Stars on the left side

The show gives girls the opportunity to take part in something that is quite unique. Girls come forward sometimes with little confidence and ability and through the weeks of rehearsals and the show they become “stars”.

Stars on the Right side

It is a wonderful opportunity to extend what Guiding can offer its members and has influenced many cast members in their careers and brought together hundreds in the name of friendship and Girlguiding.


From the success of our shows we have been given the opportunity to perform at Lichfield Cathedral, Birmingham Symphony Hall, The Victoria Hall, Stoke on Trent and The Mermaid Theatre in London. We also recorded a track on a CD which was made to raise funds for the late Nigel Jones chosen charity and each show has its own DVD produced.


Alongside our cast of Brownies, Guides Rangers and Young Leaders our Leaders always have taken there turn as they are seen on stage in their own scene; they always succeed in bringing the house down! They have been “Mums Army”, “Nun’s” “Cub Scouts” and “Shirley Temples” to name but a few.


The team who make the show “happen” are dedicated and loyal and pull out all the stops to support the girls. Many of the team continue to work with us, whilst we welcome many new faces to the team each show. It is true to say that for every girl on stage there is someone behind the sconces making it happen.


As far as we know the show is unparalleled. Many Girlguiding divisions put on shows throughout the country, but none we know of on a biennial basis over so many years. We have designed our own logo for the neckerchiefs and woggles, and these are awarded for performing or after helping with three shows. We are not in competition with anyone and therefore the show has developed and become more professional through its own merits and our team.


Producer / Director

Maureen Recine 1975 -


Musical Directors

Aidan Goldstraw 1975 - 1979

Mike Roberts 1982 - 1998

Ian-Campbell Kelly 2000 -



Gill Conquest 1982 - 1988

Simone Plant 1984 -


Wardrobe Mistresses

Audrey Gittens 1979

Margaret Roberts 1982 – 2000

Debra Broadhurst & Elaine Hargreaves 2002 - 2012

Debra Broadhurst 2014 -


Stage Managers

Bob Newman 1982, 1986, 1988

Phil Elliott 1984

Ed Becket 1990 – 2006

Russ Cromey and Chris Grattage 2008 - 2012

Russ Cromey 2014 -


Sound Engineer

William Bennison 1979 –


Business Managers

Frank Herriman 1975

Maria Baskeyfield 1979

Ann Crowther 1982 -


  1. 1975

    as Guide Captain of the 1st Barlaston Company, Maureen with her guides decided to put on a show for the senior citizens. It was staged in the Parish Room with a Marquee erected in the car park as the changing room we all froze; A Handful of Songs was born.....


    Barlaston Guides had a got the “show bug” and the community and wanted us to put on another show, a smaller show was performed for parents and community members in the Guide Headquarters at Barlaston


    we become more ambitious and invite girls from units in Stone Outward District to be part of the cast they came from Barlaston, Oulton, Sandon, and Tittensor. Brownies were invited to be part of the cast for the first time and they performed a Disney scene. The show saw us travel around the UK in the finale of the first half.

  2. 1982

    the show outgrew the Parish Room at Barlaston and we moved to Alleynes School Theatre in Stone, the show was staged from 24th – 27th March incl. 21 Brownies, 32 Guides, 9 Rangers and 9 leaders performed. The show was more ambitious we played to packed audiences for the week that enjoyed Wild West, Top Hat & Tails and dancing in the rain scenes.


    we invite guides from Eccleshall and Stone Districts to join the cast and performed a spectacular Big Top scene; we travelled around the world and picked tulips in Amsterdam


    20 Brownies, 39 Guides 3 Rangers and 17 leaders made up a very enthusiastic cast. The programme and performances were bigger, the story of the brownies was told, and we aged a guide by a few years as she performed “I’m 94 this morning”


    The Brownies stole this show when they performed the “Home pride” flour graders but Miss Hannigan gave them a run for their money with her performance in Annie and a very colourful Strike up the Band scene closed the first half. 43 Guides, 4 Brownies, 4 Rangers, and 19 leaders made up the cast

  3. 1990

    A cast of 76 delighted the audiences at six performances. We had a touch of politics in this show “with an exchange in the House of Commons”, took Tea at the Ritz, and had the audience in fits of laughter with some of the comedy. Our programme was designed by Sharon Davenport a cast member for the first time.


    Maureen directed a complete dress rehearsal at the Theatre suffering from laryngitis, no voice whatsoever. Not an easy task, but not impossible lots of hand gestures used! We travelled through the Euro Tunnel, honoured the Pearly Kings and Queens and performed items from the Roaring 20’s


    with the size of the cast and crew growing we were challenged to be very ambitious and our wardrobe team pulled out all the stops by making 64 clown costumes behind the scenes and given to cast on dress rehearsal, it was truly stunning!


    our 21st year and time to celebrate in style, 67 girls, and 17 leaders performed. We mystified our audiences with a magical scene, three identical triplets as brownies disappeared and reappeared. A fantastic New York skyline made the close of the first half out of this world with song and dance, the wardrobe team made the most amazing multi coloured coat for Joseph… a really wonderful show to celebrate our birthday


    our producer’s message in the programme says that this show has: One large spoonful of enthusiasm: 80 ounces of talent: 80 ounces of commitment: four months of hard work: a barrel of fun: gallons of coffee and orange squash: and the best teams behind the scenes supporting the most fantastic cast.

  4. 2000

    25 years of A Handful of Songs and a cast of 81 entertain packed audiences. A space craft landed to open the show; we performed a Winter Wonderland item and a spectacular water tap scene which had the audiences gasping.


    no one will ever forget the closing of this show when the cast performed songs from Les Miserable, it was very moving and unforgettable and later performed in Lichfield Cathedral at the request of Staffordshire County Council Youth and Community Service. We welcomed 7 year old Brownies for the first time to this show, they needed to be 8 years old to be part of the cast prior to this.


    we take the huge step and move to our new home “The Rep Theatre” in Stoke and open the show with a fantastic Barnum scene it was spectacular. We changed the format of the second half which really worked for us and was declared a massive success by the cast, crew, and audiences. We were invited to perform five items from this show at the Mermaid Theatre in London as part of Girlguiding UK’s Annual Review of the year. It was a great honour for 109 strong cast and crew who were all presented to our President “Sophie” The Countess of Wessex at the close.


    a magical scene was produced from the division’s projects over in Kenya alongside, brownies going underwater and a lot of “Girl Power” Our strong cast of 26 Brownies and 39 Guides and Rangers entertained packed audiences.


    a cast of 65 girls sang songs from Grease which opened the show, a very funny camp scene, and the leaders did the Blues Brothers “Everybody” Brownies produced a magical Disney Couples scene.

  5. 2010

    we celebrated 100 years of girlguiding with a very moving scene which for the first time saw some of our Rainbows on stage in the first half. This was contrasted by the shows very own “Jelly Babies” dancing onto stage and the leaders getting into the “habit” as Nuns.


    Smurfs, The Wizard of Oz, songs from Wicked and a very special Bollywood scene which was quite simply amazing. As this was an Olympic year and it was held in London we closed the show with an Olympic finale and celebrated the Queens Diamond Jubilee.


    this show saw a very moving commemoration of the World Wars ending with poppies falling; people still talk about this scene. We celebrated the Brownies 100 years and our “Old Ladies” the 14 -18 age group performed an optical illusion scene with black and white costume


    a very different opening to the show as we turned the stage into an airport with the full cast and 21 songs, this really tested the musical team!! Our Brownies stunned the audience with an Abba scene and the “Old Ladies” gave a superb performance of Up Town Funk


    he Brownies closed our first half with an outstanding Beauty and the Beast scene, the guides gave Ragtime a new lease of life, and we captured a shoe shop which was hilarious.

  6. 2020

    The current show A Handful of Song 2020 will preforms from the 7th April 2020 to the 11th April 2020