Local actress Shirley Simpson stars in her one-woman play, ‘Shirley Valentine,’ Oct. 5

Special to Gannett
Shirley Simpson as Shirley Valentine

MIRAMAR BEACH — Some of the earliest evidence of stories date as far back as 30,000 years ago to cave drawings that depict animals, humans, and other objects. The point is that we humans love stories.

Emerald Coast Theatre Company (ECTC) launches its 2021-2022 StoryTeller series with four original plays by local actor/playwrights.

Local actress/playwright/director Shirley Simpson returns to ECTC’s stage Tuesday, Oct. 5, at 7:30 p.m. to kick off the series with her one-woman play, "Shirley Valentine" — one of her original “leading lady” plays. She also has written "Gracie Allen," "Erma Bombeck," "Minnie Pearl" and "Katharine Hepburn," which she presented last year as part of the StoryTeller series.

“As you get older there are fewer roles available to you, and since I wanted to keep performing I thought, maybe I should work on a one-woman show. But I knew the research and time it would take, so I wanted to do women whose lives were worth knowing about, women of influence,” Simpson said.

In Simpson’s play, Valentine is wondering what has happened to her youth and feeling stagnant. In a rut, she finds herself regularly alone and talking to the wall while preparing an evening meal of chips and egg for her emotionally distant husband. When her best friend offers to pay for a trip-for-two to Greece, she packs her bags, leaves a note on the cupboard door in the kitchen, and heads for a fortnight of rest and relaxation. In Greece, with just a little effort on her part, she rediscovers everything she had been missing about her existence in England. But will she return?

Simpson has appeared in roles in Jackson, Mississippi, and Baton Rouge. Her film credits include "Everybody’s All American" and "Blues in the Night." The owner of Magna Carta Productions, Simpson conducts workshops and provides keynote speeches on communication, leadership, and creativity, as well as presenting programs of comedy and drama, for civic, professional, and church organizations.

Tickets range from $20 to $30 per person. Purchase tickets online at www.emeraldcoasttheatre.org.