History of the Auckland Central Gang Show
1972 - 1979
In 1972 we widened our horizons and became the Auckland Central Gang Show, performing at the Epsom Normal Intermediate School hall and the following two years (1973 and 1974), saw the show staged at the Auckland Teachers Training College hall, which no longer exists. In this year, the show utilised a compere for the first time. Read the compere’s script.
This was a particularly strong show – a great cast with many talented members and, for the first time, original scripts by Jim Ponsford and original songs composed by Trevor Benns with lyrics by Ross Browne. Material from Australian shows was also used for the first time along with extended themes to link sketches and songs. Again, a compere linked the items with a running commentary. Read the compere’s script.
1974 saw us write, for the first time for any Gang Show in New Zealand, a large proportion of our own material – both sketches and songs.In 1975, due to SCOUTING EXPO at the Epsom Showgrounds, we decided to take a break, prepare a show for a larger and more professional stage and to let people know who we were through our stand at the exhibition.
The “larger and more professional” stage we chose was the Centennial Theatre at the Auckland Grammar School and with the huge step up in the quality of costumes, lighting, choreography and music came an equally huge learning curve for our production team. The show eventually ran for twelve evening performances and two matinees to very appreciative audiences. This was our last all-male show.
After the 1976 show many of the production team found that for various reasons (marriage, job transfers etc.) they could not do justice to another show in 1977. So at the beginning of 1978 a decision was made that the show would be staged every two years – starting 1979 – whether or not the present members of the production team were available.
Auckland Central Gang Show 1979 ran for fourteen performances at the University of Auckland’s Kenneth Maidment Theatre and introduced a number of significant changes. The most important of these was the introduction of girls – in reality young women of Venturer or Rover age – to our cast. Pioneered by Melbourne Gang Show in 1969, the girls have been able to add that extra ‘sparkle’ on stage. Our pioneers of ’79 put in some extraordinary work and came up with a show that put us firmly on the map of the entertainment scene in Auckland. All in all, it was a very successful year.