SARASOTA, FL – Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe (WBTT) is pleased to present the eighth year of its annual Young Artist Program, through which Troupe members are able to showcase their talents with self-produced, one-person shows. The first Young Artist Program showcase of the 2021-2022 season, featuring 18-year-old student Astrid Victoria (known to WBTT audiences as Astrid McIntyre) is titled “Love Language: An Evening with Astrid Victoria.” Two performances will take place Friday and Saturday, August 13 and 14 at 7:30 p.m.
In “Love Language,” which she describes as “a celebration of inspiration and retrospection,” Victoria will share her great love for music through a selection of songs that she describes as integral to her development as an artist. She will also showcase the ways in which her favorite creators have influenced her own songwriting, with a small collection of original songs.
Backing Victoria will be singers Michael Mendez and Canela Vasquez; the band will be James “Jay” Dodge II, bass, Matthew McKinnon, keyboards, Brad Foutch, guitar, and Mike Andrews, drums.
Young Artist Program showcases take place at the WBTT theater, located at 1012 N. Orange Ave. in Sarasota. Audience capacity will be capped at 50% and masks are required to protect patron and performer health and safety. Tickets are $27 general admission; sponsor tickets, which include reserved preferred seating and playbill recognition, are $102 (prices include ticket fees). Proceeds from ticket sales will help fund Victoria’s education as she enters college this fall. Call the Box Office at 941-366-1505 or purchase tickets online at westcoastblacktheatre.org.
Victoria has been involved with WBTT’s Stage of Discovery summer musical theatre camp for five years. She has also participated in WBTT’s 20th Anniversary Celebration, the theater grand opening in 2020, the 2021 April Fools’ Fete, and several Jukebox Revue performances. During her years at Manatee School for the Arts, she performed in the Jazz Choir and was featured in several musical theater productions; other community involvements have included Praise & Worship and Youth Leader for The Altar Church and four years with the Sarasota Youth Opera.
“Through the Stage of Discovery program and every event in which I have had the pleasure to be involved, I have experienced a great sense of support and have been encouraged to step out of my comfort zone as an artist,” Victoria said. “WBTT has provided me with an atmosphere that encourages creativity and the ability to share my love for music and performance with fellow students as well as community members and leaders.”
In the fall, Victoria will begin her studies in Music Business at Southeastern University in Lakeland. Someday, she hopes to support other artists’ dreams of creation by owning and managing her own recording and production company.
WBTT’s Young Artist Program, part of its education programming, was created to support, develop and showcase the talents of young, aspiring artists of color. The Young Artist Program offers company members the opportunity to develop and present an original production. All proceeds from the show are given to the presenting artist to be used to further their artistic and professional development.
“My main purpose, my calling, in founding WBTT was to mentor and help develop the creative talents of aspiring artists like Astrid,” said WBTT Founder and Artistic Director Nate Jacobs, who assists the performers in developing and directing their presentations. “In the years she has been involved with WBTT, Astrid has made great strides not only in further developing her already impressive vocal skills but also her acting and dancing. I believe audiences will leave our theater impressed with Astrid both as an artist and as a well-rounded, engaging and hardworking young adult.”
Since its inception, Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe has mentored and inspired many African American youth through their participation in the company’s productions and, more recently, Stage of Discovery and other youth opportunities. Many of the aspiring professional artists trained in the organization’s performing arts program have gone on to work with regional and national companies and even achieved major-label success.
“The Young Artist Program is just one way that our organization advances its mission of developing young artists,” said WBTT Executive Director Julie Leach. “Through these showcases, artists are immersed in every facet of the production, from writing the script and the song selection to costumes, choreography, promotions and more. We feel strongly about investing in the performers who work with us in order to further their career opportunities.”
For more information about WBTT, go to westcoastblacktheatre.org.
About Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe
The mission of Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe (WBTT) is to produce professional theatre that promotes and celebrates African American history and experience, engages a broad base of patrons and audiences, supports the development of a dynamic group of aspiring artists, and builds self-esteem in youth of color.