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The History of Gangshow

Gangshows were the original creation of Ralph Reader, a Rover Scout in London who wrote and produced the first Gangshow in 1932 titled "The Gangs All Here." The format for the Gangshow was a revue or variety show, including song, dance and short comedy sketches.

The original Gangshow was put together as a fundraising effort to raise money for a swimming pool at the local Scout Camp. While not a sell-out, the show raised enough funds for the pool and was well received. The founder of Scouting, Baden Powell, persuaded Reader to produce another show in 1933, titled "The Gang Comes Back." In 1934 the show became known as "The Gangshow" and Reader continued to write and produce the London Gangshow  until he retired in 1974.

The members of the original Gangshow wanted an identifying feature and decided on a red scarf. Since the first show, the red scarf has become a worldwide symbol and each show having their own insignia on the point of the scarf. All shows have their own mark on the shows they produce, but all come together with one of Reader's signature tunes "On the Crest of a Wave."

About Nelson Gangshow

The first Gangshow in Nelson was performed in 1969.


There had been a further six shows from 1969 – 1993. After a 27-year gap Nelson had a Gangshow directed by Mike and Bridget Smith. After the 2018 Gangshow they began their efforts on the 2020 Gangshow.  Due to Covid-19, the 2020 show was postponed 3 times until February 2021. After the postponements the show was referred to as the 2020ish Gangshow.

The 2022 Gangshow marked the 10th Gangshow performed in the Nelson region and 90 years worldwide.

Gangshow 2024 is now back and bigger and better, with an action packed show, with lots of laughs, for the whole family.  

We would love to hear from anyone who was previously involved in past Nelson Gangshows, please use the Ccntact page to reach us.

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