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The Candidate

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. ​​Link - Gallery The Candidate


"The Candidate was an ambitious and surprisingly effective undertaking...(...) Tainted with absurdity and surrealistic touches, this impressive show’s dramatic focus was on familial ties stretched thin enough to break.."   

 - Donald Hutera

Click here to full review

(...) The colourful contrasts remind us of of Hitchcock when the intermittent flashing lights are in perfect sync with the actors’ movements (...) The show is not only screaming David Lynch’s imagery and atmospheres, you are inside them! 

- Marcela Iriarte Villalobos

Click here to full review

"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.                    

Click here to full review

Cast & Creators

Justine Berthault
Charly Blackburn
Finn Boxer
Francesca Costa
Lorna Crouch
Jo Danzig
James Fowler
Melanie Gautier
Emanuela Giacole
Michael Hall
Megan Hatto
Patrick Heffernan

Xi-Mali Kadeena-Guscoth
Valia Katsis
Sarah Kent
Tom Kim
Emma LD
Amy Mauvan
Lucrezia Pazi
Juan Sanchez Plaza
Irene Sinou

Elina Ahkmetova
Pauline Superville
Jean-Charles Wadja


Rocio Ayllon - Artistic Director

Elina Ahkmetova - Choreography
Karolina Burlikowska - Photography & Art Direction
Emma LD - Graphic Design & Production
Satu Streatfield - Lighting Design & Research
Jack Wates - Scenography & Production
Antonio Beatriz - Sound Design
James Fowler - Script Development
Kerem Asfuroglu - Lighting Design & Logistics
Maria Armanda Gonclaves - Production
Vaskar Kayastha - Production


Dr. Ruth Cherrington - Historian & Researcher
Olga Lagun - Film & Video


Antonio Beatriz - Guitar, Drums
Finn Boxer - Vocals, Guitar, Bass Guitar
Louise Greenfield - Vocals
Xi-Mali Kadeena-Guscoth - Percussion
Femi Oriogun-Williams - Bass, Vocals, Percussion, Clarinet


The Langham Club
The Bridge Renewal Trust
Harringay Council
New River Studios
Pallet Paradise
Enliten Architectural Lighting
Kallos Gallery


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"I have spent weeks thinking about the piece after attending. It's moving, thoughtful and gutsy (...)"

                                  - Sally .P

"Very inventive, beautiful use of the space and inclusiveness of cast members . the timeless costumes and colour tones used (...)"

                                       - Ella.P

"One of the most exciting shows I've seen this year"

                - Marcela.I

"It was amazing!! I have seen the performance three times in total, and have been wowed every time. (...)"  

                                        - Elizabeth. A

"The candidate was fantastic. It was never always clear whether something was reality or an artistic construct (...)"

                                     - Pav.T

"The Candidate was mesmerizing, beguiling, immersive"

           - Rachel.B

Documentation The Candidate

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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." 

                                                                - Satu Streatfield


Part of working site-specifically is about dialoguing with, and potentially around, the uniqueness of what the space and its architecture have to offer. The show’s narrative and scenography emerged from the place.

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Official trailer The Candidate, 2019


The show involved about 25 performers, aged 21–84, five live musicians and several designers. A couple of the club’s long-standing members performed in the show too, including the bingo lady, who starred as herself.

Langham Club memberships documents 

Shows and performances are developed using ‘devised theatre’ techniques. Together with the choreographer we run months of dance, improvisation, role-play workshops and theatre games with performers in situ to gradually develop their characters and the narratives.

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I saw acceptance in the eyes of the long- term members because here was a younger generation, an enjoyment of this new lease of life. Some may have been wary and wondered what was happening but bringing new members to the Club and getting new activities going was ultimately to everyone’s benefits. A long hoped-for and elusive revival was underway. A dramatic one, in more ways than one, really! The Langham Club is witnessing a revival now, and this is going to continue- watch this space!   - Ruth Cherrington, Working Men's Club Historian


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