• Mar 7, 2020 from 7:15pm to 8:15pm
  • Location: The Performance Lab, Sheffield Hallam University, Arundel Gate.
  • Latest Activity: Feb 27

Steel Valley Beacon presents The Marxist in Heaven, a play for the National Theatre Youth Connections programme. Join us at the Performance Lab for this exciting production, written by our very own Hattie Naylor and directed by SHU Acting and Performance graduate Mandy Aitken. The performance will be followed by a short discussion with the playwright. 

Tickets are £5. Under 18s and SHU students get in free. 

Valerie arrives in Heaven to find all is not well. Middle management have let power go to their heads. Disco dancing, hair dressing, sparkly dresses and serious political issues all in 55 minutes!


The Marxist in Heaven is a play that does exactly what its title page says it’s going to do. The eponymous protagonist ‘wakes up’ in paradise and once they get over the shock of this fundamental contradiction of everything they believe in…..they get straight back to work….and continue their lifelong struggle for equality and fairness for all….even in death.   Funny, playful, provocative, pertinent and jam-packed with discourse, disputes, deities and disco dancing by the bucketful, this upbeat buoyant allegory shines its holy light on globalization and asks the salient questions – who are we and what are we doing to ourselves?.....and what conditioner do you use on your hair?

Steel Valley Beacon is an amateur theatre company using professional practices and has more than 80 actors. 

"Steel Valley Beacon is 21 years old. We pride ourselves on offering training in the performing arts to anyone who comes and joins and is prepared to worked hard, abide by our values and pay a small membership fee. We have two professional Directors. The company includes adults and children, we perform musical theatre shows, pantomimes and devise our own work. We pride ourselves on our ability to provide public performance events that our community flock to see." https://www.facebook.com/SteelValleyBeaconArts/

Mandy Aitken has been Artistic Director at Steel Valley Beacon for 6 years after over 30 years performing in a range of amateur companies. Believing that the training involved to create a performance is life enhancing Mandy enrolled at SHU in 2016 to do a BA in Performance for Stage and Screen, then a year later she completed the MA in Performance Practices. "My practice is as an Amateur Theatre Director, to teach the skills needed to produce shows of a high standard and bring to communities isolated from main stream theatre a challenging variety of shows." Mandy's dissertations explored the role of amateur theatre and its contribution to the work of theatre in this country, challenging the notion that amateur means unprofessional. Her work with SVBA focus around training young and old to express themselves, to feel safe to use their imaginations and confident enough to share their work as part of the company. In 2014 SVBA had 12 members, today there are around 100 actors and production team members. Mandy has been married for 35 years, is mum to 4 children and grandma to Bella and Benji. For 10 years she worked as a Community Organiser with the Citizen Organising Foundation. 

Hattie Naylor's credits include The Night Watch(Manchester Royal Exchange) 2016, Going Darkwith Sound&Fury (Fuel/Young Vic) 2014, As the Crow Flies(Pentabus) 2017, and Bluebeard (Gallivant/Bristol Old Vic) 2013.

Ivan and the Dogs(Soho Theatre/ATC) was nominated in the Olivier Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Theatre, and won the Tinniswood Award in 2010. The film adaptation of the play: Lek and the Dogs, directed by Andrew Kötting, premiered at the London Film Festival 2018.

Other theatre productions include her gender swapping The Three Musketeersfor The Dukes, nominated for National Theatre Awards 2018, Weighting with Extraordinary Bodies, national tour 2015/16, What am I worth,Extraordinary Bodies 2018 national tour and National Theatre Riverstage, and The Puppeteerwith Blind Summit, international and national tour 2018/19. Her work as a librettist includes Picard in Spacewith Will Gregory (Goldfrapp) for the Electronica Festival at the Southbank 2012 and Radio 3. She has written extensively for BBC Radio 4 notably: Lullaby 2019, The Diaries of Samuel Pepysnominated Best Radio Drama 2012, and The Aeneidnominated Best Radio Adaptation, BBC Audio awards 2013.

Work in development: includes a new play for the integrated circus company Extraordinary Bodies, Brewster’s Millionsfor Storyhouse, Bluebeardwith Teatro di Roma and for television The Diaries of Samuel Pepys.

Hattie studied dance at Nottingham Trent University before going on to study Fine Art at the Slade School of Art.

She is an associate artist of Blind Summit and Extraordinary Bodies and is a Senior Lecturer at Sheffield Hallam University. She has taught internationally.

For more information about our BA (Hons) Degree in Acting and Performance visit our website.

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