Todmorden Gang Show History

Todmorden Gang show all started back in 1959 following a visit by our founding member Philip Suthers to Newcastle-upon-Tyne Gang Show said “Look ‘ere lads there’s nowt to this Gang show lark, if Ted Potts can do it then so can we”. So they set to it and the first show was produced and performed by Walsden and Cornholme Scouts, and the rest as they say is history.

The show was performed first week at Cornholme Methodists, then second week at St Peters in Walsden, then for the first and last time the Gang went on tour and performed at Eastwood Methodists to help raise money to keep the church running.

Even back then the show had its problems e.g. Cubs not knowing lines or where to be. It’s good to know Philip had the same problems back then as we have today.

The gang was back the following year at Cornholme this time under the direction of Mrs Wilkinson, a well known lady of her day in dramatic circles.

1965 - Moved to Hippodrome

With the formation of the Gang Show committee the Todmorden Gang Show we know today took shape, we moved to Calder College and the show continued to flourish under the direction of Mrs Hilda Ford (now an MBE) and in 1965 we moved to our new home at the Hippodrome Theatre, with Philip once again taking the helm.

The staff at the Hippodrome weren’t keen on the prospect of the Gang Show coming to the theatre at first but after Philip worked his charm thankfully they soon came round in fact many of the people at the theatre got there first tast of theatre through being in the gang show, which has helped build a very strong and special relationship that we enjoy today.

Guides to the Rescue!

That year 1965 the Dobroyd School Started it’s own a Senior Scout Unit and they joined the show and became a pillar of the show for many years to follow.
The show rolled on strong until 1969 when rehearsals where forced to be postponed due to low cast numbers then reluctantly in 1970 Guides made their first appearance in the show as Phil doubted the show would succeed with guides, so we moved back to Calder College. How wrong he was - the show was a huge success, so the following year the show was back at the Hippodrome. Without the support of Guides over the years the Gang Show would have disappeared years ago.

2010 - biggest Cast ever!

The show continued from strength to strength until 2006 when we again suffered from low numbers. We introduced Gang Show juniors 6 to 8 years and drafted in extras from local scout groups to do stand-alone numbers and thanks to a good team effort muddled through to our 50th show in 2008 when we had a big push throughout local Scouting and Guiding Circles to remind people that we were still here. That year for a fiftieth show numbers increased and have continued to do so. In 2010 we had the biggest cast on record - 77 - plus a few dozen juniors.


Todmorden Gang Show is very lucky to have such a good team of dedicated people over its 52 soon to be 53 shows history as well as the remarkable spirit and pride and support that the town demonstrates for the show. We are only a small community, but we have a show that is well respected within Gang Show circles, with visitors returning each year to watch and learn, just as we do from watching them, sharing routines and not being afraid to experiment with new ideas.

This is the spirit of gang show and it is up to us all to keep that spirit and pride alive to guarantee its existence for future generations of Todmordians.

Here’s to the next 54 years of Todmorden Gang show..


photo of Philip Suthers - Tod Gang Show founder


2010 CAST