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Sherry Jo Ward in STIFF on November 12

By Clarke News  |  October 30, 2019
Sherry Jo Ward

The Edward J. and Cathy Gallagher Arts at Clarke series will host Sherry Jo Ward and her autobiographical performance, STIFF, on Tuesday, November 12, at 7 p.m. in Jansen Music Hall on the campus of Clarke University.

Tickets are $10 general admission and can be purchased by phone at (563)588-6377.

The theme for Clarke University arts and lecture offerings throughout the 2019-2020 academic year is Do Something! The goal for these events is to inspire and motivate people to do. Find your passion. Pursue a goal with your whole heart. Help others. Get involved. Be engaged. Make a difference. Do Something!

Sherry Jo Ward is an actor, writer, instructor, and professional theatre administrator. She was diagnosed in 2015 with a rare neuromuscular disease called Stiff Person Syndrome. Instead of giving up on her career in theatre, she chose to share her story by writing a one-person show chronicling her experience with Stiff Person Syndrome.

She did something courageous and wrote a comedy about this very scary, and very grim, diagnosis.

STIFF is a solo, autobiographical show that chronicles Ward’s struggle with this disease and, in her own words, is the funniest 60 minutes on six little wheels.

“For a number of years I have known Sherry Jo Ward as a fiercely funny, brave, and inspiring theatre artist. I believe it will be a true gift to bring her incredibly unique story to our campus and to hear her tell it in her own words,” said Joe Klinebriel, chair of the Arts at Clarke committee and Professor of Drama.

STIFF was nominated for several Broadway World (TX) Awards and Ward was also nominated for special citations from Baylor Health (TX) and the National Organization of Rare Diseases (CT).

As reviewed by TheaterJones, North Texas Performing Arts news: “You can call STIFF brave or courageous, and that would be true. But this show is, at its heart, the result of a talented actress and storyteller delivering one of the most honest, funny, compelling, and unforgettable pieces of theater you might see in your lifetime.”

As an actress, Ward has played many dream roles, including Barbara in August, Osage County (WaterTower Theatre, TX), Brodie in Precious Little (Echo Theatre, TX), Queen Elizabeth in Mary Stuart (Walking Shadow Theatre, MN), and Dee in International Falls, written especially for her to perform with playwright husband Thomas Ward. She premiered Scripted and Ham and Moon on Rye at Actors Theatre of Louisville, KY. She has also performed at the historic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, TN, in a musical production of A Christmas Carol with Gaylord Productions.

Ward has a BA Degree in Theatre from Abilene Christian University and MFA from University of Alabama/Alabama Shakespeare Festival.