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 gender and sexuality. Pitr Strait founded Torn Out alongside Alice Mottola, who shares his belief 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.
Torn Out debuted with a production of Shakespeare's The Tempest in summer of 2016. The performance, played in Brooklyn's Prospect Park, was a remount of a similar production in Central Park the previous May, directed by Strait and Mottola and produced by the Outdoor Topless Pulp Fiction Appreciation Society. The performances were unlike any New York's parks had ever seen. 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 the Central Park performances, 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, starting with bringing their Tempest to new communities and developing new work to carry their vision further.