Free community event, ‘Playing Through: The Story of Ann Gregory,’ recognizes America’s first Black woman golf champion

SARASOTA, FL – Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe (WBTT) is pleased to present its first WBTT Voices program of the season with “Playing Through: The Story of Ann Gregory,” on November 10. The free program will explore the struggles and triumphs of Ann Gregory, a woman of color who was a pioneer in the elite and competitive world of golf. The program will include a panel discussion and the showing of preview clips from the movie.

Local author Curtis Jordan wrote the screenplay about Gregory, who was the first Black golfer to play in a U.S. Golf Association tournament. What Jackie Robinson was to baseball, Ann Gregory was to women’s amateur golf. Jordan has noted that his mother played against Gregory back in the 1950s and he has often wondered why people didn’t know more about her.

Much of the filming took place at Sarasota’s Laurel Oak Country Club, with other local venues including Historic Spanish Point, Phillippi Estates, and houses in the Rosemary District. Several members of the WBTT artistic team were involved in the production — some on-screen and others behind the scenes, including actors in the troupe and students and alumni from WBTT’s Stage of Discovery musical theatre intensive program.

On the panel for this event will be: executive producer and screenwriter Jordan, producer Peter Odiorne, production coordinator Zifeng Zhou, lead actresses Andia Winslow (Ann Gregory) and Julia Rae (Babs Whatling), WBTT Founder/Artistic Director Nate Jacobs – who had a strong cameo in the film, WBTT artist and staff member Michael Mendez – who portrayed Whatling’s caddy, and WBTT wardrobe manager Adrienne Pitts as well as other WBTT team members and Stage of Discovery students. Moderator will be Jim Weaver, WBTT’s education director/artistic associate.

"At WBTT, our focus continues to be on the African-American experience and topics,” said WBTT executive director Julie Leach. “Ann Gregory broke important ground for Black athletes and we’re thrilled for our organization and professionals to have played a role in telling her story.”

The WBTT Voices program, a free service WBTT offers for the community, is an ongoing series of community forums about issues impacting society, explored through an African American lens. WBTT Voices was launched in 2014.

This event takes place Wednesday, November 10, in WBTT’s Donelly Theatre (1012 N. Orange Ave., Sarasota) from 4-5 p.m. Tickets are free but reservations are required; go to to register.