Tea party in Wonderland

All things Alice - Hannah Grant, left, Sandra Jensen and Adrian Holroyd at Browsers.
All things Alice – Hannah Grant, left, Sandra Jensen and Adrian Holroyd at Browsers.

Alice turns 150 this year and there’s to be a tea party in Wonderland – otherwise known as Browsers Bookshop. Annette Taylor finds out more.

“There will be tea, there will be cake, as well as Alice herself roving around with the March Hare, the Mad Hatter and many other characters,” says Sandra Jensen, managing director of Freelunch Street Theatre.

The event, held at Browsers Bookshop on Sunday 14 June, is to celebrate the 150th publication anniversary of Alice in Wonderland, and holding a tea party was an obvious idea.

“The tea party is such a classic part of the book. It will start in the late afternoon, and people are welcome to just come and hang out, there won’t be a time limit. It will be a fun, relaxed event, and at some point we’ll do a book reading or two.”

The idea came about earlier this year, when she was talking with Rachel Pope of Browsers Bookshop at an Alice-themed event at the Hamilton Garden Festival.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll (Charles Lutwidge Dodgson) was published on November 26 1865, and she says it made sense to celebrate it now.

“This is a huge event, there are things happening all around the world. We decided to get in early so if other Alice-themed events come along, we can get involved in those as well. There’s talk of us being involved in Tauranga later in the year.”

She says Alice is timeless. “It’s not necessarily a children’s book. It’s aimed at all ages which is partly why it has endured. Anyone can get into it.”

Sandra Jensen is not sure at what point her own interest was sparked. “I have Alice-themed coffee plungers, mugs, clocks, Christmas decorations, tea cups, paint sets and many, many books. I stopped counting at 400. I also have Alice tattoos – I’d get more but I’m running out of room. ”

She runs Freelunch from her house in Hamilton East. It occupies, she says, the master bedroom. “There’s boxes and boxes of costumes, and trunks and wardrobes full. I vaguely know what’s in them. Nearly all of the costumes are sewn by me and a few other members. I’m not the greatest seamstress in the world but I know how to fake it, bright colours and lots of glitter are my thing.”

She won’t have to do any sewing for any Alice in Wonderland. “We have costumes aplenty, Red Queen, the Queen and King of Hearts, the dormouse… more than enough.”

The Freelunch performers are volunteering their time for the event, she says.

“It’s just a way we can say yay Lewis Carroll, come and have some fun.”

And the Gordonton connection?  A certain individual from Number 8 Network is to be the White Rabbit.  She better not be late.

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2 thoughts on “Tea party in Wonderland

  • June 12, 2015 at 11:17 am

    Late? For a very important date?

    • June 13, 2015 at 5:14 pm

      I always am, Gayle! Must hop faster!


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