The idea of Scouts and Guides producing a Gang Show was the brain-child of Ralph Reader, a Rover Scout Leader. In 1931 he produced the first show to raise funds. Since then many celebrities have taken part when they were scouts, including Sir Richard Attenborough and Spike Milligan.
The first Christchurch show was presented in the Priory Church Hall in 1960, it was more like a concert than a proper Gang Show and was produced by Freda Worsley, Terry Cropper and June Payne. The next two Gang Shows took place in 1963 and 1964 and were produced by Terry Cropper in the old Town Hall which stood where Saxon Square stands today. In those days the show took place in February and quite a number of the cast changed in the Town Scout Hut which stood between the Town Hall and the Mill Stream. On a few occasions they had to run through snow storms, over packed frozen snow wearing just their flimsy costumes. John Reed replaced Terry as Producer late in 1964, whilst rehearsing for the 1965 show and remained in that position until 1985.
In November 1966 Ralph Reader came to Christchurch to present the Gang with the Gang Show Award which had been awarded to them on an evening of great tension earlier in the year, on the last night of the 1966 show. That evening in Pontins Ballroom with Ralph and The Mayor, Councillor Eric Spreadbury, was a very proud moment for the entire Gang and a great advertisement for Scouting in Christchurch.
The last show in the old Town Hall was in 1967, then after a year’s break the show moved to Twynham School in 1969. With the additional space and better facilities at Twynham, the intimate atmosphere that developed over the years between the audiences and a very dedicated Gang, the show went from strength to strength with the hard working members of both cast and back stage deriving a great sense of achievement in addition to having fun.
In 1985 the Gang celebrated their Silver Jubilee with a reunion of past and present members at Pontins, a very successful show and a trip to our twin town of Aalen in Germany where they presented a specially edited version of the Jubilee Show.
After the 1985 show, John Reed handed over to Dave Ward who produced three shows, all at Twynham, before he passed the reins to Steve Potter in 1990. The show continued at Twynham until 1995 by which time it had become difficult to recruit sufficient members from the Scout Movement to form a Gang. The Show was not produced for two years and then an invitation was issued to the girls of the Scout and Guide movements in Christchurch to join the Gang for the 1998 show. The involvement of the girls meant that the Gang was back in business and for the 1998 show the venue was changed to the Regent Centre.
In 2014 Gang Show held there first outdoor show at braggers wood, the entire show was recorded:
In 2017 history was made at The Regent Centre, Christchurch, when at the end of the last performance, a marriage proposal was made. A very surprised beaver scout leader saw her boyfriend come onto stage. He proposed and she said Yes.