Gang Show was written and produced for the first time by a Rover Scout, Ralph Reader in 1932, in London. Ralph produced the show to raise money for a swimming pool. Thus began a tradition which is still going strong in many parts of the world today. Gang Shows are produced all through the United Kingdom and Europe, in North America, Asia, New Zealand and Australia.
Performers including Peter Sellers, Dick Emery, Tony Hancock, Harry Secombe and Max Bygraves were involved in the Show early in their careers, and they were instrumental in building the Gang Show tradition. After the Second World War, London Gang Show claimed the honour of being the first amateur show to give a Royal Command Performance. Even today, Cumberland Gang Show has had former cast members in the production of the musical sensation"Les Miserables", "Phantom of the Opera" and performing on stage and T.V. in other productions.
Amateur Theatricals was always an interest of Baden-Powell's, from school through his army life and then in Scouting. In B.P.'s "Outlook" he says "Amateur Theatricals should be a part of every Scout's training" - Gang Show is a way in which a Scout can receive that training.
B.P said that his Headmaster at Charterhouse School, Dr Haig Brown "Looked upon play acting as a useful means of education... and so he encouraged, in fact almost ordered theatricals among us". Later, B.P. credited his acting at Charterhouse to his success in life. (From "Two Lives of a Hero")
B.P wrote to Ralph Reader about the London Gang Show ...
"I cannot get over my joy at seeing the 'Gang'. I am not merely thinking of the acting, good though that was, but of the splendid teamwork of the whole lot. Having myself, in my time, had the job of organising theatrical performances, I know pretty full well all that this means, so I can claim that it is no empty phrase on my part, when I say 'Well Done'. I would like to add my own very grateful thanks for this added reputation you have gained for the Scout Movement. It must go on and on".
In the years since then, the Gang Show has not failed our Chief - we have, and will, go on and