May 2, 2014
Contact Lisa Rubinstein, LDR Creative, Inc., 941-373-3803 or [email protected]
JENNINGS TO RETIRE AT END OF FISCAL YEAR
Christine Jennings, CEO of Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe (WBTT), has announced that she will be retiring from WBTT by the end of the 2013-14 fiscal year, which ends on September 30th. Her plans include enjoying more leisure time in which to travel and visit with family and friends.
“I’ve given my six months notice,” Jennings remarked. “Being a part of WBTT has been a wild and wonderful ride. I won’t say the work is done, because if you are growing, which they definitely are, the work is never done. I signed on for six months and before I knew it, five years had passed. It’s time for me to turn the reins over to a new leader. I’m very proud of what’s happened during my tenure: we are out of debt; subscriptions are selling; shows sell out quicker than we can anticipate; and we own our own theater. Next up is a capital campaign for improvements to the new theater complex. The next CEO will enter at a very exciting time.”
Jennings was approached by Trustee Howard E. Millman in 2009 to help manage the operations of the Troupe, so that its founder Nate Jacobs would be able to put all his energies into the artistic endeavors. Jennings agreed and enlisted friends and colleagues to help her. Among her achievements were establishing a debt-free financial climate, building a diverse and committed board of trustees, finding a permanent home for the professional productions and helping to purchase that property which will now become an arts center that serves culturally diverse casts, crews and audiences.
“Christine was a gift to us and we will always be indebted to her for helping to get us where we are today,” commented Nate Jacobs, founding Artistic Director. “On behalf of the Troupe, we thank her from the bottom of our collective hearts. We understand it’s her turn to have some time and we wish her all the happiness that life can bring to her. She earned it and we look forward to hearing about her new adventures and seeing her at the theater she helped to create.”
Also commenting on Jennings’ future plans was Julie Leach, president of the board of trustees. “Having Christine Jennings in your life is an amazing experience. She is fun to be with, forthright in how she addresses people and problems, and a fabulous friend who is devoted to whatever causes and whomever she chooses to bring into her life. Her leadership will be hard to replace but we have started the nationwide search to find just the right person. I know I speak for the entire board when I say Christine, we will miss you dearly and we thank you for all you have done on behalf of WBTT.”
The trustees are in the process of forming a search committee and determining key qualifications for any interested candidates. To inquire about the position, please email [email protected]
About WBTT: The Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe of Florida, Inc. (WBTT) is the only professional black theater company on Florida’s West Coast. The mission is to “produce plays that promote and celebrate the African-American experience, attract diverse audiences, while using its productions as a vehicle for supporting African-American artists and building the self-esteem of African-American youth.” Throughout the past decade, WBTT has produced many productions and has gained a reputation for high quality, thought-provoking and entertaining performances. Since its inception, WBTT has mentored and inspired many African-American youth. Many of the aspiring professional artists trained in the WBTT performing arts program have gone on to work with national and regional companies, including Apphia Campbell who most recently has been seen performing her one-woman show, Black is the Color of My Voice, in Shanghai and New York and Teresa Stanley who was a featured cast member on Broadway in The Color Purple andpresently stars in Rock of Ages. For more information on WBTT, visit the website at www.wbttsrq.org follow on Facebook or call 941-366-1505.