Partnership with Semkhor and FOUNDERS+ is bringing noted actors to town for master classes
SARASOTA, FL – Westcoast Black Theater Troupe, Semkhor Productions and FOUNDERS+ held their first in a planned series of artist master classes, titled “Conversations with Nate Jacobs.” Featured artist for the first program was Danielle Moné Truitt, who is currently starring in the NBC series “Law & Order: Organized Crime.”
Truitt is equally comfortable on stage and screen: she starred in the U.S. West Coast premiere of “The Mountaintop” and a television presentation of the musical “Dreamgirls” as well as held TV roles in BET series “Rebel” and Fox series “Deputy.” She has received nominations for Ovation and NAACP Theatre Awards.
Prior to the master class, Truitt toured WBTT and watched some of a rehearsal of WBTT’s upcoming production, “Broadway in Black.” During the 1.5-hour class, Truitt talked about her career, tips for building a successful career, the importance of Black theatres as incubators for industry talent, and suggestions for staying grounded and determined through the extreme ups and downs of artistic careers. Truitt emphasized the importance of having faith in one’s purpose and approaching one’s work with love.
Upon a request from the audience, Truitt – whose early years included leading praise worship – wrapped up the session with an a cappella gospel hymn. She then spent 45 minutes taking questions from the WBTT actors and attending high school and college students.
There were approximately 80 in attendance, including 40 actors and students, WBTT leaders, board members, supporters and staff, and Semkhor and FOUNDERS+ leaders and invited guests. At the conclusion of the class, attendees enjoyed a reception, with catering provided by WBTT sponsor Rosemary and Thyme.
“My time at Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe was an experience I will never forget,” Truitt said. “This theatre’s spirit is truly alive! It is a picture of what the theatre can and should be: a place for artistic freedom, community, authenticity, discovery and healing. I can’t wait to come back to Sarasota and partner with WBTT in the near future.”
The goal of the collaboration of WBTT, Semkhor and FOUNDERS+ is to bring renowned experts in acting, content development and other creative disciplines to the area for the benefit of local artists and patrons. The next offering will feature Golden Globe winner and Emmy Awards and Screen Actors Guild Awards nominee Ving Rhames (“Pulp Fiction,” “Con Air,” “Dawn of the Dead,” HBO’s “Don King: Only in America” and a recurring role in the “Mission: Impossible” film series) on March 29.
“We are thrilled at the execution and success of this first event of our collaboration,” said WBTT Founder and Artistic Director Nate Jacobs. “We were all honestly blown away by Danielle’s generous sharing of her time and insights, and her interest in WBTT. We are grateful to Semkhor and FOUNDERS+ for their partnership and can’t wait to welcome Ving Rhames to Sarasota next month!”
For more information about WBTT, visit 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. For more information, visit westcoastblacktheatre.org.
Semkhor has been working to support the arts in Sarasota for over a decade, and developed and invested in the city block-wide, state-of-the-art soundstage and post-production facility on MLK Boulevard. It has brought a wide range of productions to the city that provide unique educational opportunities. Semkhor is collaborating with WBTT to offer a speaker and educational series. For more information, visit semkhorstudios.com, semkhor.io, Semkhorcontentacademy.com, or follow on Instagram.
Led by Katherine Harris, FOUNDERS+ is a group of visionaries from our community who wish to integrate a thriving new digital arts industry into the region – one that will be successful, exciting, and attract new businesses to our coast as well as provide work for talented, local artists. The support of FOUNDERS+, which will engage expert artists and content creators to present master classes as well as encourage them to develop projects in Sarasota County, will help to sustain the efforts of the County and City, local EDC, nonprofits and higher education efforts to nurture this new industry sector and diversify our economy.