Director – Ross Browne
Ross was involved in things theatrical from an early age, and the forerunner to Gang Show was a Scout Concert in which he participated in 1958, as a cub, aged 10. In 1959 he attended the first performance of Les Maynard’s North Shore Gang Show with his father and the producer of the soon-to-be-launched South Auckland Gang Show, Bryan Chadderton. By this time he was truly hooked on the stage, and in 1961 at the age of 12 took part in his first Gang Show. (See picture below from the finalé of that show.) Throughout these years, he was heavily involved with all of the shows that were presented by the schools he attended.
Then there was a return season of the South Auckland Gang Show in 1963; however the Auckland Scouting Area decided to mount an Area Gang Show in 1965 and so the South Auckland Gang Shows came to an end, as also for a time did the North Shore Gang Show. Ross was not able to be involved in the Area Shows, but continued to be active in his School, and in the local theatrical society. The last Auckland Area Gang Show took place in 1967, and the decision was made not to continue with the enterprise. The North Shore Gang Show resurrected with Shows on the Shore, but there was no provision for anything south of the harbour.
Ross by this time was a University student, living in a hostel in Parnell – and also an Assistant Scout Leader with the St. Mary’s 1908 Scout Group. After a discussion with the District Commissioner (Bickford Freeman) and his wife (Mercy), in 1968 Ross sent a cyclostyled letter to the Scouters of the Waitemata District suggesting the possibility of doing their own Gang Show in 1969. This was raised at a Scouters’ Council: and the rest of this history is detailed in the Histry of Our Show section of this website!
There were Shows in 1969, 1970, 1971 and 1972 (while Ross was at theological college), 1973, and 1974. That brought the consecutive-year shows to an end, and the next Show was in 1976, then 1979, and every alternate year since then.
Ross’s wife Ngaire has also been involved in the Show from 1970 onward, becoming Wardrobe Mistress for a time, and then taking over the Make-Up Department, which she still heads.
Ross has directed all the Shows, from our first in 1969, to the present time – at first with a very hands-on style! However as time has gone on and a wonderful team of talented people has coalesced around the Show, he has allowed a considerable degree of freedom to the artistic endeavours of the Production Team, and now has a more overarching style and approach. He considers himself very privileged to have known and worked with so many tireless, dedicated, and talented people over so long a time; to have made so many friends; and to have been able to have provided a peak experience of the stage for so many youth members of Scouting and Guiding.
The next show (2019) marks 50 years as Director – and it will be his final show! Ross will be retiring after this celebratory show.
You will note his up-to-date picture is little different from his youthful one . . . (in his dreams!).