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Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe (WBTT) is hosting a special panel discussion on Wednesday, February 26, WBTT, in honor of February’s significant designation as Black History Month. A distinguished panel of experts will participate in a discussion entitled WBTT Voices: A Communication Forum. The topic is the influence of black entertainers on civil rights. Panelists include Former mayor of Detroit and past President of the American Bar Association Justice Dennis Archer; Sarasota Herald Tribune’s Theater and Television Critic Jay Handelman; retired principal harpist of Boston Symphony Orchestra, professor and world-renowned soloist Ann Hobson-Pilot; WBTT Founding Artistic Director Nate Jacobs; and former Producing Artistic Director of the Asolo Repertory Theatre, director and WBTT Trustee Howard J. Millman. There is no charge to come and be part of this stimulating discussion, which will take place from 2:30 – 5:00 PM at the WBTT Theater, 1646 10th Way, in Sarasota. Space is limited and seats will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis.

The next show at WBTT is Harry and Lena, featuring Harry Belafonte and Lena Horne, leaders in the early days of the civil rights movement. This panel discussion will explore the impact these and other entertainers had, and continue to have, in improving the rights of individuals throughout the nation and beyond.

“We are very excited to celebrate Black History month with our first of what we envision to be many community discussions,” explained Jacobs. “We look forward to engaging the community in a meaningful discussion that brings us back to our history and the challenges African Americans have faced and continue to face. Education is what Black History Month is all about, and WBTT is proud to be a part of that process.”

About WBTT: The Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe of Florida, Inc. (WBTT) is the only professional black theater company on Florida’s West Coast. The mission is to “produce plays that promote and celebrate the African-American experience, attract 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 many productions and has gained a reputation for high quality, thought-provoking and entertaining performances. Since its inception, WBTT has mentored and inspired many African-American youth. Many of the aspiring professional artists trained in the WBTT performing arts program have gone on to work with national and regional companies, including Apphia Campbell who most recently has been seen performing her one-woman show, Black is the Color of My Voice, in Shanghai and New York and Teresa Stanley who was a featured cast member on Broadway in The Color Purple andpresently stars in Rock of Ages. For more information on WBTT, visit the website at www.wbttroupe.org, follow on Facebook or call 941-366-1505.