The Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe of Florida, Inc. (WBTT) was founded December 1999, by Nate Jacobs. It is the only professional black theatre company on Florida's west coast. Through the years, the company has received numerous awards and recognitions and has gained a reputation for high-quality, original, thought-provoking and sizzling performances. In 2018 and 2019, Sarasota Magazine readers named WBTT Best Performing Arts Group. The troupe is celebrating its 20th Anniversary in 2019-2020.
In January 2020, after major renovations, WBTT reopened its theatre building as the Gerri Aaron and the Aaron Family Foundation Theatre Building. It houses the 200-seat Donelly Family Theatre, with all new lighting and sound systems, comfortable theatre seats and expanded restrooms and other amenities, plus a second stage, the 60-seat Howard J. Millman Theatre.
The company's Education and Outreach Building, housed in a renovated 1926 building adjacent to the theatre - originally known as the Binz Fireproof Warehouse - features rehearsal space, classrooms and offices. In 2019, Sarasota Magazine editors named the building Best New Arts Party Space. The popular venue, including indoor space and a rooftop terrace, hosts special events for a wide range of organizations.
WBTT's troupe members also perform at other venues. The company has presented a variety of shows locally - including performances at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, the Sarasota Opera House and Ed Smith Stadium - as well as throughout Florida, North Carolina and as far away as Switzerland and Germany. Productions include musicals - some Broadway hits, others written, adapted and directed by Founder and Artistic Director Nate Jacobs - as well as thought-provoking dramas and entertaining comedies from notable playwrights.
Since its inception, WBTT has mentored and inspired many African-American youth and young adults 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 these talented artists have gone on to work in other regional theatre companies, national touring companies, on Broadway, on national television shows, and at international theatres and festivals.
We encourage you to experience the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe and discover why there's nothing else like it!