SARASOTA - For those on the Suncoast that don’t know of the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe of Florida, WBTT, this year marks 20 years. It began as a passion and manifested into a business. Founder and Artistic Director of WBTT, Nate Jacobs, says he hasn’t worked a day in his life. He went from showbiz: acting, singing, and directing, to building a company from the ground up. The importance of a diverse community presence in theatre called him to take this leap of faith.

"I knew very soon that this is what I was supposed to be doing, you know, I just knew it. There was no turning back for me,” Nate Jacobs said. 

The first ten years presented many obstacles for Nate. 

"The rehearsals began in the living room of my one-bedroom apartment. The challenge of getting up every day and stepping out almost into nothingness," Jacobs said. 

At one point it left him really struggling.

"No place to perform, no money, how do I create this world again for the 11th," Jacobs said. 

But he overcame and pushed through.

"I knew I had to move forward, and that’s when this whole thing turned around, " Jacobs said. "Watching it all come together was a sacrificial journey for me. But, it is what I love and I still get up every morning and step into what I really want to do, and I really love to do.

The most rewarding thing for Nate is to be a part of other people’s journeys.

"You know you got somebody dreaming like I dreamed, and I’m able to help kind of push them further along the road towards those dreams. That is priceless," Jacobs said. 

Founding member and performer at WBTT, Tsadok Porter, manifested her dreams through this company.

"He has been instrumental in my life," Tsadok Porter said. "Nate always saw something in me, even when I didn’t see it myself. He always pushed me to be better.”

Jacobs feels humbled to have been around for so long.

"Thank you for believing in that little dream," Jacobs said. 

Their 20th Anniversary Celebration will be at the Van Wezel on Novemeber 18th. For more information on the event, you can visit https://westcoastblacktheatre.org/.