New Art City Theatre Welcomes Sally Struthers

Bev and Kirby Ward are co-founders of Art City.

New Art City Theatre, Ventura County’s newest professional theatre, is pleased to announce Festival ’24, the company’s inaugural festival of new works. Festival ’24 runs April 25th through 28th at The Museum of Ventura County. Beverly Ward and Kirby Ward, the founders and Co-Producing Artistic Directors, are especially thrilled to bring renowned actress Sally Struthers to Ventura to join the cast of Drowned Cats, one of four brand-new plays presented as part of the four-day, jam-packed schedule of staged readings and discussion panels.

The mission at New Art City Theatre (also know as NACT) is unique. As an emerging nonprofit, NACT serves two groups: writers and audience. “Our goal is to support the work of established and emerging playwrights as well as to expand the audience who attends professional performing arts events,” states Kirby Ward. “By keeping the readings free, we’re saying, everyone is welcome!” adds Bev Ward, Kirby’s wife of nearly 40 years.

“It’s a win-win. Writers who develop new works need an audience, and audiences crave affordable, live entertainment.” she adds. Key to the company’s mission is to attract less typical attendees, like young people with modest means and older people who may be on a fixed income.

The Wards bring decades of professional theatrical practice to their roles. Ultimately, their work as writers shapes their vision as they cultivate relationships with playwrights across the country. As part of their annual programming, NACT will open a submission portal each year and accept scripts of all types, from comedy to drama, and musical theatre, too. For this year’s festival, 175 scripts were submitted from playwrights and composers across the county. With the help of volunteers, each submitted script is read by multiple readers, narrowing the selection to a handful of projects, eventually settling on four. The four writers participating in Festival ’24 hail from Maryland, Long Island, Seattle and Chicago

Each show will have two presentations (matinee and evening) involving professional actors, including Ms. Struthers. The Wards first worked with the star of stage and screen on the east coast, and she later performed in a Manhattan reading of Lord Arthur Savile’s Crime, a musical written by the Wards. “Sally is incredible! Not just funny, but as fine an actress as I’ve ever seen on stage. Her role in Drowned Cats will benefit from her sublime sense of humor” gushes Bev.

The Wards spent the first two weeks of March on casting and are confident all the talent will rise to the level set by Struthers. “We saw nearly 150 actors in L.A. and Ventura and there were so many wonderful auditions. We can’t wait to bring these new scripts to life at The Museum of Ventura County.” beams Kirby.

To reserve your free ticket, go to:
The theatre has open seating.

The plays:
Swimming Up The Sun – April 25, 1 & 7 PM
Reconciliation – April 26, 1 & 7 PM
Drowned Cats – April 27, 1 & 7 PM
Imitating Life – April 27th, 5:00 PM
Blowhole – April 28, 1 & 5:30 PM

Talkback immediately following each performance.
To Reserve your free ticket, go to:

About New Art City Theatre
New Art City Theatre (NACT) is a groundbreaking theatre company based in Ventura. Founded in 2023 by Kirby and Beverly Ward, renowned theatre professionals, the company is dedicated to the development of new works and offers a platform for emerging playwrights to showcase their talents. By giving equal access to diverse voices and inviting a broader audience to participate, NACT aspires to elevate all that is compelling about original theatre. For more information, visit, email [email protected] or connect on Facebook or Instagram.

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