The Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe (WBTT) announces its first 2016-2017 WBTT Voices program of the season. On Saturday, October 1 at 7:30 p.m. and again on Sunday, October 2 at 2 p.m., to commemorate Breast Cancer Awareness Month, WBTT is teaming up with several area organizations to present a powerful play, Life in the Cancer Lane.
Phoenix playwright and activist Barbra Watson-Riley gave birth to Life in the Cancer Lane in the midst of her own battle with breast cancer. Even after her death in 2013, Barbra’s story endures – informing and impacting the lives of anyone who has ever been touched by the disease. With honesty, heart and humor, this story is told from the real-life accounts of survivors and their caregivers, examining life after diagnosis and what happens when these women are thrown head first into “the Cancer Lane.” Whether it’s the side effects of chemo or the loss of hair and friends, the play examines the twists, turns and bumps in the road along the breast cancer journey.
The Saturday, October 1 show will be followed by an intimate discussion with the playwright’s parents. The Sunday, October 2 presentation will be followed by a panel discussion with leading local experts in the cancer field.
While the WBTT Voices programs are always free, donations during these presentations are encouraged and will pay for Barb’s BagTM of Care and Comfort, which is filled with essential items for chemotherapy patients. Additional funds will be shared with several organizations that provide services to cancer patients, such as the Multicultural Health Institute and Jewish Family & Children’s Service of the Suncoast.
Executive director Julie Leach is looking forward to this year’s initial “Voices” offering. “While the ‘Voices’ program enables us to have meaningful discussions about issues specifically related to African-American culture and history, these discussions also touch on universal topics that speak to all people,” she said. “Breast cancer doesn’t care what color you are – most of us have a family member or friend who has been impacted by this disease. We hope members of the community will attend, join in and support our partners for this program.”
WBTT Voices will return in February with a former member of The Marvelettes, Brenda Watty, who will share her experience. Forums to take place on February 5th and 6th.
This program is being partially underwritten by the Sarasota Memorial Healthcare Foundation. WBTT Voices takes place at the WBTT Theatre (1646 10th Way, Sarasota). Free and open to the public but reservations are required. Donations and sponsorships are welcome, with proceeds to benefit area cancer organizations. RSVP by calling the Box Office: (941) 366-1505 or online at westcoastblacktheatre.org.
About Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe:
The Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe of Florida, Inc. 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. For more information on WBTT, visit the website at westcoastblacktheatre.org or call (941) 366-1505.