- About Us
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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 only professional black theater company on Florida’s west coast and one of two in the state.
Through the years WBTT has produced many productions locally, throughout Florida, nationally, and as far away as Switzerland and Germany. In the summer of 2013, WBTT was honored to present four performances of an original show, The Soul Crooners, to sold-out crowds at the prestigious National Black Theatre Festival in North Carolina. The company has gained a reputation for high quality, original, thought-provoking, and entertaining performances
Recent awards and recognitions include: Sarasota Magazine’s 2012 Best Lounge Act (SAMMY Tonight!); the people’s choice Curtain Call award for 2011’s best musical Marvin Gaye: The Man and his Music, as well as 2012’s best play, A Raisin in the Sun; and the 2011 Handy Award by Herald-Tribune’s drama critic Jay Handleman (Five Guys Named Moe).
Since its inception, WBTT has mentored and inspired many African-American youth and young adults through participation in the company’s productions. It has provided a platform for artistic individuals who might not otherwise have had an opportunity to cultivate their interests and talents. A number of the aspiring professional artists trained in the WBTT performing arts program have gone on to work with regional, national 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.
In addition, the company has provided a springboard for national and international careers, 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. One of our stars, Teresa Stanley, is currently a featured cast member in the Broadway production Rock of Ages and was in The Color Purple. In the summer of 2010, the then 13-year-old Troupe member Chris Eisenberg appeared on the popular television show, NBC’s America’s Got Talent. This young man competed against thousands of individuals and made it to the top 48 contestants. In May 2011 another young Troupe member, Alyssa White, won first place two consecutive weeks at NYC’s Apollo Theatre’s amateur night, and also appeared in their Best of the Best show. In the summer of 2013, she sang at the National Black Theatre Festival. A number of WBTT performers have had an opportunity to accompany Nate to Zurich, Switzerland for yearly concerts and to Germany two consecutive summers for performances before adoring crowds.