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Final curtain could fall on Hedge End Gang Show
IT took to the stage nearly 50 years ago but now the final curtain could fall on the Hedge End Gang Show if more volunteers are not found soon.
The next production might be two years away but planning has to get under way now. And time is running out.
That is why Gang Show chiefs have issued a “Hedge End Gang Show Needs Your Help” SOS.
And they warn: “Without your help Hedge End Gang Show will not continue.”
If the Gang Show folds it would end a tradition that stretches back to March 1964 when the 13th Itchen North Scouts decided to start up a Hedge End Gang Show and call it Birds of a Feather.
A year later the Scouts expanded the cast and asked Hedge End Guides to join the Gang Show. It became known as “Scouguids”, calling the show Out Of The Bag.
This year’s special production marked the Hedge End Gang Show’s golden anniversary. But they are hoping that the 51st show will take to the boards in 2015.
Helpers are needed across the board, including producers, choreographers, wardrobe assistants, admin/fundraisers and stage crew.
Creative ideas are wanted for show themes and songs and more people are needed to spread the load of costuming all the cast.
Gang show chiefs would also welcome volunteers with a business head who can help with admin and finance as well as raise funds and sponsors for the show.
Stage crew members are also needed to design, build and paint sets and make scenery and props.
History of the Gang Show:
IN 1931, Ralph Reader, then a Rover Scout who was trying to make his mark in theatre on both sides of the Atlantic, was asked to write a Scout based amateur variety show to help raise money for a swimming pool at Downe Scout Camp (now a Scout Association National Activity Centre).
At first the show did not have a title, but during a rehearsal break, Reader asked a cast member if everyone was ready and the the response was “Aye, aye Skip, the gang’s all here”.
The first production, under the title The Gang’s All Here ran between October 30 and November 1, 1932 at the Scala Theatre in Central London.
In 1934 the show became known as The Gang Show and the song Crest of A Wave was performed for the first time, becoming the show’s international anthem.
In 1937 the London Gang Show became the first amateur production to have a Royal Command Performance (an honour that was repeated in 1957 and 1964).
A feature film called The Gang Show, starring Ralph Reader and The Gang, was premiered at London’s Lyceum Theatre and New York in December 1938.
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