Comedy star Mark inspired by Palestinian refugees in latest show in Sheffield

When comedian and political activist Mark Thomas walked the length of the wall that Israel built along the West Bank of Palestine, the last thing he expected was a scene from Fame.

Friday, 23rd March 2018, 5:05 pm
Updated Friday, 23rd March 2018, 5:10 pm
Comedian Mark Thomas stars alongside Palestinian refugees in new show Showtime from the Frontline

He visited the Jenin Freedom Theatre in a refugee camp and the vibrancy and talent of the young people strongly reminded him of the film about the New York stage school.

The show recounts how Mark went back to run a three-week comedy workshop, which culminated in the newly-trained Palestinian comedians putting on a stand-up gig which created ripples through the community.

Mark tells this story alongside two of its actors and aspiring comics, Faisal Abualheja and Alaa Shehada.

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He said: “The form of the show is exciting and the way we deconstruct stuff is really exciting. I love that people come up and go, I didn’t expect that, I didn’t expect it to be that uplifting’.”

“We have an enormous amount of fun. Faisal was born in the first intifada (Palestinian uprising against Israeli occupation).

“This is his story and him doing stand-up and talking about the occupation. It’s actually about people’s lives under occupation.”

Showtime from the Frontline is at the University of Sheffield Drama Studio on March 29 and 30. Box office: