WBTT Founder/artistic director Nate Jacobs

In an effort to share knowledge and resources, and strengthen the infrastructure of the Black theater landscape in the United States, seven of the country’s freestanding, independent Black theatres—including Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe (WBTT)—have forged a new alliance. The National Association of Black Theatre Building Owners (NABTBO) will work together to ensure there are stages where Black voices take center stage and are heard by diverse audiences.

Currently, the members of NABTBO include WBTT; The Arena Players in Baltimore, Maryland; The Black Ensemble Theater in Chicago, Illinois; The Ensemble Theatre in Houston, Texas; eta Creative Arts Foundation in Chicago, Illinois; Hattiloo Theatre in Memphis, Tennessee; and National Black Theatre in New York City. These entities were first brought together by Chuck Smith, award-winning national theater director (and resident director at WBTT), who urged them to collaborate. Leaders at these theaters have committed to being a conduit for creating strategies and building platforms to benefit Black theater as a holistic community. The goal is to increase interaction and communication while strengthening the Black theater community on a national level. NABTBO theatres are committed to serving as the conduit to help Black artists’ careers to flourish, while working to help spread their voices to diverse audiences across the U.S.

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