December 18, 2020
WEDU Spotlights the WBTT Story with Feature-length Film
Categories: BELONGING AND CULTURE: Cultural Development & the Arts, Nonprofits,
For Nate Jacobs, the last 20 years have been an uphill battle. From an upstart performer at Asolo reprising roles as outdated Black stereotypes to the founder of a once-fledgling theatre company that now finds itself at the top of the theatre food chain, Jacobs has kept his eyes on the prize. “It started with me, a poor, struggling artist,” he says, “and I just felt like our community needed to hear more Black stories and see more Black artists.” And through all the campaigning for diversity and bouncing around from venue to venue, he always found a stage to stand on and a song to sing. Yesterday, in a collaboration with The Community Foundation of Sarasota County, WEDU premiered “This Light of Mine,” a documentary about Jacobs, Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe and how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected him and his vision.
“The pandemic has been the greatest challenge I’ve ever faced,” says Jacobs, “this is the first obstacle that has kept me off the stage.” A big milestone in WBTT was when the company secured a place with Actor’s Equity Association. It ensured the company’s performers got paid, but it also ensures their safety and dictates the conditions under which its members may perform. For most of this year, that meant no performances at all—a bitter pill to swallow for a theatre company that just finished its gleaming permanent venue and training campus earlier this year.