Harpenden Gang show time

January 2nd 2019
By: Melanie Hollidge

We have sung the praises of Harpenden and Wheathampstead District Scouts gang show before but it is a great local event. This year it’s the 70th Harpenden Gang Show! It will be held at Harpenden Public Halls, Harpenden, AL5 1PD from Tuesday 8th January to Saturday 12th January 2019. 

The Harpenden and Wheathampstead District Scouts are very lucky to have many active Scout Groups and Explorer Units. Local young people are so keen to be involved that numbers have been growing over the last few years. There are at least 10 Scout Groups and 6 Explorer Units local to Harpenden. Many of these groups also have more than one Cub Pack or Scout Troop. 

Since the first Harpenden gang show in 1949, there has never been an audition to cast a member in the show. There is a very strong feeling in the gang show community that this should remain the case and that if young people involved with the scouts want to be in the show then they should have the opportunity. Once you have been accepted into the Gang you can then audition for various singing, dancing and speaking roles for the actual show.

The Crew members who help run the Harpenden gang show have also come a long way since the early days. They feature a number of ex Cast members and some of them have children in the cast. The 1949 show had around a dozen enthusiastic adults to help - today there are over 150 in the crew to help to put on what has been described by a UK Scout Association member as a "very professional, amateur show". 

The Public Hall in Harpenden is not blessed with a huge amount of space either on stage or in the dressing areas so there has been a limit of 152 cast members over the 3 Scout sections that take part. There also has to be a limit on numbers in the audience as the Eric Morecambe Theatre, within Harpenden Public Halls can only safely accommodate around 370 people giving the show a real family feel.