Stirling & Trossachs District Scouts

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Stirling Gang ShowWhat is the Stirling Gang Show?

Stirling Gang Show came into existence in 1985 and put on its first production in spring 1986. It became a recognised Gang Show in 1989 on its first adjudication by The Scout Association's assessors. As a recognised Show we have to maintain standards. We are also entitled to wear the red scarf with the GS emblem bisected by our own name. It is mounted jointly by Scouts and Guides in Stirling and the surrounding areas.


2018 Stirling Gang Show

The auditions for the Main Gang are on Sunday 10th and Sunday 17th of September. Cubs who will have moved to the Scout troop at the time of the Show should audition on these days, as they will be part of the Main Gang. Cub and Brownie audtions will follow on Saturday 11 November. Section leaders will be sent full details of the audtions. Rehearsals for the main production numbers are held on Sunday afternoons in the Viewfield Church Hall in Stirling. Rehearsals for many of the smaller numbers are held on Tuesday evenings in the Guide Hall in Glebe Avenue, Stirling.

The Show is in the week beginning 5th March 2018 at the MacRobert Arts Centre, Stirling.  It is anticipated that on one night there will be a performance for specially invited disabled/disadvantaged groups. Over 100 local Scouts and Guides will be on stage with more than 50 helpers behind the scenes.

Tickets for the public performances will be available in late autumn 2017. A booking form can be obtained on


Ralph Reader C.B.E.

In 1932, Ralph produced the first production in the Scala Theatre, London of what was to become known as THE GANG SHOW. It was put on to raise funds and was written and produced by "A Holborn Rover".

William Henry Ralph Reader (to give him his full name) used this nom-de-plume as he was heavily involved with the theatre and he wanted his Scout production involvement to remain anonymous. However, with the success and sell out of this production and successive annual Gang Shows it wasn't long before everyone knew that Ralph was the Rover concerned.

Ralph was born on 25 May 1903 in Somerset. Before he was nine years old he was orphaned and left to be brought up by various Aunts and Uncles. He became a Scout in 1914. He worked for a cement company until he sailed to America in 1920. He hoped to enter show business but took several jobs until he "made it". He shared digs with Jack Oakie and George Raft and together they joined the chorus of off-Broadway shows and took part in Vaudeville. Slowly, Ralph learnt stage craft and worked on his dance routines. He slowly became established as a performer until he got his big break - to choreograph a Broadway musical. It was a great success.

Ralph was now in demand on both sides of the Atlantic as he choreographed and staged many major productions some of which he also performed in. In all he was associated with 32 productions on Broadway and 34 in London. He also worked at Pinewood film studios. For may years, Ralph staged the Royal Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall.

He directed or worked with many stars including Laurence Olivier, Noel Coward, Vivien Leigh, Alec Guinness, Vera Lynn and Marlene Dietrich.

During the war, he joined the Royal Air Force as an intelligence officer. As a cover for his activities, a Gang show unit was set up to provide entertainment for the troops. Eventually there were 20 units playing throughout the world and included such well-known names as Peter Sellers, Dick Emery and Harry Worth. For his services to the Royal Air Force, Ralph was appointed an M.B.E. For his services to Scouting he was later appointed a C.B.E.

In 1950, the London Gang Show started up again. It became a national event which sold out long before the first performance each year. Eventually television came along and broadcast excerpts which were always high in the ratings. Some future performers appeared first in the London Shows such as Roger Rees and Jim Davidson.

On several occasions, the Queen visited the London Gang Show performances. The Show holds the unique distinction of being the only amateur production to appear at three separate Royal Command Performances.

Ralph retired in 1974 but continued to tour the world visiting his many friends and the many Gang Shows set up in every corner of the globe. As he once said, "Every night of every year, somewhere in the world, a Gang Show is playing".

Sadly, in May 1982, Ralph passed away. He left a legacy of memories and music that will rightly keep his name alive through generations of Scouts.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 19 April 2017 13:49