WBTT Launches Summer Musical Intensive

Theater

BY PHILIP LEDERER SRQ DAILY FRIDAY WEEKEND EDITION FRIDAY MAY 27, 2016

Continuing its dedication to educational outreach and programming, Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe has announced the debut of a new summer musical intensive with “Stage of Discovery.” Slated to begin July 20 and run through Aug. 15, 25 actors, singers and dancers ages 13-18 will participate in this daily pilot program putting the young performers through the paces in various theatrical disciplines before staging an original musical written and directed by WBTT Founder and Artistic Director Nate Jacobs. Underwritten by the Robert E. Dods Family Foundation, “Stage of Discovery” is free to all attendees in this pilot year.

In addition to working with Jacobs and other WBTT staff, guest instructors such as choreographers and vocal coaches will lead sessions, with students taking lessons in dance, acting, singing and improvisation as well as gaining behind-the-scenes experience with set and costume design. The intensive runs from 9am-2pm daily, with free lunch provided and aftercare available from 2pm-5pm for a fee of $50 per week per child.

With only 25 spots available, prospective performers are required to attend a mandatory audition session Saturday, Jun. 11 from 1pm-5pm. “So it’s kind of like being cast,” said WBTT Executive Director Julie Leach. “We’re just looking for good talent and kids that are excited about opportunities in theater.” And by removing the financial barrier, Leach hopes WBTT can reach budding Broadway stars yet undiscovered. “We like to focus on underserved youth,” she said, “and that’s one of the easiest ways to help.”

Increasing educational programming has been a key part of the strategic plan for WBTT in recent years, said Leach, referring specifically to the launch of last year’s JazzLinks program, sending artists from the Jazz Club of Sarasota into area schools to perform and talk about influential jazz musicians. If “Stage of Discovery” proves a success, Leach hopes the program can expand past the pilot to include more, and younger, performers.

Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe

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