Eleanor Marx: The Jewess of Jews Walk

Sunday 15 April 2018

London Fringe - Shows

A fascinating piece of South-East London history, regarding the life and death of Eleanor Marx, is being brought to life by Sydenham-based professional theatre company Spontaneous Productions.
Eleanor Marx: The Jewess of Jews Walk at the Sydenham Centre

Image: Spontaneous Productions Theatre Company

The foremother of feminist socialism and the first woman to lead a union, Eleanor Marx, the daughter of Karl Marx, is a largely forgotten figure.

But Sydenham-based professional theatre company Spontaneous Productions is about to change that with their production of Lucy Kaufman's play, Eleanor Marx:

The Jewess of Jews Walk, scheduled to run from 18 April to 12 May at the Sydenham Centre.

Eleanor Marx (known to her friends and family as Tussy) was a remarkable woman in her own right and is one of South-East London's most illustrious past residents who lived and died at 7 Jews Walk in mysterious circumstances in 1898.

An early feminist writer, political activist, avid campaigner and translator of her father's writings, she was also responsible for bringing the first English translations of Ibsen and Flaubert to Britain.

A woman ahead of her time, Tussy was also an actor - the first to play Nora in Ibsen's groundbreaking play A Doll's House.

Many of today's Sydenham residents may be unaware this historical figure lived and died in the area, but Eleanor Marx was very excited to buy her first home there - her fascination with her Jewish heritage drawing her to the name of the road 'Jews Walk'.

Lucy Kaufman's powerful drama explores the final few months leading up to Eleanor's tragic death aged 43, by prussic acid poisoning.

Attending her body was her friend and physician Dr. Henry Shackleton (father of Sydenham's most famous resident, the polar explorer Ernest Shackleton).

The play is directed by Spontaneous Productions' artistic director, Jonathan Kaufman and features Sarah Whitehouse as Eleanor Marx (Tussy) and David Sayers as her common-law husband Dr. Edward Aveling.


Telling the true story of an inspirational woman and her tragic final days.

When Eleanor Marx moved to 7 Jews Walk, Sydenham, in 1895, she believed she would be happy there.

To Eleanor - a self-styled 'Jewess' - even the name of the road seemed a good omen.

Her hopes could not be further from reality.

Within months, Karl Marx's youngest daughter was suffering at the hands of her common-law husband Edward Aveling, with shocking consequences.

To this day, the dramatic events that unfolded at 7 Jews Walk are shrouded in mystery and doubt …

Now Sydenham's very own theatre company Spontaneous Productions is bringing this true story to life Upstairs at the Sydenham Centre, just around the corner from where Eleanor Marx and Edward Aveling lived out their final few years.

Lucy Kaufman's powerful new drama celebrates this remarkable woman - political activist, translator, early feminist and often neglected figure of historical importance - whilst tackling themes of love, loyalty, identity, betrayal, domestic abuse and the role of women in society.


Sarah Whitehouse - Eleanor "Tussy" Marx

Oliver Messenger - Edward Aveling

Kirsten Moore - Gerty Gentry

Simeon Oakes - Freddy Demuth

Robert Maskell - Dr Shackleton


Author: Lucy Kaufman
Composer: Deborah Garvey
Director: Jonathan Kaufman
Designer: Abby & Alice
Costume designer: Alexandra Mcarthur
Production: Spontaneous Productions


The Sydenham Centre
Sydenham Road
SE26 5EZ


From: Wednesday 18 April 2018

Closed: Saturday 12 May 2018


Standard: £16

Concessions: £12


Show website
ActDrop full listing for Eleanor Marx: The Jewess of Jews Walk
Eleanor Marx - Wikipedia

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