest in 2016, she wrote and directed Brightness, an interactive play staged on the boardwalk of Asbury Park, NJ. She trained in acting at Barnard College and at T. Schreiber Studio's One-Year Conservatory. Alice holds a degree in Biology from Barnard College.
Producing Artistic Associate
Andrew Repasky McElhinney is a film, TV and theater director. His feature films include Magdalen (1998), A Chronicle of Corpses (2000), Georges Bataille's Story of the Eye (2003), Animal Husbandry (2008), Christmas Dreams (2015), and the forthcoming Untitled Philly True Crime Project. His cinema work is in the permanent collection of MoMA-The Museum of Modern Art. McElhinney is also an author and educator and his history of 20th Century cinema, Second Takes: Remaking Film, Remaking America is available from McFarland and Company. For more information visit: ARMcinema25.com.
Associate Artist in Residence
Elizabeth Weitzen is a theatre artist - designer, performer, producer, activist, and emcee. At NYU Tisch, she trained at Atlantic, Stella Adler, ETW, and in Mary Overlie's Veiwpoints, as well as with Kitty Leech and Erin Slattery Black in costume design. Elizabeth performs regularly at private parties, corporate events, and fundraisers all over the east coast. Prior work includes: founding/directing Shag Playhouse, a performing company in residence at a sex shop/art space in Brooklyn; company member and resident designer with The DLP, a radically experimental Shakespeare troupe; and shows with 3LD, Amos Eno Gallery, FringeNYC, Radiohole, New Perspectives, as well as regional theaters across the country and black boxes across the city. Much of Elizabeth's work is rooted in her advocacy for bodily autonomy and exploration of site specific performance for nontraditional spaces. Elizabeth lives in Jersey City with her partner and their amazing cat, and she is delighted to be working in residence with TOT to create this fervently exciting new work!