The Pepper Show
The Pepper Show is the flagship fundraising event for the Pepper Foundation and the reason that the Pepper Foundation exists.
Pepper Show & Pepper Foundation founder, Robert Breakwell
A Live Music Institution
The Pepper Show is a Hertfordshire musical institution, with well over a thousand people attending the show every year.
Over 30 years ago, Pepper Trustee and Founder Robert Breakwell staged the very first Pepper Show, bringing together local musicians and vocalists to celebrate the Beatles’ famous ‘Sgt Pepper’ album and raise funds for local charity, Iain Rennie Hospice Care (now Rennie Grove Hospice Care). 5 years later the show had become an annual event, and by 1993 The Pepper Foundation had been created.
Fast forward to the third decade of the 2000’s and the show is still going strong. In fact, the only thing to stop the Pepper Show in its 30+ years was the Covid-19 pandemic; but even then the show couldn’t be kept down for long, returning in 2021 with a thunderous comeback show. It was a testament to the level of dedication shown by the crew, cast, and band (all of whom volunteer their time to the show) that the 2021 show was pulled together against the odds.
Over 30 years of live music in Hertfordshire.
About the Pepper Show
From 1989 until 2014 the Pepper Show had been performing at the Centenary Theatre in Berkhamsted, but in 2015, the show moved to its current home of The David Evans Pendley Court Theatre Tring, Herts.
In the early days, the show was a two-night stint, but it eventually evolved into its current six-show format, performing five evening shows and a matinee across five days. The show now typically happens in the second week of October.
The setlist every year is a mix of music to suit all tastes; from modern pop and rock music to huge hit songs from the last six decades, there’s bound to be something for everyone. You never know, you might hear your next new favourite song at the show!
[The Pepper Show Band, 1990]
Putting the Pepper Show together
It takes our team over six months to prepare for the show. The show currently happens in October, but preparations for the Pepper Show begin in January, with the production management team discussing potential setlists, casting, creating a schedule for rehearsals, marketing, and much much more.
There can be up to 50 people involved in putting on the Pepper Show. Everyone in the Pepper Show cast and crew is a volunteer – singers, musicians, lighting and sound engineers, front-of-house staff. They give up their personal time entirely for free to ensure that the show meets the high standard our audiences expect.
The team of Musical Directors creates arrangements for each song in the set and makes sure that musicians and singers have access to everything they need for their performances. They also work with vocal groups on harmonies, and are there to help coach singers should they need help with their performances.
Once the setlist is decided, the house band needs to learn two hours of music, with rehearsals beginning months in advance of the show. Whole show cast rehearsals begin six to eight weeks before the show starts, with the band and all singers giving up a whole Sunday every week.
Behind all of this, a marketing team is working to ensure that people know about the show, setting up the box office for ticket sales, designing show materials, creating the show programme, working with print production companies, and getting advertisers and sponsors onboard.
A new consideration for the production is Covid safety, which affects vocal rehearsals, band rehearsals, and audience safety during show week. We do our best to keep everyone safe.
The weekend before the show a crew works tirelessly to prepare the theatre for the show, putting up lighting, sound equipment, and staging.
After all this work we finally reach show week, which for cast and crew often feels like it is over in a flash!
And of course, the most important people are our wonderful audience, for whom without we wouldn’t have a show at all!
The Pepper Show 2023
Thank you to everyone who attended the Pepper Show 2023! We had our most successful year since returning after the pandemic, so thank you for supporting the show this year!
The 2024 show will begin production in spring 2024; for announcements about show dates, auditions, and priority ticket booking soon; to hear all the news first please join our mailing list, or keep an eye on this page, the Pepper Foundation Facebook page, or the Pepper Concerts Facebook community page.
Venue: Court Theatre, Tring
Date: 2024 Pepper Show to be confirmed
Watch past Pepper Show performances here!
The opening number of the Pepper Show 2022, Let’s Go Crazy by Prince and the Revolution, performed by cast member Karl Jenner
A vintage performance of Bat Out of Hell from the Pepper Show 2011, performed by long-time cast member Tom Billington.