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Ralph Reader

Gang Show History

The inspiration for Gang Shows comes from Ralph Reader who started Gang Show in London in 1932.

Ralph Reader once said, "... every night of the year, somewhere in the world a Gang Show is playing." What a staggering thought!

Northallerton Gang Show is proud to be a part of this worldwide phenomenon and also provide Scouts and Guides with the opportunity to take part in the performing arts.

Gang Show is only part of a wide range of training activities available to members of the Scout and Guide movements, but it is perhaps the one single activity that brings together so many friends and supporters.

Gang Show began back in London in 1932 under the title "The Gang's all Here". At that time Ralph Reader was one of the most sought after of all professional choreographers, yet he undertook to mix his professional and amateur activities, and he decided to write and direct the entire show. That decision, to put on a production to raise funds, was a move whic

Soon after the Gang Show began the war years came along. The 1939 Gang Show was stopped in mid rehearsals as the nation mobilised, Reader's future seemed set in a new direction. His counter intelligence duties for the RAF in France saw him posing as an entertainments officer, and he organised a Gang Show with ex-scouts who had been drafted in to the RAF. The RAF Gang Shows, as they came to be known, grew to 25 different units consisting of RAF recruits considered unsuitable for combat duties. Many of these unknowns - Peter Sellers, Dick Emery, Tony Hancock, - went on to become well-known entertainers.

The RAF Gang Shows played all over the world - wherever the troops went, the Gang Show's followed.

The 1950's saw the resurrection of the Scout Gang Shows. The concept spread throughout the world - Ireland, Hong Kong, Chicago and Australia to name a few. They were based on the London Gang Show in both concept and material.

The Gang Shows were like any other theatrical presentation for those times except the stars were unpaid and the girls were boys! Up until the 1960's Gang Show was a male domain.

The 18th of May 1982 was a day that marked the passing of a great man - one whose contribution to Scouting throughout the world is exceeded only that by Baden-Powell.

Ralph Reader is a theatre legend. In his lifetime he produced 19 shows on Broadway, 34 in London's West End and 50 shows in the Royal Albert Hall. He also wrote 15 books of plays, played in five films and composed over 400 songs.

So what about Northallerton Gang Show...?

© 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 Northallerton District Scout Council