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The Butterfly Lion a "Roaring success"

Our Colchester group recently took to the stage with a rather special performance of a retelling of the story "The Butterfly Lion" inspired by the book by Michael Morpurgo. The performance was the end of our 6-month project in 2022 where we explored puppetry and mask making. Our sell-out performance received positive reviews from all our audience members of all ages. 


“All my life I’ll think of you, I promise I will. I won’t ever forget you.”


Following on from last year’s successful production of “Friend or foe,” The Black Dog Theatre Creation are back with an adaptation of the much-loved story of “The Butterfly Lion” by Michael Morpurgo. Bertie recues an orphaned white lion cub from the African veld. They quickly become inseparable until Bertie is sent to boarding school far away in England and the lion is sold to a circus. Bertie swears that one day they will see one another again, but it is the butterfly lion which ensures that their friendship will never be forgotten. Using puppets, this is a new special retelling of the story specially performed for free to the local community by members of the Black Dog Theatre Creation. 


Recorded live at the Kelvedon Institute.



Ryan English as Bertie

Heather-Mae Cutts as Millie

Pauline Warren as Older Millie

Kitty Whitley as Michael & Mother

Charlie Waytock as Basher, Father & Soldier

Edd Paris as The Frenchman & Soldier

Natasha Warner as Nanny Mason & Sister

Gary Wade as Deakin & Colonel

Timothy Wood as Bannister & The Cafe Owner

Philip Antony as Older Michael

Hyenas: Edd Paris, Natasha Warner , Gary Wade & Heather-Mae Cutts


And Alfie James as the Lion Puppeteer


From the book by Michael Morpurgo

Adapted & Directed by Alfie James

Puppets created by Puppet Soup & Madeleine Ockendon

Lighting & Sound by Andrew Forsyth

Front of House by Madeleine & Barry Ockendon


Kindly supported by

The Arts Council, England

Colchester Borough Council

Asda Community Foundation

Alfie James Productions

About Us

"A unique, special theatre project"

The Black Dog Theatre Creation is a special not-for-profit theatre group set up and run by Alfie James Productions which aims at using performance skills to support people suffering from poor confidence, anxiety and to help to reduce the risk of people becoming isolated. It is also open to those who simply love being creative, learning new theatre skills and staging plays regularly. Now in its sixth year it is slowly growing and is building its reputation as being a wonderful, positive, and successful group. We currently have two groups in Colchester and Camden, London and we often run short bite-size projects in Brentwood and Suffolk. We develop small projects, workshops and performances and work with other artists to offer our members the opportunity to engage in a wide range of artistic skills. Our projects are free to access and open to all.

To find out more about us click here: 


Covid Update


Firstly, we would like to thank everyone for all of your kind continued support over the past eighteen months.


Now that restrictions have been limited, we are really pleased that things are beginning to get back to normal. We know that it is going to take time for everything to return to ‘normality’ and that many of our project members, team and our audiences will still be understandably apprehensive. This is why we will still be working with our members and teams for each project to collaboratively put together a risk assessment / plan of action for returning back to normal. For the time being we will still ask everyone to sanitize their hands, to social distance where possible, to sign into our workshops, rehearsals and meetings. (For track and trace purposes) Everyone will be given the option to decide whether they would like to wear their face mask during our activities. Where possible, our workshops and performances will be held outside.


Alfie James, Artistic Director






Join in the thrilling adventures of Fantastic Mr Fox and his friends as they try to outwit the beastly farmers Boggis, Bunce and bean - while they try to outwit him!


Over the past couple of months, the Black Dog Theatre Creation and The Regents Park Singers have joined forces to put together something rather special to celebrate being able to come out of lockdown and to say a big thank you to the local community. We have been rehearsing a special adaptation of Roald Dahl's story FANTASTIC MR FOX. 


With puppets, oral storytelling, songs and the odd rap - this really was a performance not to be missed. We performed to sell-out audiences at the H-Pod in Cumberland Market,  Bloomsbury Square and Pond Square. All performances were free and we received positive feedback from everyone who came.  

You can now see some of the pictures and find out more about the project on our London group page by clicking below. 

In the meantime, you can also watch a special recording of our performance at Pond Square above. 

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Our Colchester group took to the stage in our first performance art the Kelvedon Institute performing the classic story "Friend or Foe" by Michael Morpurgo. It was our first live performance since Covid and it was so much fun.  

Evacuated from London, David and Tucky feel like the war is a long way away from their new life in the Devon countryside. Then one night the skyline of the moor is lit up with gun flashes, and the distant crump of bombing miles away brings the war back to them and shatters their new-found peace.


David - Charlie Whytock

Tucky - Kitty Whitley

Mother - Pauline Warren

Miss Evers - Karen Black

Station Master - Gary Wade

Paul - Timothy Wood

Sam - Amber-Lou Wallis

Anne - Pauline Warren

Ethel - Karen Black

Mr Cooper - Amber-Lou Wallis

Captain Frank - Timothy Wood

German Pilot 1 - Gary Wade

German Pilot 2 - Amber-Lou Wallis

And Alfie James

as Mr Reynolds


Based on the book "Friend or Foe" by Michael Morpurgo

Directed by Alfie James

Lighting & Sound by Alex Ray

Stage Manger - Edd Paris

Front of House by Madeleine & Barry Ockendon


Supported by The Arts Council England

Colchester Borough Council

Asda Community Foundation

Alfie James Productions


Our Black Dog Theatre Creation Colchester group have just finished creating a new audio play of the classic book "Animal Farm" by George Orwell which we hope to offer to local schools as a free educational resource. 

The animals of Manor Farm drive out the farmer and run the farm themselves. A revolution. And then what? Then freedom. Every animal will be free. Old Major, the prize boar, calls the animals of Manor Farm together. He has had a strange dream of a better future. George Orwell’s world-famous fable tells the story of a revolution and its aftermath.



The Storyteller - Sophie Weaver

Mr Jones - Charlie Whytock

Old Major & Minimus - Alfie James

Boxer - Pauline Warren

Hens - Kitty Whtley

Cows & Cat - Alfie James

Clover - Kitty Whitley

Napoleon - Kitty Whitley

Snowball - Charlie Whytock

Squealer - Edd Paris

Sheep & Mollie - Kitty Whitley

Murrell - Pauline Warren

Benjamin - Edd Paris

Pigeons - Kitty Whitley

Moses - Pauline Warren

Fractions - Charlie Whytock

Pigs - Alfie James

Mr Whymper & Mr Pilkington - Alfie James


Written by George Orwell

Based on the adaptation by Peter Hall

"Beasts of England" Music arranged by Philip D and Marco A

Directed by Alfie James


Supported by:

The Arts Council England

Colchester Borough Council

Asda Community Foundation


A special thanks to:

Gary Wade

Timothy Wood

Madeleine & Barry Ockendon

Since we began the Black Dog Theatre Creation we have been incredibly lucky to have been supported by the many organisations including:

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