The Candidate - The Langham Working Men's Club

The Candidate was a site-specific, immersive theatre piece that was devised and staged by Persona Collective in 2019 at The Langham Club; a traditional working mens club on Green Lanes, near where we all live in Haringey, north London. The club has existed for over 100 years but its numbers are really declining.  The show examined and subverted the concept of ‘the family’. This was derived from the place itself, which for many years has functioned as a communal, intergenerational living room, with all the love and fall-outs, gossip and giggles, fond memories and baggage you’d find in any tight-knit community with a lot of history. The club was open to members during show nights, so the audience were never quite sure who was a performer and who was a punter, or what was spontaneous and what was rehearsed. The Candidate is the first and last piece of a perpetual cycle. It is a surreal exploration of the family concept, where characters act as family members to fabricate a false reality. The story is a metaphor for a failed socio-political and financial system in which the role of the family is to prepare themselves to form part of an absurd and competitive system, with no way out. Here, the strange pathologies of human behaviour are dissected and the characters find themselves falling down a symbolic rabbit hole, slowly losing control of events and culminating in an intoxicated awakening that is a celebration of human affairs and rituals.​

"If someone had said to me said to me a year ago that the Langham Club on Green Lanes, Haringey, would be the venue for performances of contemporary theatre, I would have smiled and politely nodded whilst believing that to be extreme wishful thinking. The Club, established more than a 100 years ago, has seen much better times when it was full of members and their families but in more recent years has been decline. Too many empty seats. Smaller and smaller audiences. Members growing older and not seeing many younger people coming in (...)" - Ruth Cherrington, Working Men's Club Historian.

Persona Collective seeks to involve local communities, including both amateur and professional performers, in co-creating its shows, while also using buildings and spaces that are either overlooked or at risk of slipping from living memory.

We became members and spent several months hanging out there, getting to know the regulars and attending bingo nights before developing the show.