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Gloucester Gang Show celebrates 60 years

Gloucester > Entertainment > Theatre

Author: Thomas Hadfield, Posted: Monday, 23rd March 2020, 09:00

The Gloucester Gang Show The Gloucester Gang Show

The Gloucester Gang Show is a traditional variety performance with a history stretching back 60 years.

Presented by Scouts and Guides of the Gloucester District, the Gang Show features performers of all ages, and is a format that originated in the 1930s thanks to a man named Ralph Reader.

“He wrote, produced and directed the first Gang Show in London in 1932,” explained Gloucester Gang Show cast member and PR officer Sam Hill.

“At that time he was one of the most sought after of all professional choreographers, yet the decision to put on a production to raise funds, was a move which would affect his career and change his life forever.”

Reader is something of a theatre legend, having in his lifetime produced shows on Broadway, in London's West End and at the Royal Albert Hall.

His concept of Scout Gang Shows spread across the world and material from the original London show is still used today.

Sam continued: “Gloucester Gang Show, while still including original material from Ralph Reader, is also is giving the ‘Gang Show’ name a fresh and modern approach as to ensure that Gang Show will live on through many more generations and decades.”

Sam, who is originally from Abbeydale, has been part of the Gloucester Gang Show for 17 years, having first joined when she was just nine years-old.

“I first became involved because my older cousins had been in the show before me and I’d watched it since I was very young,” she said.

“I was one of those children who was always singing, dancing and putting on ‘shows’ with my younger sisters – I couldn’t wait until I was old enough to join the cast!

“Once I was involved I just couldn’t leave! Now I’m a member of the cast, part of the fundraising team and do some PR.”

And that’s a common story with much of the support team around the show having started out as cast members.

Whilst none of the current cast or crew were a part of the first production 60 years ago, Vice Chair Alan Faulkner comes close having been involved since 1963.

Sam says there are plenty of plans in place to celebrate the special anniversary.

“For our 60th year we are looking back at some of our favourite scenes and are reproducing them.

“Past members of the Gang will be invited to join us on stage to sing ‘Together’ so we’re encouraging people to wear their red neckers!

“We have 47 junior cast members and 36 senior cast members, as well as 60 crew, front of house, scenery builders, musicians and more!”

Rehearsals began in September for the show which will take place at the Bacon Theatre in Cheltenham.

Sam says that the experience of being involved in a Gang Show is beneficial to kids and adults alike.

She added: “The show aims to give young people an experience of all aspects of performance, from song and dance to comedy and tragedy.

“This process has proven to be exceptional at helping young people develop their confidence, self-belief, inter-personal relationships, social skills, commitment and sense of community, not to mention their performance skills.

“Not only does the show excel in these qualities but being involved with the show provides amazing opportunities. For example, in 2015, some of the Gang were lucky enough to sing at Abbey Road Studios to record vocals for the Rugby World Cup single!”

The Gloucester Gang Show has been postponed due to current Government advice and will be rearranged for later in the year.

For updates and more information visit www.glosgangshow.co.uk

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