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SARASOTA, FL – After a previous postponement (from November 13th to the 22nd), Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe has decided to cancel its fall gala, "Soul in Garden." The event – which was sold out at a limited capacity (for safe social distancing) but available for wider view through livestreaming – will return in 2021. This year's planned Heart & Soul Philanthropy honoree, Marian Moss, will be recognized at the event next year.

WBTT is still rebounding from an outbreak of COVID-19 among the cast and crew of its "Light Up the Night" open-air concerts. Additionally, with virus case numbers sharply increasing throughout the state, the arts organization did not feel it would be safe or responsible to host the event at this time.

On Sunday, November 22, 6-9 p.m., Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe presents its annual fall gala in a beautiful outdoor setting, with cocktails, dinner, live auction and a show celebrating the Sixties, when sweet soul music was in full bloom. Songs will include megahits like "Dancing In the Street," "Twistin' the Night Away," "Try a Little Tenderness" and "Your Love Keeps Lifting Me (Higher and Higher)." WBTT will honor longtime supporter and immediate past board chair, Marian Moss, as its 2020 Heart & Soul Philanthropy honoree. Delicious dinner catered by Michael's On East. Takes place at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens (800 S. Palm Ave., Sarasota). Limited to 150 guests to ensure safe social distancing; livestream option is available for those unable to attend. Attire: cool and comfy with a groovy 1960s flair. Tickets: $250/in person, $100/live stream (7-9 PM). For more information or to check availability of in-person event tickets, contact Debra Flynt-Garrett at 941-366-1505, ext. 106, or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

SARASOTA, Fla. - Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe has temporarily halted the run of its "Light Up the Night!" open-air concerts due to illness: four professionals involved with the show have tested positive for COVID-19. Per CDC guidelines, those who tested positive or had contact with exposed persons will quarantine for the recommended periods and will need to be symptom-free and receive two negative test results before returning to work.

All performers, band members, crew members, and WBTT staff members are tested every other week for COVID-19 and will now be tested again immediately to determine if there has been any further spread. Additionally, in an abundance of caution, WBTT will stay in close consultation with area public health officials to determine when "Light Up the Night" might safely reopen.

‘American Roots: The Gospel Experience’ explores the rich tradition of black gospel music in America

SARASOTA, FL – Due to community response, the streaming video of the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe and Key Chorale collaboration, “American Roots: The Gospel Experience,” is being held over. The presentation – which is available in open-captioned and non-captioned format – will now be available through November 30.

Evening cabaret-style performances will feature a live band and popular WBTT artists

SARASOTA, FL – While its freshly renovated theater remains empty due to the continuing coronavirus pandemic, Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe is determined to keep its artists working and the community entertained safely. The arts organization will present an open-air concert series – starting Friday, October 9 – featuring a live band led by Resident Music Director (and bass player) James “Jay” Dodge II, accompanying a variety of popular WBTT artists, in WBTT's newly created safe, outdoor seating area.

‘American Roots: The Gospel Experience’ explored the rich tradition of black gospel music in America

SARASOTA, FL – In October 2019, Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe and Key Chorale came together for an exuberant collaboration with “American Roots: The Gospel Experience.” The arts organizations explored the rich tradition of Black gospel music in America through three sold-out performances at churches in Sarasota and Venice.

Students involved with WBTT programs earn funds toward artistic education and training

SARASOTA, FL – Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe is proud to announce it has awarded scholarships to six deserving students. Last year – the first for WBTT’s scholarship program – six up-and-coming artists were presented with $1,000 scholarships for studies in a college or conservatory program in the performing arts or arts management for the 2019-2020 academic year; this year, WBTT provided six young artists with scholarships of $2,000 each.

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