For Immediate Release

May 24, 2011

The Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe (WBTT) recently received a $10,000 grant to upgrade its technology from The Community Foundation of Sarasota County. The grant will be used to purchase new computers, network office computers, train staff, and provide Internet access at the theater to allow for credit card processing. The new technology will greatly improve the business operations of WBTT.

"We are extremely grateful to The Community Foundation of Sarasota County for granting WBTT funds to acquire modern technology necessary in today's digital world," states Christine Jennings, Executive Director. "It is difficult to run an efficient and effective business operation with antiquated computer hardware.  Now, the office staff will be able to communicate seamlessly with each other and with the staff at the theater during productions."

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BACKGROUND

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 first and only professional black theater company on Florida's West Coast.

The mission of WBTT is to "produce plays that promote and celebrate the African-American experience, which attracts diverse audiences while using its productions as a vehicle for supporting African-American artists and building the self-esteem of African-American youth."

Throughout the past decade, WBTT has produced more than 30 productions locally and around the state of Florida. The company has gained a reputation for high quality, thought-provoking and entertaining performances.

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 talented individuals who might not otherwise have had an opportunity to cultivate their interests and talents. Many of the aspiring professional artists trained in the WBTT performing arts program have gone on to work with national and regional companies such as The Black Theatre Troupe, Phoenix Arizona; The Cumberland County Playhouse, Crossville, Tennessee; Florida Studio Theatre, Sarasota, Florida; The Asolo Rep, Sarasota, Florida; Stage Door Theatre, Coral Springs, Florida; and Mad River Theatre, West Liberty, Ohio. The company has provided a springboard for many national careers including Apphia Campbell and Teresa Stanley, a featured cast member of The Color Purple and Dreamgirls on Broadway and the national tour of Rock of Ages. In 2010 13-year-old Troupe member Chris Eisenberg made it to the top 48, out of thousands of contestants, on the television show America's Got Talent.

For more information on WBTT, visit the website at www.wbttroupe.org, follow on Facebook or call 941-366-1505.