Charleston Women Winter 2023-24

69 | | /CharlestonWomen For Sharon Graci, who founded Pure Theatre in 2003, nothing is more important than the Charleston community around which the establishment is centered. While Graci runs the business behind the scenes, she also contributes her creative talents as an actor and director. By bringing more than 90 southeastern premiers and 27 world premieres to the stage, with many more to come, Graci’s mission is to provide artists and audiences with theatrical experiences written as love letters to humanity. The plays reflect upon the ups and downs of life in the best and most non-judgmental of ways. A big win for Pure Theatre this season was the opportunity to collaborate with writer and community builder Kerri Devine to present two sold-out showings of “Midlife Monologues,” a compilation of readings, music, art and paintings woven into a tapestry that tells a story about the journey of a woman’s life. Devine’s brainchild sparks a dialogue that not only destigmatizes the aging process, but embraces all phases, with a focus on perimenopause and menopause. As an award-winning essayist and ghostwriter for noted public figures, Devine’s inspiration for the Monologues stemmed from research she conducted around a World Menopause Day event that she spearheaded at the Gibbes Museum in 2022. It was during this event when she discovered that three out of four women wanted to learn about, share and discuss the challenges surrounding the physical, emotional and relational changes of midlife by way of storytelling. As one-third to half of a woman’s life takes place during the time of perimenopause and menopause, Devine hatched the idea for an intergenerational showcase of ages and genres that reached out to the next generation by educating them to not fear “the change,” but to embrace it with the knowledge that this can be the most productive time of their lives. Collaborating with Graci, local writer Stephanie Hunt, Charleston Poet Laureate Asiah Mae, memoirist Cinelle Barnes, actress Joy Vandervort-Cobb, singer-songwriter Jasmine Commerce, author and educator Melissa Falcon Field, journalist Carolyn Murray, creative Amelia Parker and her mother, celebrated artist Anne Darby Parker and popular vocal trio Sorelle. Devine quilted together this powerful cast of local female creatives who performed a most unforgettable and eloquent narrative of true midlife monologues. For Devine, creating a sense of community was just as important as producing the monologues themselves, and that’s how @HotInCharleston, a one-stop shop for women experiencing perimenopause and menopause, was born. A vast resource of support and humor, as well as a place to connect with other women to talk openly about motherhood, menopause and more, the Instagram and event platform helps women circumvent what their mothers faced in the past and instead lean into how the next beautiful chapter can write itself. To learn more about what’s coming up next at Pure Theatre, visit To find out how to participate in @HotInCharleston, visit Pure Theatre is pure joy BY SARAH ROSE Review of rising establishment and “Midlife Monologues” The cast of Midlife Monologus.