"Fairy Circus" will be presented on June 29 at Le Chat Noir. Photo courtesy Le Chat Noir.
"Fairy Circus" will be presented on June 29 at Le Chat Noir. Photo courtesy Le Chat Noir.

Puppets reign at Le Chat Noir in June

It’s puppet month at Le Chat Noir with puppet camps for children (and grown-ups) as well as two performances by a world class puppet troupe.

Krys Bailey of Le Chat Noir credits puppets for giving him his first taste of theater. Growing up with the likes of “Captain Kangaroo,” “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” and of course the incomparable Jim Henson and his Muppets, Bailey saw puppets everywhere in entertainment.

“I still have the first puppet I got when I was 6 years old in 1977,” he said.

Last summer, he teamed up with Ben Snead who did puppetry with Keeter Valdick, who died in November 2023, for many years.

Read more: Master of puppetry shares knowledge in unique camp

Ben Snead with some of his puppets. Charmain Z. Brackett/Augusta Good News.

Bailey and Snead will present Matagot’s School of Stagecraft and Puppetry from June 17-21 for 8-12 year-olds and 13-16 year-olds. Not only will they learn puppetry, but campers will take part in classes on make-up special effects, stage combat and blood gags.

In addition, on June 28, there’s a session for adults called Punkin Druppets.

“Every time we posted about the kids’ camps, people said ‘that sounds fun, but it’s for kids,’” he said.

So, they held a one-night event with puppets and cocktails and the results were amazing.

“It was cathartic and fun,” he said.

People came out of their shells including one shy and soft-spoken woman who let out her silly side on the night.

“She had everyone in stitches,” he said. “She was the hit of the night.”

 People can make a basic puppet and learn tips from Ben Snead. 

 To round out the puppet focus, the Tanglewood Marionettes will present two shows June 29.

“Fairy Circus” will be at 11 a.m. The show Is primarily for children pre-kindergarten through second grade. The puppets dance, play instruments, juggle and fly through the air.

“Arabian Adventure” will be at 6 p.m.

 It’s appropriate for all ages. It begins with a demonstration to the art of puppetry where people will learn about different types of puppets.

“I saw them at the Atlanta Center for the Puppetry Arts, and it was like being a kid again,” he said.

The group got rave reviews from audience goers after last year’s Augusta performance.

Charmain Z. Brackett, the publisher of Augusta Good News and Inspiring: Women of Augusta, has covered Augusta’s news for more than 35 years and is a Georgia Press Association award winner. Reach her at charmain@augustagoodnews.com. Sign up for the newsletter here.

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