SCOUTS and Guides came together to drum up support from Tamworth shoppers for their forthcoming stage spectacular.
The youngsters from Tamworth District Group set up their stall at Ankerside Shopping Centre to promote next month’s Gang Show.
Featuring Scouts and Guides from 30 different units of youngsters, the show is held every other year as part of a theatrical tradition that dates back to 1932.
This year’s performance includes spoof Scooby Doo scenes, a Phantom of the Opera element and a Jungle Book section performed by the Cubs to celebrate 100 years of Cub Scouts, which is marked this year.
It will be held at Tamworth’s Assembly Rooms from Wednesday February 3 to Saturday February 6.
Hoping to encourage as many local people as possible to come and see their show, more than 60 young people handed out flyers at the Ankerside on Saturday.
District Commissioner Chris Hollyoake said: “We had shifts of 10 kids at a time and anyone who wants to come and see it can get their tickets from the Assembly Rooms in Tamworth so hopefully it’ll be a sell-out.
“We should break even and probably not much more than that. If we do have anything left afterwards the money will get ploughed back in to the scouting organisations.
“I can guarantee you’ll smile at some point during the show. It is a proper variety show with singing, dancing, sketches and plenty of comedy and the standard is really very high.
“We’re lucky that we actually have some very talented individuals in our units at the moment and some of the older ones come back every other year to be in the Gang Show again.”
Ankerside Shopping Centre deputy manager Jeff Wigley said: “It’s inspiring to see the hard work that are put in by these youngsters for their show.
“We were very happy to offer them the space to promote the event, and I hope that everything will be all right on the night!”
Chris, who works with the West Midlands Ambulance Service when he is not scouting, has been involved with the movement for 23 years and helping organise Gang Shows since 2007.
He said: “It’s a great thing for the young people to do. It is often their first experience of committing to something and working hard at it over a long period of time and for many it massively improves their confidence as well as performance skills.
“Being on the stage is not for everyone though, so those that prefer to be backstage helping with props or lighting or something can still be involved with the show.
“The younger ones start practising their bits in December and on top of that we have masses of support from parents and scout leaders all of whom get stuck in on top of all the other volunteering they already do.
“There must be 200 people involved in one way or another.”
The Tamworth District organisers do not hold auditions for the Gang Show but allocate parts to all the Scouts, Guides, Explorers, Brownies, Cubs and Beavers that want to take part.
Chris’s own family are active members – his nine-year-old daughter Georgia is a Cub and son Kian, seven, is a Beaver. They are both in the show while their mum Shena, who is also a paramedic, will provide first aid cover on the night.
When the 96 boys and girls that make up the cast take to the stage the audience will be packed with proud mums and dads as well as fellow Guide and Scout groups and members of the local community.
The act of putting on a Gang Show empowers the young people to control their own performance and as well as acting and singing the group members play a huge part in the writing and choreographing of the whole thing.
Chris, from Alveston, said: “They have a big influence as they come up with a lot of good ideas that we try to include. The older kids, the Scouts and Guides, have been rehearsing from September every week so it’s a big commitment for them.”
Tickets cost £8 for adults and £6 for concessions and the show starts at 7pm on the evenings of February 3, 4, 5 and 6. Tickets can be booked on tamworthassemblyrooms.co.uk or 01827 709618