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Thursday, 23 October 2014

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Mark will bring biting political commentary to Cockermouth festival

Mark Thomas has made a name as one of the country’s most outspoken comedians.

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putting the boot in: Comedian Mark Thomas will headline this year’s Cockermouth Midsummer Festival with a performance at the town’s Kirkgate Centre

And his biting political commentary will form part of his headlining show at this year’s Cockermouth Midsummer Festival.

Thomas is best known for his Channel 4 political comedy show The Mark Thomas Comedy Product, later renamed as The Mark Thomas Product.

It earned him criticism from politicians but was seen by some as a vital investigative tool.

The show helped to highlight how ex-Tory Armed Forces Minister Nicholas Soames avoided inheritance tax and helped to disclose the then Environment Minister Michael Meacher’s property dealings in 2001.

Thomas also took part in a visit to the USA to investigate biological and chemical weapons as part of the programme Mark Thomas-Weapons Inspector, for Dispatches on Channel 4.

As part of his political activism he co-curated an art exhibition called Coca Cola Nazi Adverts in 2004, which was a collective and growing work on the theme of conflicts with the multi-national company.

He was awarded with a United Nations International Services Association Global Human Rights Defender award in the same year.

In 2006 he began a series of demonstrations around Parliament Square, protesting against the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act legislation and anti-terror laws.

In 2008 Thomas was made an honorary doctor by Bradford University for his services to peace and his contribution as a comedian, political activist, presenter and investigative journalist.

He was first catapulted into the spotlight as a guest comic on BBC 1 show The Mary Whitehouse Experience and later appeared on Saturday Zoo hosted by Jonathan Ross.

He also made appearances on Have I Got News For You and presented the highly successful Radio 1 comedy talk show Loose Talk with Kevin Day.

Thomas will tell the story of his challenging 600-mile hike along the wall which separates Israel from the West Bank, when he appears at the Kirkgate Centre on Friday, June 22, at 8pm.

Other acts set to appear at the festival, which runs from June 15 to 23, will include Spike Theatre’s comical send-up of the original Olympic Games of Ancient Greece, which will be held from 8pm, on June 15, at The Kirkgate Centre.

There will be something for children in the form of stories from Tutti Frutti Theatre Company and York Theatre Royal at the Kirkgate Centre on June 19 from 4.15pm.

Cockermouth Carnival will be held throughout the town on Saturday, June 16, from 1.30pm.

The Olympic torch relay will pass through the town’s Main Street on Thursday, June 21, which will be followed by a Solstice picnic in the Memorial Gardens from 4.30pm.

The festival will come to a close on June 23 with Cockermouth Live! which will see 40 groups of performers in nine venues around town.

Log on to www.cocker mouthfestival.org for more details.

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