On 22 October, Mark Thomas will be showing his award-winning show Cuckooed online. The show will be introduced by Mark and followed by a Q&A session with Mark and guests.

Tickets are £5, and if you use this link, and 20% of ticket sales will go to Counselling for Social Change to support our free counselling for activists.

About Cuckooed

A comedy of betrayal. Mark Thomas tells his true story of how Britain’s biggest arms manufacturer (BAE Systems) came to spy on a comedian. A tale of hubris, planes, demos and undercover deceit told by the award-winning performer. 

Fifteen years ago an activist and close friend of Mark’s was exposed as a spy for BAE Systems infiltrating the movement. Now Mark wants to find him and has some questions to ask. This is a true story. The show uses interviews from friends, colleagues, activists and journalists to examine the impact of betrayal.

It is a personal and timely tale that tries to unearth what it means to be spied upon by a corporation under the sanction of the state.

Personal experience

Emily Apple, one of the founders of Counselling for Social Change, has personal experience with Martin Hogbin, the spy at the centre of Cuckooed and is one of the people interviewed in the show.

Emily stated:

I loved Martin. He was one of my best friends. I was pregnant when we first found out that he was a spy. We were so close, I had asked him to be the secular godfather to my unborn child.

She continued:

The pain of that betrayal still sits deep within me. It took me a long time to accept that Martin was a spy and made a myriad of excuses for him. Remember we found out before the undercover policing scandal and the just the idea that Martin could be something he wasn’t, was just, unbelievable.

The feeling that someone you knew and loved was a spy is sickening. I still feel physically sick when I write about Martin. I suffered from PTSD as a result of not only his betrayal, but also the betrayal of other undercover cops I knew. It’s a never-ending grief.

The NHS wasn’t able to help my PTSD. Mental health services have been cut to the bone. And the six sessions of cognitive behavioural therapy I was offered, couldn’t even scratch the surface.

Luckily I had some compensation from an unlawful arrest so I was able to afford private counselling. But my experiences also mean I’m passionate about being able to offer activists free counselling with qualified counsellers.

But it’s not all trauma…

As usual plenty of laughs, some weird characters, documentary styles, probably a tear or two and the vague possibility that Mark might get beaten up in the making of it as he tries to find out if he wants revenge or if he can forgive a friend.

The show won an Edinburgh Fringe First Award, the Amnesty Freedom of Expression Award and ran for a month off Broadway in New York.

So come along (virtually) on 22nd October, support activist counselling, and watch a brilliant and compelling show.