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At the District AGM in May 2014 our Director, Phil, was asked to give a presentation on Gang Show. This is what he said:



In 2015 Letchworth and Baldock District Gang Show celebrates it’s 50th show



So, What is Gang Show?


A question I am often asked but usually by members of the general public and the simple


answer is a variety show performed by members of the scouting and guiding community.


That’s the simple answer – but you as members of this community already knew this.


You need a deeper answer and to get that deeper answer you actually need a different


Question.




What does Gang Show have to offer?


The three performances in March are the end product of 12 months planning, 6 months


cast rehearsing, 5 months of music editing, 4 months of costume making, 3 months


scenery and props making, 2 weeks of dress rehearsals, 1 week theatre preparation..........


and not a partridge or a pear tree in sight.


The cast rehearsals consist of a maximum of two hours every Saturday from October to


March, except for special occasions such as the all dayer and run throughs, in which the


cast are taught all about the presentation of a variety show. They learn songs – some of


which they need no introduction to and some they have never heard of before – how to


add movement to performances, the art of delivering speech either as a serious item or a


sketch and how to interact with each other. Basically they learn how to perform in a full


theatrical environment and despite all that we throw at them (or maybe because of it) they


come back week after week, and some even come back year after year.


 


The actual performances could be considered the reward for all the hard work during the


previous six months rehearsal and judging by the huge grin on the faces of this years cast


I could understand why you would think that. However there is a sense of pride there as


well, because practically every member of the cast has contributed in some way other than


the performance - a song suggestion, a sketch, a dance move – no matter what it was it


was their suggestion and it was included! They have attended rehearsals and achieved


recognition from their piers (the audience) having laughed at a joke they performed,


applauded a poem they have read, and ‘aaahhh’ed after a solo they have sung. All this is


achieved through rehearsals that not only teach the cast the importance of working as a


team, but also patience (having to wait for a mic to become free), trust in others (having


costumes and props ready etc), discipline of being in the right place at the right time (could


this be time keeping as well?) amongst other things including having fun.


 


There is also another side to GS. Somehow it seems to act as a confidence booster. A


couple of examples of this are cast members that at their first rehearsal remained firmly


planted behind mums skirt, yet somehow seem to be volunteering for solo parts in the


following years production, cast members that have barely been recognized by classmates


are suddenly invited to other cast members birthday parties, performers having unknown


health problems getting support from both cast and production members through worrying


times (and this goes for Adults as well). A senior cast member who has now joined “a


junior Am Dram group” recently posted on facebook (other social media networks are


available) that his performance in this Am Dram group was only possible due to the


confidence boosting of appearing in Gang Show.


 


Yet on the three performances these items go practically unnoticed because the


production crew have achieved all this with a sense of fun. There are deliberately no titles


amongst our team purely and simply because we are ”a team” and it is considered that the


cast are a major part of that team. Yes there are team members who have specialist skills


but that doesn’t stop the director carving question marks out of insulation, a rehearsal


assistant handing out mics, the lighting operator hanging backdrops and at the end of the


day the teams job is to make the cast look as good as possible and with our on going


policy of “No auditions – everybody welcome” we continue to let the cast shine regardless


of ability


 


So yes Gang Show is a variety show performed by members of the scouting and guiding


community, but it really is a lot more than that


 


 - it’s fun...it is


 


and even that strap line, now a major part of Gang Show’s branding, was given to us by a


cast member.