Evening cabaret-style performances will feature a live band and popular WBTT artists

SARASOTA, FL – While its freshly renovated theater remains empty due to the continuing coronavirus pandemic, Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe is determined to keep its artists working and the community entertained safely. The arts organization will present an open-air concert series – starting Friday, October 9 – featuring a live band led by Resident Music Director (and bass player) James “Jay” Dodge II, accompanying a variety of popular WBTT artists, in WBTT's newly created safe, outdoor seating area.

‘American Roots: The Gospel Experience’ explored the rich tradition of black gospel music in America

SARASOTA, FL – In October 2019, Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe and Key Chorale came together for an exuberant collaboration with “American Roots: The Gospel Experience.” The arts organizations explored the rich tradition of Black gospel music in America through three sold-out performances at churches in Sarasota and Venice.

Students involved with WBTT programs earn funds toward artistic education and training

SARASOTA, FL – Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe is proud to announce it has awarded scholarships to six deserving students. Last year – the first for WBTT’s scholarship program – six up-and-coming artists were presented with $1,000 scholarships for studies in a college or conservatory program in the performing arts or arts management for the 2019-2020 academic year; this year, WBTT provided six young artists with scholarships of $2,000 each.

Funding of $10,000 will support WBTT’s 2020-2021 performance season

SARASOTA, FL – Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe, the only professional Black theater company on Florida's West Coast and one of only three in Florida, was thrilled to recently receive its first-ever grant from the Shubert Foundation. The funding in the amount of $10,000 will support WBTT’s 2020-2021 performance season.

Arts Appreciation Grant of $30,000 will support Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe’s operations and 2020-2021 season of shows

SARASOTA, FL - Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe recently received an Arts Appreciation Grant of $30,000 from the Gulf Coast Community Foundation. The grant will support WBTT's operations as well as the costs associated with its 2020-2021 season, which includes “The Soul Crooners,” “Ruby,” “Pipeline,” “Smokey Joe’s Café” and holiday production “Black Nativity.”  

Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe will receive $50,000, with the National Endowment for the Arts recommendation, to counteract COVID-19 impacts

SARASOTA, FL - Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe has been approved by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to receive $50,000 in direct funding through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The NEA recommended 855 arts organizations – in every state, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico – to receive a total of $44.5 million in non-matching funds to support staff salaries, fees for artists or contractual personnel, and facilities costs. WBTT was one of 33 grantees in Florida.

Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe has announced a change to its 2020-2021 season lineup. WBTT has replaced "Broadway in Black" with "The Soul Crooners" to open the season; this decision was made with respect to budgetary and logistical considerations due to the coronavirus. One of Nate Jacobs' most popular original shows, "The Soul Crooners" showcases R&B classics from the 1960s and 70s, including "Reach Out, I'll Be There," "Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I'm Yours)," "Love Train" and many more. The last time the Soul Crooners performed was during WBTT's 2019 "Arts in the Ballpark" event, the sold-out '70s Soul Party concert at Ed Smith Stadium.

While WBTT continues to monitor public health recommendations, which may further impact its schedule and live audience capacity, the 2020-2021 season currently includes the following shows: “The Soul Crooners” (Oct. 7-Nov. 22, 2020); “Black Nativity” (Dec. 2-27, 2020); “Ruby” (Jan. 6-Feb. 21, 2021); “Pipeline” (March 3-April 11, 2021); and “Smokey Joe’s Café” (April 21-June 6, 2021).

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