‘P-Valley’ Creator Says Autumn Night Was Originally an Elementary School Teacher Turned Stripper

P-Valley became one of the biggest shows on Starz virtually overnight. The story of several strippers navigating their careers in the south was something that captivated TV viewers. P-Valley’s creator, Katori Hall, adapted the series from her stage play of the same premise. In 2020, she shared how Autumn Night’s (Elarica Johnson) role changed when the project went to television. 

'P-Valley' writer Katori Hall with Autumn Night actor and the cast.
(Clockwise) Panelists of STARZ P-Valley live Q&A event, Creator and Showrunner Katori Hall, actors Nicco Annan, Brandee Evans, moderator, Entertainment Reporter and Producer ABC News Candice Williams, actors Elarica Johnson and Shannon Thornton speak at SeriesFest: Season 6 opening night on June 18, 2020 | SeriesFest/Getty Images

Is P-Valley a real place? 

Hall created the P-Valley universe back in 2015. Initially, the story was a stage play called P*ssy Valley. Although the name changed for television, the premise of the series remained the same. Through P-Valley, Hall said her intention was for the audience to see sex workers as people rather than judging them for their jobs. 

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“I want people to look at Uncle Clifford, Mercedes, Autumn Night, Miss Mississippi and see themselves,” she explained to Essence. “For me, this is a humanization project…it’s about making these unreal characters create a bridge of empathy and understanding for women who haven’t had that opportunity to be seen as the full [human] beings that they are.”

Although Hall wanted to make her characters as realistic as possible, neither the club nor the town the dancers work at is real. The show takes place in Chucalissa, Mississippi, where the Pynk also exists. However, while there is a Chucalissa museum in Mississippi, the town itself doesn’t exist. Additionally, Hall made up the Pynk for the play. 

How Hall changed Autumn Night for ‘P-Valley’

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Hall has previously shared that she had to make several changes to P-Valley when picked up at Starz. In addition to the show’s title, the playwright switched Autumn Night’s former day job. During an interview with Free The Work, Hall explained that the character needed more mystery for the TV adaptation. To remedy this, she turned Autumn Night (whose real name is Hailey on the show) from an intrigued teacher to a woman in desperate need of a new location to hide. 

“We changed characters and gave some characters different backstories,” Hall said.  [For example] in the play version, Autumn Night was an elementary school teacher who was just curious about the world. In the TV version, she is this woman running from a dark past, and she uses the strip club as a way to hide in plain sight.”

“We infused the TV version with mystery and intrigue just because those types of elements pull in an audience over a longer period of time,” she continued. “However, there was quite a lot of stuff that stayed intact, like the story of domestic abuse that was central to the play version. It’s very essential to the TV version as well.” 

When is ‘P-Valley’ coming back for Season 2?

After P-Valley premiered in July 2020, the show caught the attention of multiple viewers. Following two weeks of being on the air, P-Valley got picked up for season 2. Since then, many fans have been wondering about when the series will return for a second installment.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, Hall shared on Twitter that shooting the series was delayed for several weeks. However, according to The Cinemaholic, viewers can expect to see P-Valley on their screens in late 2021 or early 2022. The new season will also have ten episodes instead of eight like the first season.