You may remember a show I did called Gambling on the Future…

In which each audience forecast the future, a vote was held on which forecast was most likely to happen, we passed the bucket around and then put that money on a bet for that forecast.

Well the results are in and I have to tell you we lost loads of money. Some bets were wildly wishful (Trump to convert to Islam) some were wilfully obscure (The word omelette to become a verb). However a number of audiences predicted that Jeremy Corbyn would still be leader of the Labour Party. So the balance ended up £3923 in credit.

At the time I suggested we should give any profits to the Alliance for Choice campaigning for abortion rights in Northern Ireland/The North, but they don’t seem to need our help, so hurrah! This leaves me with the question of what to do with the money?

Here’s the plan: The Chagos Islands are a series of islands under British colonial rule and when Mauritius became independent the UK kept the islands. The UK then kindly gave the USA use of the largest islands Diego Garcia to turn it into a military base and then expelled some 2,000 Chagosians from their home. This took place between 1968-73 so this is not some cutlas wielding empire of the past, it is now.

The UK has been ordered by various courts to hand back the islands to the islanders and allow them to return home. The UK has ignored this. 
However, a group of Chagosians living in the UK have formed a national football team, which is rather wonderful. They play in CONIFA, the Confederation of Independent Football Associations. This is from the CONIFA website, CONIFA “is the football federation for all associations outside FIFA.” The teams that play in the league include Palestinians, Kurds, Tibetans and the Western Saharwis, simply seen it is a league for stateless teams.

Chagos are playing in the CONIFA World Cup in June but they are short of a few bob for their football kit and they need £5000. So I have given them the winnings. The £3923 has gone to the Chagosian Football Association for their kit. We need to raise the remainder of the money, some £1077 , so I have with permission of the CFA created badges to support them. All profits go to them and we need to raise this before the year ends. 
I will be selling them on tour but you can show support for the team by buying a badge online.

I will keep you informed of any CFA fixtures.

As always lots of love Mark x

*CONIFA website describes themselves as “a global acting non-profit organisation that supports representatives of international football teams from nations, de-facto nations, regions, minority peoples and sports isolated territories.”

Podcast recording 11th March

Award winning writer, performer and provocateur Mark Thomas records the first in his new podcast series, “Brit-ish” Monday 11th March at 19:00

Venue:
Lush Studio Soho
67-71 Beak Street
London
W1F 9SW

Join Mark Thomas, Jonny and the Baptists AND the Commoners Choir (all 50 of them) for a once only show to create a new national anthem! Now more than ever we need a song that defines us, that celebrates us and one we can sing as if we are enjoying it rather than look like we are burying a local civic dignitary we hardly knew. Face it, the old anthem is so dull even the Queen doesn’t sing it and it’s about her!

Join Mark and the gang as they delve into the murky world of anthems and help compose new lyrics for our song of the future. No longer will we celebrate the Queen or bashing the Sots. Ours will be an anthem for hope and joy and a winning tune…
Imagine the Eurovision song competition meets Ian Dury, Mary Beard and a military band.

We have one night only to overturn centuries of tradition and establish ourselves as the voice of a modern Britain so join us in celebrating all that is great about being Brit-ish.

Tickets here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/brit-ish-with-mark-thomas-tickets-57809705385

EXTRA SPECIAL ONE-OFF GIG

Sunday, 17th March, 7.00pm to 7.30pm at The Museum Of Comedy, The Undercroft, St George Church, Bloomsbury Way. WC1A 2SR

Join Mark for one night only in the Museum of Stolen Things, the first ever pop museum of the nicked. The price is a fiver BUT you have to bring along something stolen to show us to get in. So with your help we will collectively create our museum, in a kind of anarchist version of the Antiques Roadshow.

You bring anything from a bookies pen to The Scream by Edvard Munch, be as creative or as pedestrian as you like.

We will be running a drop in evaluation service from 3pm at the Museum for anyone who wants to have their stolen items appraised but can’t make the show.

The show is a recording of Mark’s new podcast “Brit-ish” in which he explores our institutions, culture and history in a valiant and possibly vain attempt to find out how the bloody hell we got to this state.

Mark Thomas has been going a long time, won lots of awards and will be filching Mark Steel’s identity for the night.
Terms and Conditions.

*Anyone who does not bring along a stolen item will not be admitted and we will keep your fiver.
**All items will be returned at the end of the show unless we like them.
***The Museum of Stolen Things is only 3 minutes walk away from the British Museum.

THERE ARE A LIMITED NUMBER OF SEATS SO BE QUICK!

https://leicestersquaretheatre.ticketsolve.com/shows/873600399

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!