A brand new UK tour of poetry & performance – from Lydia Towsey, Shruti Chauhan and Jean Binta Breeze MBE

Next Stop, Shrewsbury – Wednesday 15 October

After an opening, busy season of Spring touring we’ve been enjoying a bit of a Summer break – temporarily going our separate ways following an amazing mid-tour show in Penzance. This saw us all in fairly high spirits, coming as it did the day after my birthday and a few days before Ms Breeze was to leave for Jamaica. Over the Summer we’ve taken a few months to refuel our creative wells and happily reflect on the success of the tour so far, but we’ve been far from idle…

Alison’s exploits have included everything from getting hitched in a flurry of confetti, cake and Ukrainian Hall hosted merriment – to getting down with the playwrighting posse. She’ll tell you more herself but some of her exciting highlights include joining with KLiC – a powerful new collective of theatre makers, writers, directors and more – and amongst other things helping to edit a debut KLiC anthology of short stories.

Meanwhile, having flown back to Jamaica, Jean’s been sitting on her veranda busily writing poems and is now half way through a new book – containing some of the new pieces written for our tour and taking verandas and the things that happen on and around them as her inspiration. Whilst in Jamaica (supposedly taking a break!) she’s also found time to headline the Jamaican Poetry Festival in Kingston and receive awards from associations of young artists at the University.

Back in UK I’ve also been writing and performing around my hometown – whilst putting together a series of events for Everybody’s Reading (Leicester’s Festival of Books and Reading, chaired by Peter Flack, coordinated by Juliet Martin and partnered by a host of individuals and organisations) with the odd trip beyond the city walls to share poems and support the interesting work of others. Some of my highlight’s include getting published in the latest issue of the mighty national, Magma Poetry and reading at the lovely (Upstairs at the Western) launch; ukulele/poetry busking in Leicester city centre for People’s Art Collective (led by Leicester’s poetic dynamo, Bobba Cass along with circus/magic colleagues, Tim and Damien Bombdog et al) and reading in Pall Mall as guest poet for Heather Wells at the launch of her debut poetry collection, Maiden Voyage, in association with The London Magazine.

At this last I found myself talking to Tom Sutcliffe (the ridiculously learned, opera/theatre buff), Thea Havlin – a lovely young women currently doing a spell at The London Mag – with plans to travel to Italy (we discussed cupcakes, Chris Ofili and being of certain age!) and being reminded, courtesy of the infamous, Grey Gowrie that the ‘Inspector’ Hastings of my (Three the Hard Way featured) ‘Don’t Look Dance’ poem – was actually no such thing at all – being in fact a ‘Captain’. Accuracy, Dear Reader. Having heard and loved Grey’s reading of ‘Reece Mews’ at another recent event, it was of course flattering and very happy making to hear that he’d liked my own. ‘Reece Mews’ was for me a great (if late!) introduction to Grey’s considerable output. Political differences aside (Gowrie was a Minister in Thatcher’s Cabinet) the effect of listening to and then reading it was a sucker punch followed by the kind of sharp intake that really good stuff gives you – with it’s finely wrought detail and migration of art from studio to gallery via the conduits of love, loss, death and capitalism. As Bacon says, via some of the piece’s last lines:

“So few people
look, I find, at paintings.
How odd they want
to buy them.”

Heather Wells, whose work I was there to respond and speak to, is a fine and very interesting new poet – who is certainly not afraid to look – at everything from art..to relationships..to class, hence my choice to read ‘The Don’t Look Dance’.

Right, before this post gets any longer – I shall get to the thing I set out to say!

After our collective sigh of Summer break – Boom! – we’re back – and coming to Shrewsbury on Wednesday, October 15th. See here…

Should you live in or near Shrewsbury – and fancy getting feisty in a library, we’d love to see you there, workshop, share the show and have a natter: Verandas. Hipsters. Sisters. Songs – we’ll be saying stuff and disturbing the books.

We’ll also be joined by Mia Cummingham, Shropshire’s young poet laureate…

All in all, it should be a very good night!

Lydia Towsey
Poems. Performance. Art. Change.
http://www.secretagentartist.wordpress.com

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