Heavenly Acts photograph

Heavenly Acts: aspects of performance through an interdisciplinary lens

Visit the website

Visit the Twitter profile

Heavenly Acts is an international and interdisciplinary network of scholars, practitioners and performers exploring meaning through the multidimensional world of religious performance.

It brings together ethnomusicologists, sociolinguists, educationalists, theatre studies academics, Biblical Studies scholars, anthropologists and social psychologists.

Four events are planned, two in Sheffield, one in London and one in Canada. These will be a combination of academic presentations and discussions alongside practitioner/performer workshops and a public-facing performance in each location. There will also be a website, newsletters and online webinars during the lifetime of the project.

Heavenly Acts

The Acquisition of Performance Practices in Faith Settings

An International Symposium

Friday 11th & Saturday 12th September, 2015 at The University of Sheffield, England (ICOSS)

The network’s first symposium focused on how performers acquire, or are socialised into, the competencies, identities and subjectivities needed for religious performance and included presentations by network members and, in liaison with local partners, a showcase performance and faith event.

A sample presentation from the symposium can be found here.

Download the the programme for the symposium here.

Heavenly Acts! Devotional Performances

Friday 11 September, 2015

 Heavenly Acts! Devotional Performances was a musical and spoken word event complementing the work of September's academic symposium. It was offered as free event to the public and was well attended by local people and friends and families of the performers.

It was an evening to remember blending music, voice, poetry and song. All of the acts were local to the region and many featured aspects of the devotional practices of the participants themselves.

The line-up for the concert was as follows:


Firth Park Muslim Boys' Choir
Shahe Mardan Qawalli ensemble (South Asian devotional music from Sheffield)

Spoken Word

Shonaleigh - drut'syla (Jewish/Yiddish storyteller from Dronfield)

Alan Williams & Aida Foroutan (the poetry of Rumi from Buxton)

Physical performance (spoken word and/or music)

Whirling Dervishes (Arshad from Sheffield)

You can find the Devotional Performances poster here.

Heavenly Acts

Heavenly Acts II
Language, Performance and Identity in Faith Contexts
An International Symposium

Monday 21st & Tuesday 22nd March, 2016 at The University of Roehampton, England


The network’s second symposium, hosted by the University of Roehampton, focused on the complex and dynamic relationship between language, faith, performance and identity and included presentations by network members and, in liaison with local partners, a showcase spoken word event.

Download the Heavenly Acts II Poster

Education Matters

Education Matters is the School of Education Blog, dedicated to sharing the most current ideas from our Research Centres.

Visit the Education Matters blog