The Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe of Florida, Inc. (WBTT) was founded in December 1999 by local actor, singer, director and playwright Nate Jacobs. It is the only professional black theatre company on Florida’s west coast and one of just two in the state.
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. WBTT has enjoyed tremendous growth from a grassroots organization to a successful not-for-profit, professional theatre with a five-show season at its own theatre campus.
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. A number of the aspiring professional artists trained in the WBTT performing arts program have gone on to work with regional theatre companies around the country and to perform in the highly selective cruise ship industry. In addition, the company has provided a springboard for national and international careers, with appearances on Broadway and as far away as Shanghai.
In the summer of 2013, WBTT was selected to present its original show, The Soul Crooners, at the prestigious National Black Theatre Festival (NBTF). As one of the audience favorites in the festival, The Soul Crooners was invited back to Winston-Salem, North Carolina the following Festival. The show’s success inspired its sequel, Soul Crooners 2.
WBTT has brought a powerful presence of diversity and inclusiveness to the region’s cultural landscape. It was dubbed the “miracle theatre” because of its unique ability to attract broad-based community support. A testament to that success was in October 2014 when 1,500 individuals filled Sarasota’s largest venue, the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, to celebrate the troupe’s 15-year anniversary and salute its achievements and impact.
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Sarasota, FL 34236