The inspiration for Gang Show comes from the late Ralph Reader who started Gang Show in 1932.
Ralph once said '...every night of the year, somewhere in the world a Gang Show is playing.' What a staggering thought!
Handsworth Gang Show is proud to be a part of this worldwide phenomenon, providing Scouts and Guides with the opportunity to take part in the performing arts.
Gang Show began back in London in 1932 under the title 'The Gang's all Here'
Soon after the Gang Show began the war years came along. The 1939 Gang Show was stopped in mid-rehearsals as the nation mobilised. Ralph'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. 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.
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.
Ralph died in 1982, but his everlasting legacy is the Gang Show. 2007 saw Gang Shows celebrating their 75th year. So when you come to see us, or any one of the thousands of Gang Shows happening around the world, enjoy the tribute to this great man, his unmistakable style of writing and the talent of the Scouts and Guides on stage in Birmingham and the world over - proving that the greatest entertainment the world has ever known continues to keep 'riding along on the crest of a wave', whenever, wherever, a Gang Show is performed.
As Ralph wrote ' you can't go wrong with a song and the sound of voices...'