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).

Doris Johnson ascends to chair, Mona Rankin and Dona Scott newest board additions

SARASOTA, FL – Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe is proud to announce its 2020-2021 Board of Trustees, with a new board chair and two new trustees to guide the well-loved arts organization into the future. Longtime supporter and leader Doris Johnson is the new chair, succeeding Marian Moss; new trustees are Mona Rankin and Dona Scott.

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

SARASOTA, FL – Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe is proud to announce the expansion of its scholarship program for 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 will have enough funding to provide six young artists with scholarships of $2,000 each.

WBTT continues to offer entertainment via streaming video, with a run of May 26-June 21

SARASOTA, FL – While the stage in Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe’s brand-new theater building remains dark due to COVID-19, the show will go on(line) – again – in late May. In an effort to lift spirits as well as generate critically-needed revenue, WBTT is proud to continue to offer entertainment options virtually, with the family-friendly musical, “Rockin’ Down Fairytale Lane.” The show will be available online from May 26 through June 21.

Theatre’s annual spring fundraiser to be offered online from May 21-25; will feature most popular WBTT artists performing soul hits

SARASOTA, FL – For more than a decade, Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe has offered the lively and music-filled fundraiser, the April Fools Fête, in the ballroom at Michael’s On East. This year, with social events shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic, the organization will offer a high-energy, 75-minute recorded program – “An Evening with Sheldon Rhoden & Friends” – online from 7 p.m. on Thursday, May 21 through 10 p.m. on Monday, May 25.