LSPA to perform ‘Stuart Little’ this week

Published 9:45 am Tuesday, April 9, 2024

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Puppets run in the family for professional puppeteer Avery Jones.

“My father was a youth pastor and had his own puppet ministry,” he said. “I grew up with puppets and love being creative with them.”

He’s sharing that passion as puppet director and puppet design/construction chief puppeteer for Lafayette Theatre Academy’s production of the children’s classic, “Stuart Little,” running April 11-13 at Lafayette Society for Performing Arts.

Jones, who calls Pine Mountain home, has created 21 creatures and props for the show, utilizing everyday items such as a plastic Easter egg, Christmas ornament, water bottles and tube socks. 

He said he also used a 3D printer for parts of his puppets.

“Technology has finally caught up with my imagination,” he laughed.

Director Carol Cain said she has worked with Jones on other LTA productions such as “Winnie the Pooh” and “James and the Giant Peach.”

She enjoys using puppets in her shows.

“They give the actors another way of expressing themselves and their characters,” she said. “ It’s something special we can offer at LSPA.”

“Stuart Little” was penned by E.B. White, who also wrote “Charlotte’s Web.”

The story revolves around a boy named Stuart who is born to an ordinary family in New York City. He is normal in every way except that he is only 2 two inches tall and looks exactly like a mouse. 

When his best friend, a bird named Margelo, goes missing, Stuart sets out on a quest to find her.

Cain said she has a cast of 23 actors ranging in ages from 6 to 11.

“They include one kindergarten student, five first graders, five second graders, three third graders, one fourth grader, three fifth graders and five sixth graders.”

The younger actors are spotlighted in various group scenes and cameo roles throughout the show. Most of the cast portray more than one character.

“It’s been a great thing to help them learn about characterizations and how to switch into different roles,” Cain said.

Porter Scanlon, 11, plays a life-size Stuart in scenes with animals, and assists Izzy Blackston, 11, who is Stuart’s puppeteer, when he is with humans.

Izzy said she has really enjoyed working with the puppets and learning new skills.

“I like using my imagination to figure out Stuart’s facial expressions, even though I am working with a puppet,” she said. “I give him movement, but also life.”

Sakina Fidahussein, 9, has been performing in LTA productions since she was in preschool. She has six roles in “Stuart Little,” including Mrs. Gunderson, Babette the cat, Leroy, a neighbor and a puppeteer.

“All the plays we’ve done here are fun, but this one is extra fun because of all the new things we get to do,” Fidahussein said. 

“Stuart Little” runs April 11-13 with shows at 7 p.m. as well as a Saturday matinee at 2 p.m. Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for adults and are available at the LSPA box office at 214 Bull St., or online at 

Call (706) 882.9909 for more information.