2010 – 2019
In 2009 it was announced that the rights to stage a youth theatre version of the popular hit West End musical, Billy Elliot would be available in 2010. John Duncan and Andy Johnston championed the idea of Gang Show producing the show so garnered the support of many others and after a study weekend in London it was agreed that EGSPL would be part of Billy Youth Theatre.
Just a few weeks after Billy Elliot the Gang enjoyed the first Gang Show Camp at Bonaly Outdoor Centre. Joining in with activities across the campsite the whole Gang came together for a weekend of fun, adventure and friendship.
Gordon Blackburn gave an entertaining speech about how the King’s became Gang Show’s home, advising that the King’s Theatre Manager, Leonard de Renzi, had worked with Ralph Reader in the 1930s and it was this connection to Ralph that meant the first contract between the Scouts and Howard and Wyndham was a favourable one!
Andy Johnston spoke of the importance that the Gang Show continues to grow, develop and move with the times so that future Gangs can fully experience the magic of Gang Show.
After the speeches it was announced that Gordon Blackburn was to unveil the plaque, which he did with tremendous pride. The unveiling was attended by just about everybody who had a connection with the show and it was a truly memorable occasion.
As the years rolled on Gang Shows continued to be performed at the King’s with the same enthusiasm as always and at regular points major celebrations of Girlguiding, Brownies and Cubs featured as part of the show.
The latter part of the present decade has been challenging. With uncertainty over storage facilities a constant worry for the Management Team and having to find new premises due to refurbishment/sale of our regular rehearsal venues the adage ‘the show must go on’ was the rally cry to maintain the Gang Show spirit.
Sadly, in recent years we have also lost some Gang Show stalwarts. The sudden passing of our Musical Director John Duncan was a great shock, especially as John had only retired from Gang Show a few weeks earlier.
Former Director Gordon Blackburn took ill in late 2016 and in January 2017 sadly passed away. Gordon’s knowledge was vast, and his love of Gang Show was infectious. In short he was a Gang Show legend and his legacy lives on in the show that we present today.
In 2019 we celebrated our 60th show which was a great success. Messages of support were sent from First Minister Nicola Sturgeon MSP, the Lord Provost of the City of Edinburgh, Chief Scout Bear Grylls, various celebrities and many Commissioners from The Scouts and Girlguiding.
Sadly in 2020, due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic the Edinburgh Gang Show 2020 was cancelled. The rules of social distancing, as well as the possibility that the theatre may not be open, meant that the Management Team had no other choice. The announcement made on 28th May was met with wide support even though the disappointment was palpable.
What will the future bring? Who knows? But one thing is sure – as long as there are young people from Scouting and Girlguiding in Edinburgh who want to perform and there are adult volunteers willing to support them in putting on a show, then the future of Edinburgh Gang Show is secure!
We’ve Got A Lot To Be Thankful For!
Regional Adviser (Gang Show)