The Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe of Florida, Inc. (WBTT) was founded in December 1999 as a not-for profit 501(c)(3) organization in Sarasota, Florida by local actor, singer, director and playwright Nate Jacobs.
The mission of Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe is to produce professional theatre that promotes and celebrates African American history and experience, engages a broad base of patrons and audiences, supports the development of a dynamic group of aspiring artists and builds self-esteem in youth of color.
As one of only three professional Black theatre companies in Florida and the only one on Florida’s west coast, WBTT has brought a powerful presence of diversity to the region’s cultural landscape.
Since its inception, WBTT has mentored and inspired many African American youth through participation in the company’s productions. It has provided a platform for artistic individuals who might not otherwise have had an opportunity to cultivate their interests and talents.
Through the years, WBTT has presented a variety of productions locally, around the state of Florida, and as far away as Switzerland and Germany. The company has gained a reputation for high-quality, thought-provoking and electrifying performances, and has received numerous awards and recognitions. It has enjoyed tremendous growth from a grassroots organization to a successful not-for-profit, professional theatre with a five-show season at its own cutting-edge theatre arts center.
Other offerings that distinguish the organization include WBTT Voices, community forums in which the public can dig more deeply into the people and issues that have shaped the African American experience in our country; the Young Artists Program, through which Troupe members are able to showcase their talents with one-person shows; Jazzlinks, which brings history lessons to life for area students; Rhythm & Tales, which welcomes elementary students to WBTT for musical fables; the New Playwrights Series, for emerging minority playwrights; and Stage of Discovery, a free five-week summer musical theatre intensive program serving minority students.
In 2021-2022, Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe will present its 22nd anniversary season with the Maya Angelou-inspired theme, “And Still We Rise.” Celebrating the indomitable spirit of African Americans, the productions range from Broadway classics to original plays and musicals. Running from October 6, 2021 through May 29, 2022, the shows are Eubie!, the music of Eubie Blake; Joyful! Joyful!, an original holiday musical; Ruby, a world-premiere musical; Broadway in Black, a musical revue; and two world-premiere one-act plays presented together, From Birmingham to Broadway, a tribute to Broadway and TV dynamo Nell Carter, and Float Like a Butterfly, an exploration of the life and legacy of boxer and civil rights activist Muhammad Ali.
To learn more, visit westcoastblacktheatre.org.
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