What to expect
After weeks (or even months) of rehearsals, the time will come to step onto the stage, surrounded by your friends. Let your talents shine bright, then embrace the applause from a live audience.
Gang shows are a popular type of staged performance, where the cast are all Scouts or Guides (usually young people, though sometimes leaders get on stage too). They work together with volunteers to plan, write, cast, produce, and choreograph the show, which is usually full of a variety of singing, dancing, and sketches. Not your kind of thing? There are other ways to take to the stage, from pantomimes to plays.
Staged performances can take place in all sorts of venues, from meeting places to community buildings and even local theatres. You’ll have to put in plenty of hard work behind the scenes, but it’s all worth it when you push through the butterflies, take to the stage, and hear the audience clap and call for an encore. Don’t forget to take your final bow!
What you’ll learn
Performing on stage is great fun, and it’s a great chance to try something new and take on a challenge with the support of friends and volunteers. By the end of rehearsals, you’ll know what people mean when they say ‘as long as it takes’ and have plenty of practise at sticking at it. There’s no rushing a rehearsal, and you might not get it right the first (or second, or third) time.
Some people may have taken up a new skill, while others honed their existing talents. By the time you take to the stage, you’ll have polished your chosen skill, but that’s not all. Getting ready for a staged performance shows people how to get back up and try again when they face setbacks and how to muck in as part of a team.
Most importantly, you’ll have a good time, and enjoy sharing your skills to bring smiles to others’ faces too.
Ralph Reader, an actor, theatrical producer, and songwriter, launched the first ever gang show in 1932, in London.
- Don’t forget to smile. We know there’s lots to remember and concentrate on when you’re on stage, but don’t forget to smile (and enjoy yourself too). The audience want you to have a good time.
- Practise makes perfect. Rehearsals are a great chance to bond with the rest of the cast, but even if they start to feel tiring, it’s important not to give up. They’ll boost your confidence and make sure you’re ready to get it right when the time comes to perform.
- Sort the details. Depending on the talents you’re showcasing, you may have costumes or props to bring your performance to life. Try them on (or try them out) before the big day – you’ll want to make sure they’re comfortable and right for the job in advance, rather than discovering a disaster as the curtain begins to rise.
- Use what’s out there. The gang show must go on is full of ideas, information on the different roles people could fill, and other helpful hints and tips. Check it out before you dive in to help you make the most of the opportunity to take to the stage.
You must always:
- Get approval from your Commissioner to perform in public
- Follow the assessment criteria in the relevant toolkit
Joint activities with other organisations:
This activity can be led by you or someone else in Scouts
You can go to a centre or use an activity leader who is not part of Scouting:You must find a suitable provider who meets the following requirements:
The provider must have public liability insurance.
Staged performances are a great way to develop a skill and share it with an audience. How long did people spend rehearsing? Depending on the performance, people may have rehearsed their specific skill at home as well as going to big, organised rehearsals. Which words would people use to describe rehearsals? Most people will probably choose a few different words. Sometimes rehearsals are fun, and a chance to see people and feel proud, but sometimes they can be boring or hard work too. What difference did rehearsals make to the final show?
Performing on stage with an audience was also a chance to try something new. Were people used to performing for an audience? Depending on the performance, people may have felt different things – performing for family and friends is different to performing for members of the public who’ve paid for tickets! Did anyone take on a new skill for the performance? How did people feel on the day of the show? Did their feelings chance as the show got nearer, then as they made it through?
Not everyone’s destined for the spotlight, and that’s OK. We wouldn’t have many successful stage shows if everyone wanted to take the starring role – performances need plenty of people behind the scenes to make it work. You could put your artistic skills to good use creating sets, props, or promotional materials, use your technical abilities to sort the lighting and sound, or use your organisational skills to help set the programme or direct everyone.
- Talk to everyone involved to see how you can make your performance accessible. Perhaps some people would rather perform in a big group, or they’d prefer to do a special performance for a select few chosen ‘fans’.
- Think about how to make your performance accessible for the audience too. When you invite people (whether it’s with flyers, posters, or emails), make sure you include information about the accessibility of the venue: is it step free? What about accessible toilets? What public transport links and parking are available? You could also look at relaxed performances, which are adapted so everyone’s welcome. Find out more on the National Autistic Society or Official London Theatre websites.
All Scout activities should be inclusive and accessible.