SARASOTA, FL – Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe was honored by the Florida Department of State’s Division of Cultural Affairs with a Diversity and Inclusion Award for its ongoing efforts to promote diversity and inclusion in Sarasota and Manatee counties. WBTT will receive its award, along with other honorees, at a special ceremony on January 24th in Tallahassee.
WBTT was recognized for its free community lecture series, “WBTT Voices,” which examines the people and issues that have shaped the African-American experience in our country. Programs feature appearances by artists, playwrights, professors, and theatre professionals. The forums have all been at full capacity since the program began in 2014.
Past WBTT Voices forums have examined the influence of Black entertainers on civil rights, the life and work of W. E. B. DuBois, the Florida Highwaymen, the life, work and continued influence of renowned playwright August Wilson, the career of Brenda Watty of The Marvelettes, the work “Life in the Cancer Lane” by late playwright Barbra Watson Riley, and the immigrant experience in southwest Florida in this past fall’s special “Hidden Voices” program. On February 5th, WBTT Voices will feature star of stage, screen and studio Melba Moore, who will be performing in WBTT’s production of Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill from February 11 – March 31.
“As the only black theatre company on Florida’s west coast, we feel a responsibility to foster an understanding and admiration for African-American culture and history through our art,” said Julie Leach, executive director of WBTT. “We have been grateful for the overwhelming support of this community and found that our audience craves a more diverse cultural experience than can be found through other area institutions. We thank the Division of Cultural Affairs for this honor and for the grant, which will be used to enhance marketing efforts to bring this free program to those who will benefit most.”
The Diversity & Inclusion Awards Program recognizes innovative and exceptional efforts that promote diversity in arts and cultural programming. The diversity in nominated programs represents efforts to broaden the reach of individuals engaged in cultural programming in Florida.
For more about Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe, go to westcoastblacktheatre.org or call (941) 366-1505.
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 professional theatre that promotes and celebrates the African-American experience, to attract diverse audiences, to support and develop African-American artists, and to build the self-esteem of African-American youth. For more information on WBTT, visit the website at westcoastblacktheatre.org or call (941) 366-1505.