Making his Mark on rich and powerful

Mark Thomas. Picture: Steve Ullathorne.
Mark Thomas. Picture: Steve Ullathorne.
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Comedian Mark Thomas is committing 100 Minor Acts of Dissent – and he’s keen to hear from Sheffielders with ideas.

Mark is well known for his political activism and often uses humour to get across a serious point against governments and big organisations – and his latest tour, 100 Minor Acts of Dissent, is based on the same philosophy.

He said: “My favourite quote is an Ethiopian proverb: The king passes the poor man, who bows and silently f*rts. If all you can do is f*rt, at least do it.”

So how is the list going on?

“By the end of December I’ll have done number 55. I’m around 40 now. Some of them are ongoing and won’t be completed until the end of the year.

“I did one this morning. They’re just little things but they do put a skip in your day. I post back to junk mailers.

“I send stuff through that’s just weird to make them suffer. I posted back a financial advisor half a box of Alpen.”

He is well clued up and has noticed that Curzon cinemas are planning to come to Sheffield city centre.

Annoyed at their attitude to industrial relations in refusing to deal with unions, he teamed up with the entertainment workers’ union Bectu todemand a better deal for staff.

He went to the Curzon cinema in Soho, London and rearranged the letters on the canopy outside to read give us fair pay – recognise the union.

Mark said: “It was up for three hours and management didn’t notice.

“It’s part of the culture of dissent. Workers are saying we won’t accept zero-hour contracts. Recognise the union, we want fair wages. That’s completely right and just. ”

Activists also protested inside the cinema with special glow in the dark placards during the adverts. They won applause from cinema-goers.

Mark points out: “Nothing happens without people withdrawing their consent to the status quo.

“It’s not something formal and organised, it’s all of us doing our bit.”

He decided to do something more light-hearted after his show, Bravo Figaro, which paid tribute to his working-class dad and his love of opera.

He also did a programme on the subject for Radio 4 and persuaded Royal Opera House singers to perform for his dad, who was dying of a degenerative disease.

The programme aired the day his dad died. Mark said he was only able to perform the show three times after that, it was too emotional.

He said: “I’m really, really lucky to have been able to do that show. Now it’s time to mess about.”

If you have ideas, contact him at

The show is at Sheffield City Hall on Monday. Box office: 0114 278 9789 or