Showtime from the Frontline

In 2009 Mark Thomas walked the entire length of the Israeli separation barrier in the West Bank. His subsequent book, Extreme Rambling, sold 50,000 copies and the live show, Walking the Wall, toured the UK, Ireland and Australia before returning to the West Bank.

Mark has had an association with the Jenin Freedom Theatre (JFT) in Palestine since then and it is this partnership that forms the basis of his new project. Showtime from the Frontline will tell the story of how Mark and his team set out to run a comedy club for two nights in Jenin. Only to find it’s not so simple to celebrate freedom of speech in a place with so little freedom.

The JFT is not a typical theatre. A small compound within the confines of a refugee camp, JFT was established in 2006 as an antidote to the brutal oppression of the Israeli forces and its regular incursions into the camp. It has managed to train three classes of young actors despite the occupation and the assassination of its founder Juliano Mer Khamis in 2011. 
Working alongside Sam Beale, senior lecturer in comedy at Middlesex University, Mark spent a month running comedy workshops with students and kids from the camp. The results produced two remarkable nights of performances and a portrait of life in a refugee camp under occupation that is not normally seen or heard.
The show features two graduates of the JFT’s acting programme and aspiring comics, Faisal Abualheja and Alaa Shehada and is directed by Joe Douglas. It tours the UK from February to April 2018.

Mark and the FBU have had a long-term relationship of mutual support and solidarity. It is for this reason that Mark is putting on a special performance of Showtime from the Frontline for FBU members, family, friends and supporters. This will be on Friday 2 February at Toynbee Studios, 28 Commercial Street, London, E1 6AB, at 7.30pm. Tickets are free – email [email protected] to reserve.

For UK tour dates, check - there are special ticket deals for FBU members at some venues. Email [email protected] for details.

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