'Wonderful stories' told in theatre company's moving film

The cast of Pursued by a Bear's latest online film How to Live. 

The cast of Pursued by a Bear's latest online film How to Live. - Credit: Pursued by a Bear

The final piece in a series of Hertfordshire lockdown films has been released.

Pursued by a Bear premiered How To Live or, The Trouble With Women… in partnership with Dacorum Borough Council earlier this month.

How To Live is the sixth film of St Albans-based PBAB's online series written by Anna Reynolds.

Directed by Rosamunde Hutt, it is performed by a cast which brings together four actors from the previous films in the Nothing On Earth: Shorts series, Suzanne Ahmet, Nia Davies, Chanel Glasgow and Géhane Strehler, joined by Shalini Peiris.

The cast of Pursued by a Bear's latest online film How to Live. 

The cast of Pursued by a Bear's latest online film How to Live. - Credit: Pursued by a Bear

It is based on stories shared by Dacorum residents and is the final instalment of Nothing On Earth: Shorts, presented as part of Hertfordshire Year of Culture 2020.

Learning To Fly, the first film in the series, was premiered in June 2020 as part of the Hatfield-based University of Hertfordshire’s Festival of Ideas: Reimagined.

Rosamunde Hutt, artistic director of Pursued by a Bear and Nothing on Earth: Shorts, said: "Throughout this project, it has been an honour to hear so many vivid stories shared with generosity, wit and warmth by people with such full lives and memories.

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"I am glad that, despite the situation we have found ourselves in, we are able to pay tribute to these contributors by presenting How to Live in this way.

"We have been living through a period of time in which all our strength, resources and innovation continue to be tested and these Hertfordshire heroines are an inspiration.

"It has been a joy to work with such a great team throughout the process of creating the full Nothing on Earth: Shorts and we hope audiences enjoy seeing them in their entirety."

The five original Nothing On Earth: Shorts were developed from themes in Nothing on Earth, Anna Reynolds’ full-length play for Pursued by a Bear and inspired by 2016 project/exhibition Hidden Hertfordshire Heroines.

Following Learning To Fly, which was inspired by the 'ATA Girls' who were based at Hatfield's de Havilland aerodrome during World War Two, came How to Build A Plane, performed by Nia Davies.

It premiered at Hertford Theatre as part of their programme of socially distanced cinema in September 2020.

Next came How To Land, which was premiered by Trestle Theatre in St Albans.

Part four in the series was How To Space, which premiered as part of Watford Fringe Festival.

How to Take Off was premiered by University of Hertfordshire Arts in November.

It draws from the story of a former cabin crew who became the first UAE female pilot.

New film 'How To Live or, The Trouble With Women...' weaves stories shared by and about women from diverse backgrounds and life experiences living in Hertfordshire.

It was originally conceived during 2019 through a partnership with Dacorum Borough Council, in which PBAB and St Albans' Trestle Theatre engaged tenants from supported housing schemes in workshops.

The sessions revealed a wealth of stories from the participants' lives.

During the pandemic, the project adapted and developed further with a call out to people living in Dacorum to send in memories about their lives, especially sharing stories about their heroines, and their own dreams and hopes.

Playwright Anna Reynolds wove these stories together to create How to Live.

Councillor Julie Banks, Dacorum member champion for Hertfordshire Year of Culture, said: "This project has been a valuable opportunity to engage our older residents creatively during the pandemic as well as celebrating their lives and stories.

"The film movingly tells the wonderful stories of our residents’ living past and the women who influenced them, which we hope will inspire others."

How to Live is available to watch at www.dacorum.gov.uk/hyoc2020 and from February 5 at www.pursuedbyabear.co.uk

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