Mrs. Claus & More
Volunteer Janey Richards’ Tea-time Theatrics
Pop by the Mansion at Strathmore on a Tuesday and Wednesday, and you’re likely to find Janey Richards, with her blue-streaked bangs, checking in tea guests at the front desk. However, you might also spot Richards, a dedicated Strathmore volunteer, drawing on her theatrical background to perform at specialty teas. This December, she’ll reprise her role as Mrs. Claus for the holidays, a tradition she’s upheld for more than a decade.
WHY DO YOU ENJOY VOLUNTEERING AT TEA IN THE MANSION?
The camaraderie I share with my fellow volunteers and the staff is remarkable. It’s a group of smart, capable women who enjoy working together in this beautiful, historic home, serving delicious food to lovely guests who’ve come to have a delightful afternoon tea and listen to live music. Seriously, what’s not to like?
OCCASIONALLY YOU DRESS UP IN CHARACTER FOR THEMED TEAS. WHO HAVE YOU PORTRAYED, AND WHICH HAVE BEEN YOUR FAVORITES?
I take part in various specialty teas, including Emily Dickenson, Edgar Allen Poe, Shakespeare, Jane Austen, and Charles Dickens. I’ve also helped create the Downton Abbey Tea, the Haunted Tea, and the Historical Tea, actively participating in those as well. Children’s teas have been very special, too. Dressing up as Mrs. Claus, the Queen of Strathmore, and Corduroy Bear is fun! I wish I could choose a favorite, but quite frankly, I cannot. Strathmore tea guests are such a wonderful audience to perform for; it is pure joy sharing each and every script.
WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT PLAYING MRS. CLAUS?
I love it when the children are convinced that my character is real. Several times I’ve heard older siblings explaining to younger siblings that I am the true Mrs. Claus and the one at some other location was fake. These sorts of comments are so endearing!
Photos by Ryan Walker