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History of the Gosport Gang Show

Just a short potted history to go on with, we intend to fill it out gradually ......

After the first 7 years at the Thorngate Theatre, and then 20 years at Brune Park School, in 2006 Gosport Gang Show moved to the Ferneham Hall, in so doing it broke all previous box office records and started a new lease of life. But when and how did it all start?

It developed from a local Scout group gang show which became so popular that the group that created it, 1st Lee-on-The-Solent, could not sustain it’s growth, the natural progression was to involve the whole of the Scout District. That was in 1978. Since then, with the exception of 1995, there has been an annual production.

In 1980, Ralph Reader, the founder of Gang Shows, visited the show and the following year Gosport received the coveted Gang Show Emblem, awarded only to shows that reach a nationally recognised standard. An honour this show has maintained to this day.

In 1987 and again in 2003, The Chief Scout of the United Kingdom visited the show, and over the years the show has had many international visitors including those from Wales, Scotland, Holland, Switzerland and even Australia and Canada. Also In 2003 marking its’ silver jubilee, the Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire was the guest of honour at the ever popular and quite unique Annual Gala Evening

The gang were ‘In concert’ in 1995. A one off concert, held in a sell-out Ferneham Hall! This marked the start of a most spectacular venture. Not only to perform its’ home show in February 1996 but perform the Show in Schaffhausen in Switzerland in May of the same year, as guests of the local Swiss Scouts. It proved highly successful, and to date, has been the largest undertaking the gang has attempted. It was also, to be precise, the first time the Gang performed in a professional venue.

As a direct result of that venture the Gang were asked if it were possible to bring a show to Malta. As the gang was looking for some way to celebrate their Silver Anniversary, it seemed an opportunity not to miss. So ‘The Malta Project’ was born and in 2003, 80 members flew to Malta to perform two shows in St Aloysius College, Birkirkara and to share a week of activities with the Maltese Scouts.

Over the years the Gang has peformed quite a few one night stands in many other venues for charity, scouting promotional and celebration events - even in a village hall, and used our transport, (2 coaches and a truck) as changing rooms.

Perhaps the most notorious of these occasions was a performance, in collaboration with the Basingstoke Gang Show, in the middle of Middle Wallop Air Field, on a stage made from scaffold planks, performing to 3100 Scouts in a camp to “Meet the chief” in 1985. There, if they turned the lights up, the sound went off, (and vice versa) and the dressing room was a marquee.

That event was only to be surpassed when the Gang led the Sunrise Ceremonies at the Hampshire Centenary Jamboree in 2007 where the participants/audience reached over 7000 fellow scouts and the dressing room was still a marquee!

After that the Ferneham Hall might as well be the Albert Hall and porta-cabins are sheer luxury!

This is a show with great traditions, which are added on year by year, 2010 will be no exception.

Return soon we shall add some photos and other snipetts - such as 'A funny thing happend on the way to the gang show'

Hey Gang we're in good company !!!!

Are these the dressing rooms at The Paris Opera House ?

and are Phil and John there too ?


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