When people reach their golden years, a whole new world of activities opens up for them. Games of bridge or mah jongg with friends. Afternoons of shuffleboard or gardening. Enjoying the works of Robert Ludlum or P.D. James. (And the accompanying naps.)
But what if you’re a senior citizen who doesn’t enjoy any of these stereotypical “old people activities”? What if you’d rather keep doing the same things you enjoyed when you were younger? The Posh Club has you covered.
The UK-based nightclub caters specifically to people 60 or older–or as the club calls them, “Swanky senior citizens, elegant elders, and glamorous golden girls.” If you’re younger than 60, the club encourages you to come volunteer at their events. The oldest regular patron is Irene Sinclair, who’s 109 years old.
The Posh Club currently has five locations in London and the Southeast UK, offering weekly three-hour events where seniors can get dressed to the nines and recapture the fun they had in their youth. At The Posh Club, there’s no shame in parking your walker next to the dance floor and cutting loose.
“Night club for senior citizens” might sound like a sleepy affair, but according to event staff, it can be just as rollicking as a club that caters to the younger set. “When I first started performing here,” says Elvis impersonator Conrad Hamilton, “I thought, OAPs [retired people], relaxed gig, no problem. I could not have been more wrong. It’s the only place I’ve ever had underwear thrown at me. They were big granny’s panties.”
A typical day at The Posh Club goes something like this: the festivities kick off at noon with 1940’s-style afternoon tea, served by volunteers on vintage crockery. After tea, club goers can sip champagne and enjoy glamorous, burlesque-style performances like Hamilton’s. And then it’s time to hit the dance floor, where seniors can groove to their favorite tunes from the 1950’s and 60’s.
Having a place to dance is a big part of the appeal. “My mom was still dancing until she was 91,” says 74-year-old Posh Club attendee Mabelyn Dick. “I want to beat that–come back in 17 years and I hope I’ll still be here.”
The company started back in 2011, when nightclub promoter and performer Simon Casson’s 80-year-old mother moved to a new city. When his mother found herself lonely and isolated, Casson and his sister Annie Bowden threw her a vintage tea party to cheer her up, inviting some of her elderly neighbors. A bigger party followed, and soon it morphed into The Posh Club.
The Posh Club isn’t just about showing the elderly a good time. According to the company’s website, two million people over the age of 75 live alone in the UK. Many seniors struggle with the loneliness of isolation, and the club is a place where they can get together with people of all ages.
One enthusiastic supporter is a minister named Father Neill Walker. “[The Posh Club] gives its guests everything that is needed for human contentment: connection, laughter, physical activity,” he said. “The implications it has on improving health and well-being are extraordinary.”
Additionally, The Posh Club gives its patrons the opportunity to break away from social norms requiring them to be quiet, gentle, and “well-behaved.”
“Just because you reach a certain age, doesn’t mean you don’t want to have fun anymore,” said one of the club’s producers, Dickie Eaton. “I think society has a habit of forgetting that. A lot of what we, as younger people, do to enjoy ourselves, these guys, they’ve not only seen it and done it all, they invented most of it.”
The Posh Club has been a smashing success. The club estimates that its five locations serve about 10,000 people every year, and there’s plenty of demand for more venues.
“We’d like to open more,” says Dickie. “We get people coming here from other cities while visiting friends or relatives in Hackney, and they always say, ‘Why can’t we have something like this where we live?’ So that’s an ambition. But it would need to be quality, have the right atmosphere, and be done with love because if it doesn’t have those things it’s not The Posh Club.”
There definitely needs to be way more places like this, so hopefully the Posh Club folks expand soon. Just in case, you better teach your grandma how to twerk.