As the Festival Theatre house tabs hit the stage on the last beat of ‘Crest of A Wave’ in the Finale of the 61st Edinburgh Gang Show at 9.30pm on Saturday 5th November there was only one thing anyone could remark; “We did it; Gang Show’s back!”
The Gang Show Management Team first reconvened face-to-face in February this year to assess the feasibility of bringing back such a large-scale event after a two-year enforced break. There was a determination and commitment but a slight nervousness as well as this would be the first Edinburgh Gang Show to be staged after the global pandemic; our theatre dates were two weeks earlier than usual with the final rehearsals clashing with the October school holidays and crucially we would be in a brand new (to Gang Show) theatre very different to the King’s Theatre.
But we needed have worried because, despite all the challenges of pulling together a new show, developing a new and very young Gang and getting used to the Festival Theatre, everything worked as well as it should have. By the time the curtain went up 88 new members of the Main Gang and all 120 members of the Junior Gang were experiencing Gang Show for the first time.
The show garnered many excellent reviews including from local events website Corr Blimey: “There is nothing like The Gang Show. The memories forged on this stage will likely never fade from the cast, crew, band, and audiences having, for some, the highlight of their year. Expectantly, the sense of communal spirit thrives this evening, who are Back in Business, back in the game, and back for good.”
And from All Edinburgh Theatre : “What hasn’t changed is the sense of a coherent company on stage, creating memories and having the time of their lives. It is that joy, which transcends any minor hiccups, coupled with a company that is pulling together and stands tall to support its individual members, that creates yet another cracking success.”
Approx 5,000 people came to see the show including the Lord Provost of the City of Edinburgh Cllr Robert Aldridge; members of the SESS Regional Team, Chief Executive of Scouts Scotland Graeme Luke, Deputy UK Chief Commissioner of The Scouts Craig Turpie, Chief Commissioner Andrew Sharkey and Deputy Chief Commissioner Amy Douglas from Scouts Scotland and many members of the London Gang Show Fellowship as well as other Gang Shows and friends from across the UK.
We were thrilled to see so many Packs, Troops and Units fill the foyer and auditorium of the Festival Theatre and watch Cubs, Scouts and Explorers clap loudly, laugh along and shout “Giraffe, Gerroff!” to the cheeky interrupting giraffe from Edinburgh Zoo who wanted to join in the songsheet item!
It was Alan Hunter’s honour to present only the third 50 Year Long Service Award to Michael Walker. Michael joined the Gang in 1971 and has been involved as a cast member, production assistant, convenor and AAC (Gang Show) and is currently involved as Admin/Marketing/Front of House. Congratulations Michael!
With a few weeks off to recover and reflect the Management Team will meet in early December to begin the process of reviewing the whole 2022 Gang Show operation and to commence the planning for the 2023 show.
Once again, we would like to thank all the members of the Gang Show ASU who have worked incredibly hard to get the show back up and running and to all members of SESS who have given us such tremendous support and friendly encouragement over the past couple of challenging years.
The Gang Show is back on the crest of a wave!