Bloody hell we’ve only gone and done it! 

Quick blog from Mark on new show.

Bloody hell we’ve only gone and done it!

Amidst  juggling visas, flights, rehearsals and touring the preview show this has been a hectic time and this is the first chance I’ve had to sit down take a deep breath and reflect on the project.

It has taken 4 years to create “Showtime from the Frontline” from the inception of the idea to the arrival of the performers onstage in front of an audience. Every step of the way has been worth it for us because it has been a brilliantly illuminating and challenging journey.

Our team set out to teach a comedy course in a refugee camp in the West Bank town of Jenin. Some of our students had been through the Jenin Freedom Theatre school and others had never performed before.

Our students – like all students – talk about what they know best, their family, their society, the pressures they feel and the forces they come up against. Our job in Jenin was never to tell people what to say but to teach performance techniques to help articulate and present their experiences in front of a live audience.

We are hugely proud of both what was achieved in Jenin and of this show here, in the UK. We delight and celebrate the freedom of expression throughout the show and its challenging of oppression in any form be it social and familial expectations, the Palestinian Authority or the Israeli occupation.

We believe we have created a joyous, uplifting and unique production that places the voices of young Palestinians centre stage.

At the risk of repeating myself I can not properly tell you how proud I am of their work.

We hope you enjoy it. Salut!

Two exciting new shows for the new year

Showtime from the Frontline

In 2018 Mark takes his recent attempt to set up a comedy club in a refugee camp in Palestine and turns it into a performance with two of the aspiring Palestinian comics, Fasial and Alaa. Showtime From The Frontline is the story of trying to be yourself in a place where everyone wants to put you in a box. It’s funny and surprising and it’s not like anything else you’ll see this year. Directed by Red Shed’s Joe Douglas, the tour starts in February.

Image © Lesley Martin 2017
Image © Lesley Martin 2017

With Faisal Abu Alhayjaa and Alaa Shehada  | Directed by Joe Douglas

Dodging cultural and literal bullets, Israeli incursions and religion, Mark Thomas and his team set out to run a comedy club for two nights in the Palestinian city of Jenin. Only to find it’s not so simple to celebrate freedom of speech in a place with so little freedom.

Jenin refugee camp, home to Jenin Freedom Theatre and to people with a wealth of stories to tell. Mark tells this story alongside two of its actors and aspiring comics Faisal Abu Alhayjaa and Alaa Shehada. A story about being yourself in a place that wants to put you in a box.

OurNHS@ 70

is an analysis – and celebration – of the NHS as it turns 70. Directed by Nick Kent, former artistic director at the Tricycle Theatre and director of Guantanamo and The Colour of Justice about the Stephen Lawrence inquiry, the show will premiere in Edinburgh in August. Beforehand, as part of the show, Mark is conducting a number of public interviews with key individuals. The first will be on 11th Dec at Battersea Arts Centre, London where Mark will be interviewing Sir Michael Marmot, author of Fair Society, Healthy Lives on health, wealth and why some people are doomed to live shorter lives. Tickets are £2.50.

 

New Badgers

Badgers?  Did I say Badgers?  I meant Badges, sorry.

Anyway we have some new ones (Badges, that is, it was too difficult to get the badgers into a jiffy bag and the RSPCA were staring at us).

In the store we have a couple of new ones that look a little like this:

 

The badges ( in the Daily mail masthead font) are another part of our Daily Mail assault, mimicking the ‘enemy of the people’ headline and the ‘Now finish off the saboteurs’ headline, we celebrate our opposition by reclaiming these glorious titles.

And anyway Badgers hate the Daily Mail as much as we do…