Pitr Strait is a New York-based director and teacher. A recent graduate of The New School for Drama's MFA program, Pitr is collaborating with authors to develop new plays, researching and revitalizing under-represented extant works from the global stage, and expanding his directing work into short and feature films. His career is rooted in a childhood split between Chicago and France; an education from West African storytellers and 1940's radio suspense tales; and a deep commitment to the theater as a force for positive, tangible change in the world. The aesthetic of his work is characterized by a visceral, immediate physicality and the creation of an unstable, malleable reality.
In May of 2016, Pitr co-directed an all-woman production of The Tempest along with Alice Mottola, performed on Summit Rock in Central Park. Produced by the Outdoor Co-Ed Topless Pulp Fiction Appreciation Society (NSFW link), an NYC staple that promotes gender-neutral top freedom and body equality, the actors performed partially or completely nude. The production embraced themes of freedom, restriction, identity, and transformation to tell one of Shakespeare's final stories while also making a bold statement about public body freedom. The two outdoor performances drew crowds of almost four hundred audience members and garnered coverage from NBC News, The Guardian, Salon, and many others.
Pitr helped to found the Second Circle Theatre Company in the summer of 2015, directing readings of Allan Staples' Why Actors Can't Love and the first public reading of Sylvia Khoury's new play, Against the Hillside, the latter of which will be performed as a part of the National New Play Network national showcase in Miami this December. Additionally, he directed a new reading of his original four-person, sixty minute adaptation of Henry IV.1, which he developed under Stephen Brown-Fried at The New School for Drama in 2014.
Other recent new works include the world premiere of Emily Schmitt's The Chalice during his final year at The New School; Words & Actions, a short film by Allan Staples; and Tom Block's Emission, which he brought to the Theater for the New City's Dream Up festival in the fall of 2015.
Last year, Alexis Boling's feature film Movement + Location, based on an original concept by Pitr and co-plotted by Bodine Boling and himself, premiered at the 2014 Brooklyn Film Festival, winning Best Screenplay, as well as the audience award for Best Narrative Feature. Since then, the film has won the Excellence in Filmmaking award at the Indie Memphis Film Festival and the Best Narrative Feature at the Rome International Film Festival, and has been screened across the country and around the world.
Pitr's education work includes both graduate and undergraduate classes at The New School, where he taught Theater History under Jane Ann Crum with a strong focus on French symbolist theater and the translation of Shakespearean text to performance. He also taught for five summers at Concordia Language Villages' French immersion programs in Minnesota, teaching French culture and language to children of all levels, aged 5-18. This included the writing, direction, and performance of Plasir d'Amour, a series of original staged French-language soap operas.
Pitr continues to work as a Production Coordinator for The Duke on 42nd Street and The New Victory Theater, where he has assisted in the production and management of touring plays from around the world since 2008, such as Catherine Wheels Theatre Company's White from Scotland, Ontroerend Goed's Once and for All We’re Gonna Tell You Who We Are So Shut Up and Listen from Belgium, and Het Filiaal's Miss Ophelia from the Netherlands.