What 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.
2023 Stirling Gang Show
The next Stirling Gang Show will take place on the 27th to 30th September 2023 at the MacRobert Arts Centre.
Members of the Scout and Guide movements who will be aged 9 years and 6 months by 23rd September 2023 can join the Main Gang. Younger members wil will be 7 by 23rd September can join the Junior Gang.
Scouts and Guides, Explorer Scouts, Ranger Guides and Leaders are invited to come along to one of the Gang Show Experience Days on either Sunday 5th March or 12th March from 2p.m. to 3.30 in the Queen Street Scout Hall. Find out what it is like to be in the Stirling Gang Show where you can have fun, gain skills and meet new friends. No uniform, but wear soft shoes (no heels, please!)
Attending one of these sessions does not commit you to joining but you will have the opportunity to enrol if you wish, and we hope you will join.
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.
Junior Gang The Experience day for the Junior Gang is Saturday 13th May 4p.m. to 5.30p.m. Rehearsals are held on Saturday afternoons iin the Queen Street Scout Hall .
Tickets for the public performances will be available in late Spring 2023.
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.