Supporters and community partners of Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe came together at Michael’s Wine Cellar recently for the WBTT Donor Appreciation Party to celebrate a successful year and continue the momentum the organization has enjoyed in recent years. The food, fun and festivities capped a wildly successful performance season and continued advancement of the Heart & Soul capital campaign, which is funding renovations on WBTT’s campus and growing its endowment.
The guests enjoyed hors d’oeuvres, cocktails, and musical performances by artists who have been trained and mentored and perform at WBTT – including Ariel Blue, Michael Mendez, and youth phenoms Maicy Powell and Sammy Waite – as well as a rousing number from founder and artistic director Nate Jacobs. Executive director Julie Leach provided an update on WBTT projects and programs, and then Heart & Soul capital campaign co-chair Doris Johnson reported on the status of that effort: with the addition of a $25,000 matching gift that was matched by a generous donor during the Appreciation event, $7.2 million has been raised of the $8 million goal.
The capital campaign provided the funds to renovate the Binz Building on WBTT’s Orange Avenue campus; the three-story structure is now known as the Education & Outreach Building, housing the administrative offices, box office, rooms for education programs, a library, rehearsal spaces, and a 6,000-square-foot rooftop garden terrace event space for patrons and other community organizations. The parking lot and grounds have enjoyed upgrades as well.
Renovations to the theater building have already commenced and should be completed as of December of this year. WBTT will soon have a larger theatre with comfortable, permanent theatre seating, a larger, more elegant lobby area, upgrades to lighting and sound, a second stage, soundproof walls, larger restrooms, and professional backstage areas. Architect for the campus project is C. Alan Anderson Architect, P.A.; Construction Management firm is Willis Smith Construction.
“We are humbled at the generosity and excitement of our donors and theatre patrons,” said Leach. “To enjoy not only a nearly sold-out theatre season but also to be within $1 million of our capital campaign goal is a testament to our hardworking fundraising committee, ardent supporters, and the numerous corporations and foundations that have made our growth and success possible.”
More than 150 supporters were in attendance. The event was sponsored by Ron and Rita Greenbaum. For more about WBTT, go to westcoastblacktheatre.org or call 941-366-1505.
About Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe
The mission of Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe 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 about WBTT, visit the website at westcoastblacktheatre.org or call 941-366-1505.