How to Live – HYoC 2020

The team behind the Herts Year of Culture have launch ‘How To Live’, a film celebrating the stories of older residents in Dacorum about their lives, growing up, and the women who influenced them. The film is the culmination of a project celebrating inspiring women in Hertfordshire, delivered in partnership with Pursued by a Bear Theatre and Production Company and other Herts partners, as part of Hertfordshire Year of Culture 2020 and with support from Arts Council England.

‘How To Live’ is a retelling of memories and stories that were either told to the team, or written down and sent in by the residents. The team originally held workshops with tenants in Supported Housing Schemes in Hemel Hempstead and Tring, as part of the pilot project, however due to COVID they were unable to deliver further workshops as planned, and had to adapt the project.  They invited people to write down and send in their memories and stories instead.  These stories were cleverly woven together by playwright, Anna Reynolds, to create a script for the film and a large part of the monologues are spoken verbatim by the actors.  You can read a lovely blog by the writer about it here.

The film and theatre project was for older adults (aged 60 and over) to celebrate women, past and present, as part of a series of short films called Nothing on Earth. The participants wrote stories about their own lives and the women that have inspired or influenced them. These stories were used to create a theatre piece for film called How To Live, based on these Dacorum stories.

Councillor Julie Banks, 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.”

Rosamunde Hutt, Artistic Director of Pursued by a Bear, said: “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. 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.”

It was filmed during lockdown 2 in November and due to the restrictions, the actors had to be filmed over Zoom. The final song, also called ‘How To Live’ was composed and written especially for the film by Helen Chadwick.

Watch the film here

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