By Bev Jordan
Hundreds of cast and crew involved in the Cumberland Gang Show are still hoping the show will go on, albeit in a compact format, if Sydney’s COVID Lockdown ends as scheduled on Friday, July 9.
The performing arm of the Scouts and Guides in Western Sydney is set to lose up to $60,000 if the limited run of six “Rise Up” shows with 50% capacity can’t go ahead later this month. Gang Show
The much-loved annual Cumberland Gang Show was cancelled by COVID restrictions last year, attempts to run a limited number of performances in November 2020 were also cancelled because of a snap COVID Lockdown.
This is the third attempt to stage the Rise Up production at The Riverside Theatres at Parramatta.
Volunteer and assistant school principal David Shaw said crew members had started “bumping in” with the video and lighting crews on Friday evening (June 25) and about 60 crew were at the theatre on Saturday at 9am to finish the job.
“A number of us paused to watch the daily update at 11am, hearing the warning of further restrictions following the crisis cabinet meeting, “he said. “Most people paused to watch the 2pm news conference. I was sitting in the Orchestra Pit with a number of others.”
He said following the lockdown announcement team leaders and management gathered in the car park with Dr Rob Lang the producer/director to discuss the options.
“The decision to continue bumping in until 5pm was made quickly,” said Mr Shaw. “Our thinking was that if we continued to bump in we at least had a hope of delivering some shows after lockdown but if we packed up this year’s show would be over.
Everyone present at a bump in was committed to getting as much done as we could before 5pm, with the understanding that we were continuing to bump in with the hope that we would be able to finish the job and put on some shows after lockdown.“
The Cumberland Gang Show was established in 1970 to give young residents of Western Sydney (including the Hills and the Hawkesbury) training in performing arts, empowering them with self-confidence and a drive to achieve. This year over 350 people are involved with 157 performing on stage.
Dr Rob Lang said: “The real impact of not going ahead is not measured in dollars but in the disappointment that our young cast will face in not being able to perform after four months of hard work, adapting our rehearsals to be COVID friendly, and putting in the hard yards to not just learn the songs and sketches but to learn that if you believe in yourself you can achieve anything. That opportunity is hanging in the balance.“
The Cumberland Gang Show costs $200,000 to stage each year with costs covered by tickets sales, sponsorship, merchandise and CD sales.
Mr Shaw said a Go Fund Me page has been set up to: “secure the ongoing work of Cumberland Gang Show” in providing top-quality entertainment, training Scouts and Guides in all aspects of theatre, both on and off stage and promoting scouting and guiding to the wider public
If you would like to help visit: www.gofundme. com/f/cumberland-gang-show-rise-up-2021-appeal Donations are tax-deductible.
New show dates will ultimately appear on the theatre’s website riversideparramatta.com.au