One of WBTT's performances.

Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe has received a $15,000 Art Works award from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to help underwrite its 2020 production of Flyin’ West, as well as to defray the costs of community outreach activities related to the play.

Flyin’ West, by Pearl Cleage, which will close the 2019-2020 season, is a show that WBTT previously put on as a staged reading. In the 1890s, the lives of a small group of African-American women change after they leave the oppressive South and settle in the all-black town of Nicodemus, Kansas. Their hope and determination to survive in a harsh region are tested as they build new lives for themselves and their families.

Chuck Smith will return to Sarasota to direct the show, which runs June 3-July 12, 2020. WBTT will take a three-pronged approach to the community outreach activities, including offering two free performances of Flyin’ West for students and their families, a free “WBTT Voices” community discussion about the play, and a hearing-assisted performance either with captioning or ASL interpretation.

The NEA approved more than $80 million in grants—including the WBTT award—as part of its second major funding announcement for fiscal year 2019. Art Works is the NEA’s principal grant-making program. 

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