How We Started


It was back in 1979 that Reg Hughes and Ann Sloman got together and thought of the idea to start up a Gang Show. This idea brought a tremendous response and so a committee was formed which brought about the first Show on 28th February 1980. Seven inexperienced producers produced this first Show venturing into something that no-one would have guessed would have been such a success.

Putting on a Show of this kind with no stage experience, money or costumes was overcome after much hard work with the recruiting of a great many more people for backstage work, etc. And, of course, the success would not have been brought about without the tremendous enthusiasm from the youngsters. Guides and Brownies joined Scouts and Cubs and their Leaders from all over North Devon.

The Show became more and more popular, not only with youngsters keen to take part but also with the audiences. Each year it improved and in 1985, on the third year of trying, was awarded the Gang Show emblem. To receive this coveted award, the Show was adjudicated by theatre experts within the Scout Association, and it reflected the efforts of not only the cast, but the stage crews, orchestra, producers, technicians, costumiers and front-of-house teams, among many others and had to reach a standard in performance set by the founder of Gang Shows, Ralph Reader. This emblem is now sewn on all Gang Show red scarves and is worn with pride. The standard, of course, has to remain, in order to retain the emblem, which involves the Show being regularly re-assessed. And in 1997, with it’s continued success and popularity, a fourth night was added to the run of performances.

During it’s 37 years to date, the Show has given over 2000 youngsters the opportunity to experience the thrill and excitement of performing on stage – building their confidence and widening their skills – and had the support of many hundreds of adults giving up many thousands of hours to help backstage in the numerous departments needed to make the Show a success.