PLU pair starts theater company in NYC
By JuliAnne Rose ’13
Tristan and Julie Morris are quite the couple. They graduated from PLU together in 2008 and took off to pursue their performing careers.
In 2011???, the couple decided to start their own non-profit theater company, Babel, to help other performers get ahead in the business.
“I think it is a wonderful place where a community can come together and learn what it means to be human,” said Tristan Morris. “It is a place to question, learn, and be inspired.”
After graduating from the prestigious New School for Drama in New York with a Masters of Fine Arts in Acting, Tristan Morris was chosen from hundreds of applicants to participate in Broadway’s Rising Stars.
“Performing on Broadway is like performing anywhere else,” said Tristan Morris. “You just have to wrap your mind around it.”
Broadway’s Rising Stars is an annual one-night musical theater concert that takes place as part of the Town Hall’s Summer Broadway Festival.
Designed to help launch the careers of up and coming performers, it is a competitive program that showcases the talent of new graduates from some of New York’s most prominent performing arts schools.
“In a weird way, it helped me realize what I really wanted to do in the city,” said Tristan Morris.
As for many in this job market, theater can be an uncertain field to pursue a career, said Julie Morris.
“I didn’t want to have to wait around,” said Tristan Morris. “I wanted to try to make my own luck.”
With wife, Julie Morris, the two began to discuss starting their own theater company, Babel, to showcase all the talented actors and performers they met during their time at the New School.
“I’m hoping that instead of waiting tables,” said Tristan Morris. “We can sort of make something and get us moving towards the jobs we really want.”
Still in the beginning stages, Babel got its roots from Vpstart Crow (pronounced Upstart Crow), a theater program Tristan and Julie Morris founded at PLU. Vpstart Crow provides financial support, technical aid and peer assistance for alternative theater on campus.
“In this over-populated acting world, all these wonderful people are going to get lost in the shuffle,” said Julie Morris. So, Babel is a unique acting experience that aims to “create the character that only you could play.”
Through Babel, Tristan and Julie Morris hope to help launch the careers of these recent graduates. Plans for the future of Babel include premiering performances in the home towns of all the actors involved to “expose their own towns to things that sometimes get stuck here in New York City,” said Tristan Morris.
Babel gets its name from the Tower of Babel, built to reach the heavens, from the Book of Genesis.
“In a lot of ways, what we want to do is to build something higher than has ever been built before and find something that no one has found before,” said Julie Morris.