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September 8 2015

The Venus Papers:
 Book Launch and Exhibition Preview.
Ft. Lydia Towsey, Scott Bridgwood and David Dhonau.

In Association with Everybody’s Reading and Attenborough Arts Centre.

Tuesday September 29, 7 – 9pm
. Attenborough Arts Centre, Lancaster Road, LE1 7HA
Exhibition runs: September 21 – October 4, 2015

What if Venus, the Roman Goddess of love and beauty, washed up on a beach in the 21st century…?

This autumn join Lydia Towsey and Scott Bridgwood for ‘The Venus Papers’: a book launch and accompanying exhibition of paintings, to be staged at Attenborough Arts Centre as part of Everybody’s Reading, Leicester’s festival of books and reading.

The Venus Papers’ is the debut, full length poetry collection of Leicester based poet and performer, Lydia Towsey. Published by ‘Burning Eye Books’ this September, the full length work relocates Botticelli’s Roman Goddess to a UK beach in the 21st century; how she might respond to what she might find – and what would she do next…?

In the books connecting poems, Venus’s progression from innocence to experience is mirrored across numerous arrivals, departures, journeys and landscapes; from a dancing mother to a psychopathic Barbie, murderous mozzarella and road trip across the Spanish Badlands.

Lydia Towsey:

“By viewing Venus as everywoman, outsider, traveller and immigrant I’m exploring how women in particular are viewed and affected by cultural and political pressures in contemporary Britain and beyond.

Poems exploring my part Hungarian heritage and others including ‘Venus at Customs’ and ‘Things people say about Venus in the Tabloids’ are – unfortunately – particularly current, given the refugee crisis presently unfolding. I’m also drawing on my experience as a young women growing up in multi-cultural Leicester, a public sector worker and a life model – so the themes are pretty varied!”

On the evening of the launch, Lydia will read from the book, accompanied by musician, David Dhonau. Guests will then be invited to explore brand new accompanying paintings by renowned artist, Scott Bridgwood, also previewing as part of the same event.

Scott Bridgwood:

“Whilst exploring a number of political issues arising from the female form, in this exhibition my 30 years of life drawing experience has arrived at a fascination juncture. The paintings I’ve produced are not illustrations of the poems (though they share the same titles) but rather reactions to them. Some feature Lydia as the model whereas others take their lead from Botticelli’s ‘Arrival of Venus’ and my number of years living and painting in Rome.

The collaboration has forced me to step out of my comfort zone. People will ideally engage with the poems and the paintings together – but both equally stand alone. I can’t wait to see what people make of it all.”

Attendance at the preview/launch is free but booking advised. To do so, visit or call 0116 252 2455. Tickets will also be available on the door.

The Venus Papers exhibition will run from September 21 – October 28 2015.

A connected life-drawing and writing workshop (‘Writing the Body’) will run on October 3, 10am – 3.30pm. For further details and to book see or call 0116 252 2455.

Following this launch event, Lydia will tour with her book across ten UK dates for ‘Three the Hard Way – Part Two’ ( Two of these dates will also feature as part of Everybody’s Reading.

The Venus Papers Book Launch and Exhibition Preview is supported by Everybody’s Reading and Attenborough Arts.


Editor’s Notes.

For more information contact

Lydia Towsey:

and/or visit

About Lydia:
Lydia Towsey is a poet and performer exploring her Hungarian, Welsh/British heritage and experience of growing up in the multicultural city of Leicester. In The Venus Papers she draws on her experience as an artist’s life model to challenge the idea of the ‘passive nude‘ and discuss the way we look at ourselves, the world and each other. Lydia has an MA in Creative Writing, has won a decibel commission and been shortlisted for the Bridport prize. Previous commissions include: Freedom Showcase; Spoken Word All Stars Tour and Beyond Words. Her experiences include speaking at the House of Lords, performing at London’s 100 Club and presenting at Plymouth University’s Zombie Symposium. She has been published by The London Magazine, Hearing Voices and Magma Poetry, amongst others. Her work features in ‘10 Poems about Knitting’ (Candlestick Press) and Raving Beauties’ ‘Hallelujah for 50ft Women’ anthology (Bloodaxe Books). Her full length collection, The Venus Papers is published by Burning Eye Books this September. In October 2015, Lydia UK tours a new show ‘Three the Hard Way – Part 2’ ( alongside Jean ‘Binta’ Breeze & Shruti Chauhan. For more information see

About Scott:
Scott Bridgwood is a figurative painter, currently based in Leicester. He graduated from Chelsea Art College in Fine Art Painting in 1991. After exhibiting around London, at a range of venues including The ICA and Westminster Gallery, he moved to Rome where he painted and taught at the BCI (British Cultural Institute) for 8 years. Over the last several years he has exhibited and sold widely across the Midlands and won various prizes, including the prestigious Windsor and Newton, first place at Patchings and first prize at ‘Art in Lyddington’ and ‘the Sock Gallery, Loughborough. He is currently teaching life drawing at ‘EmbraceArts’ and Rawlins College. His work is on permanent display at: The Lost Gallery, Aberdeen, Scotland; Westend Gallery, Leicester and The Cank Street Gallery, Leicester, the Open Door Gallery, Market Harborough and The Ten2 Gallery, Hinckley.

About David:
David Dhonau is a highly experienced composer and facilitator. His debut album, as half of ambient duo ‘Aurelie’ was released in 2003 and received positive reviews from magazines such as Uncut, Muzik and The Wire (who declared that ‘quiet introspection has rarely been so panoramic or expansive’). As a seasoned live performer his music has graced numerous venues, including Covent Garden’s Royal Opera House. He has composed for theatrical productions and had music featured in BBC and Channel 4 television programmes.



The Venus Papers
Written and performed by Lydia Towsey
Directed by Jean ‘Binta’ Breeze

Part of Derby LIVE

Friday 3 June, 8pm
Assembly Rooms, Market Place, Derby DE1 3AH
Tickets £10/£8 concessions

What if Venus – the Roman Goddess of love and beauty – were to wash up in the 21st century? What would she do next?

Leicester based poet and performer, Lydia Towsey brings The Venus Papers to Derby LIVE for the premier of its full-length scratch performance.

Lydia Towsey has been writing and performing on the poetry and spoken-word scene for over 10 years. Her commissions include: Freedom Showcase, a show marking the 200th anniversary since the abolition of transatlantic slavery; and Beyond Words, a UK tour of four South African poets, including Keorapetse Kgositsile, the South African Poet Laureate. Lydia also comperes and coordinates WORD!, the longest-running poetry and spoken-word night in the Midlands and in 2009/2010 was the Artistic Director of the Lyric Lounge, a critically acclaimed poetry festival, currently on tour.

‘The Venus Papers’ is directed by the internationally acclaimed poet and performer, Jean ‘Binta’ Breeze. It combines poetry from Lydia with the music of Derby’s own Corey Mwamba, supported by Dave Dhonau on cello. With film visuals by Keith Allott and specially commissioned artwork by Scott Bridgwood, the show has a six metre scallop shell and more wardrobe than Narnia!

Lydia says, “In writing ‘The Venus Papers’ I’ve taken the 15th Century painting by Botticelli, of Venus arriving on her shell, as my starting point, then gone on to ask what would happen if she were to arrive here and now, on a UK beach in the 21st Century. In producing the material I’ve very much drawn on my own experiences – from drinking in bars and shopping in Primark, to previously having suffered from an eating disorder and currently being an artist’s life model. I’m privileged to be working with some exceptionally talented artists and am really excited by what we’ve created.’

The show combines myth, fairytale and contemporary women’s issues in a way that is sometimes humorous, often poignant and always tackling of big ideas in an accessible, playful, yet thought-provoking way.

“Lydia Towsey is an imaginative poet and performer who carefully crafts her work for both the page and the stage. Her work is a pleasure to read and a joy to watch,” commented local poet and playwright Kevin Fegan.

The performance will be followed by a post show discussion.


Editor’s notes

Music composed and performed by Corey Mwamba, featuring Dave Dhonau

Film visuals designed by Keith Allott

Artwork by Scott Bridgwood

Funded by Arts Council England and Charnwood Arts

With special thanks to Derby Live

For more information about Lydia Towsey please visit

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