For Immediate Release

June 23, 2010

Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe (WBTT) announces that it has signed a lease for its own home at 1012 North Orange Avenue, Sarasota (behind the BINZ building at 10th and Orange). The new location gives the Troupe a bigger space to perform in, and will also allow them to expand the season with more scheduled shows. This will be the first time in its 10-year history that WBTT has had a performance space that was solely dedicated to its needs.

"An opportunity presented itself and we took it," commented Christine Jennings, executive director of WBTT. "It's perfect; a great location that's easily accessible with ample parking. WBTT is in a growth mode so the timing could not be better. We are very excited."

The new location includes a fully air-conditioned 6,500 SF space for a black box theater, dressing rooms, rehearsal space, rest rooms and a lobby concession stand. Plans are to create a stage surrounded by ¾ tiered seating in the round.

"It's been a privilege working with the board of directors," commented property owner Jim Robison,  "as well as the staff of the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe to create a venue that is deserving of the incredible, explosive talents of one of Florida's finest theatre groups. I am honored to be involved with such a dedicated group of artists."

Audiences can expect the same intimate and up close experience enjoyed at previous venues. With WBTT as the sole user of the space, the Troupe will be able to almost double the number of performances from four to seven a week. The new calendar will offer two preview nights before each show's opening night. A regular weekly schedule will include five evening performances Tuesday through Saturday and two weekend matinees.

"There is lots of work to be done before we open for the season," remarked Nate Jacobs, founder and artistic director, "but I feel like we're getting closer and closer to having the WBTT vision fulfilled. We'll perform two summer musical revues in the new location with a grand opening later this year."

The first performances in the new home are being called The Summer Sizzle of Soul. Because of last season's sold out success, The Motown 60s Revue will run July 22-25. Following that, August 19-22 features another favorite, Sistas in the Name of Soul. Each will have five performances. Tickets may be purchased by calling 941-366-1505.

"We had a tremendous 10th anniversary year," Jacobs continued, "and we've got lots of exciting plans for year 11 with our own theater to perform in. I have never been more enthused about WBTT's future."

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." Since its inception, WBTT has produced nearly 40 productions locally and around the state of Florida. The company has gained a reputation for high quality, thought-provoking and entertaining performances.

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. The company has provided a springboard for many national careers including Apphia Campbell and Teresa Stanley featured cast member of The Color Purple and Dream Girls on Broadway and the national tour of Rock of Ages.