Get ready for South East Berks Gang ShowBy Vicky Wong
February 09, 2012
Half-term just wouldn’t be half-term without a big family event to save parents from worrying about organising that trip to the cinema or another meal with a toy from a takeaway.
But fear not as a merry band of Scouts are here to chase away those winter blues with singing, dancing and a little bit of magic.
Scouts from across South East Berkshire are back with their annual Gang Show and will, over six nights, use the event to take you on a journey from China to Chicago.
Producing a big show such as this seems second nature to Sandra Sidey, one of the organisers.
Despite there only being two more rehearsals left, the Gang Show regular seems calm about the run up to a very hectic week of performances.
The Scouting movement was first established in 1907, with an aim of supporting young people to develop physically and mentally.
Part of this has been the Gang Show, a staple of the movement for more than 80 years.
The South East Berks version celebrated its 40th anniversary last year and is now pulling out all the stops for this year’s show.
One can only imagine the excitement of 80 children who make up the cast as they wait in the wings for their cue.
Sandra says: “I think it’s finally hit them that the show is nearly here. Hopefully they will get a bit of stage adrenaline.”
Auditions and planning began in June last year, with the first rehearsals taking place in September.
Since then, the cast – with ages ranging from nine to 70 – have been rehearsing flat out every Sunday and are fast approaching the dress rehearsal at the Wilde Theatre in South Hill Park, Bracknell.
With its 40th production, last year might have been a landmark year for the show – but it was also tinged with sadness as stalwart Angela Forbes passed away.
She had fallen ill just after the Gang Show, before dying in October.
“It was difficult, and we do miss her” says Sandra, who spoke fondly of the Gang Show’s Secretary.
“She was loved by the kids and was very important in tying everything together and managing the little things you don’t realise are important until someone is gone.”
Although a setback, the Gang know that the show must go on and will set up a show that is bound to make Angela proud.
The cast members aren’t just doing the show to entertain – they’re planning on donating proceeds too.
Money raised during the week will go towards Stepping Stones, a charity that supports children with Down’s Syndrome.
That mission of the Scouting movement hasn’t changed after all these years, and the Gang Shows stay true to that.
“Kids get so much out of it,” Sandra explains. “When the new kids start off they are terrified and to see their confidence grow is such a rewarding thing.
“We have members leaving each year because of university and work but they always come back.”
In what promises to be a night of good all-round family entertainment, even if your half-term is booked, make room for this event.
- The South East Berks Gang Show will be performed at the Wilde Theatre in South Hill Park, Bracknell and will run from Monday, February 13 to Saturday, February 18, at 7.15pm.
There will also be a matinee on the Saturday at 2.15pm.
Tickets from Monday to Friday and the Saturday matinee are £9.50 or £42 for a family ticket of two adults and three children and £8.50 of groups of 20 or more.
Tickets for the Saturday evening performance are £12 and there are no concessions.
For more details on the show, or to book, call the box office on (01344) 484123 or log on to www.southhillpark.org.uk.