Dust off your dancing shoes…
WHEN: Now until 8 December 2019. Every Sunday (except October 20 and 27), noon until 3pm
WHERE: Siobhan Davies Studios, 85 St George’s Road, Elephant and Castle, London SE1 6ER
COST: £5 per person. Tickets must be booked in advance by calling Azara Meghie on 07848 816842 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Live music, variety shows and traditional afternoon tea are just some of the things to expect at The Posh Club, a glamorous social occasion for the over 50s, which this month begins a new season in Elephant and Castle.
An event from the creators of Duckie, a long-established night at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern, the UK’s oldest LGBTQ+ pub, The Posh Club promises fun, friendship, and a hearty dose of frivolity for its guests.
But, as Azara Meghie, maitre d’ and booker at The Posh Club in Elephant and Castle explains, the event is so much more than cabaret and crockery.
“The Posh Club is all about getting older people out and socialising with other people their age and making them feel glamorous again,” she says. “As people get older, particularly at this time of year when it’s cold and getting dark earlier, they can find it hard to go out and can become isolated. This event really does give people the chance to get dolled up and let their hair down for an afternoon.”
Tackling the problem of loneliness among older people is at the heart of The Posh Club. Siblings Simon Casson (one half of the founding team of Duckie, along with Amy Lamé) and Annie Bowden came up with the idea of the event to help their mum, who moved from Hackney to Crawley and found herself feeling isolated in her new area. They organised a tea party in her front room, invited a couple of neighbours round and, over tea, cake and lots of chatting, great friendships were formed. As the get-togethers increased in number, they transferred to the local church hall with music and entertainment added to the mix. Before long The Posh Club was a regular event in Crawley as well as Hackney, Hastings and Brighton – and now in Elephant and Castle.
The Posh Club is run as a social enterprise, which is subsidised by grants, including support from the Elephant & Castle Community Fund. Each season of The Posh Club runs for 8, 10 or 15 weeks at a time, with the event taking place each week at the same time and venue.
The current season of The Posh Club in Elephant and Castle is taking place at Siobhan Davies Studios. The afternoon event runs on Sundays from noon until 3pm and, according to Azara, with alternative entertainment, Champagne on ice and plenty of opportunity for dancing, it’s not your typical senior citizens’ event.
“We always follow the same pattern, which is: guests arrive at the venue, which will be beautifully decorated, they get their coats taken from them and they are seated. It’s lovely to see how quickly everyone starts chatting with the people on their table and enjoying each other’s company.
“We then start serving teas and coffees and begin the first bit of the entertainment, which is the “cake dance”. It’s just us presenting the scones and cakes, but we do a little parade between the tables and it always goes down well. Next up are the sandwiches with everything presented beautifully on traditional china, and then the entertainment begins.
“There are always two or three cabaret performances, which can be burlesque, drag, an opera singer, a dance show or an Elvis impersonator. It’s a broad spectrum of performance, which may be very different to what they have seen before, but they absolutely love it.”
The afternoon draws to a close with a toast to The Posh Club and anyone celebrating birthdays with a glass of fizz.
“We make a big deal when someone is celebrating their birthday with us,” adds Azara. “At Hackney we have a guest who is 110 years old. It’s just mind-blowing that we are in the presence of someone who is over a century old.
“We always like to give people their moment and make them feel special, and I think that’s the essence of The Posh Club.”