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The Scouts – originally the Scout Movement – began in 1908 as a way to contribute to the development of young people as they grew up to achieve their full potential, learning to function as responsible citizens and active members of their wider communities.
Robert Baden-Powell, a British military officer with an interest in military scouting, published Scouting for Boys in 6 monthly installments in 1908. Baden-Powell was already a national hero by this point, having distinguished himself in India, and it was this status that fueled sales of his earlier military instruction manual, Aids to Scouting. There were soon repeated enthusiastic calls in support of Baden-Powell rewriting his book with a focus on boys, who were already using the manual as an unofficial handbook within many youth organisations.
Even so, the reaction to Scouting for Boys was far beyond what Baden-Powell could have ever foreseen. Deciding against connections to the Boy’s Brigade and other bodies with military links, Baden-Powell rewrote Aids to Scouting completely: Scouting For Boys saw scouting techniques transferred to be applicable to budding heroes in all walks of life.
With Scout Patrols popping up across the length and breadth of the UK, publicity was huge. Girl Guides (originally Girl Scouts) came into being in 1909, as the demand for girls to take part in the Boy Scout Movement finally overcame the stereotypes of the time.
The very first Scout Rally at London’s Crystal Palace attracted a turnout of 11,000 Scouts, of which a number of girls attended.
When Baden-Powell retired from military service in 1910, he was quick to formally create The Boy Scouts Association, followed by the Girl Guides, and by the end of this very same year the number of Scouts recorded in a census numbered in excess of 100,000.
Thousands still join both the modern Boy Scouts and Girl Guides today, and many have a yearly tradition of performing here at the Grand Theatre. 2019 saw the Scout’s 58th Gang Show (not in succession!) held at the Grand, with the first Gang Show dating way back to 1962.
Both young people and adults from within Scouting and Guiding put on the Gang Show, and you can watch an interview with the leaders of the latest production below.
The meetings for the production of the 2020 Blackpool Gang Show are already happening, so make sure to put the dates of 28th – 31st October 2020 in your diary and come to enjoy an unforgettable spectacle of song, dance and comedy here at the Grand Theatre!
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