All About The Black Dog

Theatre Creation


The Black Dog Theatre Creation 

The Black Dog Theatre Creation was set up to experiment using theatre and performance techniques to support local people whom suffered from poor confidence, low self-esteem and/or mental health issues. It was first set up as a research project by Alfie James but quickly became a wonderful success and has since become one of Alfie James Productions popular community projects.


Inspired by the wonderful and brave Matthew Johnstone, author and animator of "The Black Dog"

To find out more about Alfie James Productions please click here: 

How we work:


Our people:

Membership and involvement with our projects is open to all. It is particularly tailored towards adults who suffer from poor confidence, self-esteem and mental health issues. We also provide support and work collaboratively with mental health organisations, carers and families of those affected by poor confidence, isolation and mental health conditions. Involvement in any of our artistic projects confers membership. Our members are at the heart of what we do. We work with members to develop confidence, independence and empowering them to take control of their lives positively and to reconnect with society.


The Black Dog Theatre Creation has employed freelance artists working on individual projects and productions. With each project we also employ a Project Leader to oversee the management of individual projects. Fees are normally included in our funding applications.



We would like to thank all our funders for the support they give us making our work possible. Creating and running projects and then developing high quality performances can often be very expensive and so we appreciate every penny. The work of raising money for these productions, and for all the workshops and social activities that the group organizes goes on constantly. If you would like to support the work of The Black Dog Theatre Creation, you can donate to us using the button at the top of this page. Alternatively, if you would prefer to get in touch with us directly then please drop us an email.


In 2017/18 we have received funding from the Arts Council England Grants for the Arts,

Essex Community Foundation, Brentwood Community Foundation and Alfie James Productions



The Black Dog Theatre Creation is run by Alfie James Productions and its Board of Trustees. Their last AGM meeting was held on the 6th February 2018 at the Colchester Christian Spiritualist Church, Colchester. The following candidates were elected or endorsed as Trustees for the period of 12 months from the date elected.


Kelle Lomas (Chair)

Timothy Wood 

Gary Wade 


Annual Reports:

At the end of each project we create an Annual Report as part of our evaluation process and continued development. Copies of these reports can be downloaded (Word document) here:



BDTC: THE SAFE PROJECT (June-November 2014)




BDTC: TEECHERS PROJECT (September 2015-February 2016)








BDTC: RADIO PLAYS PROJECT (February - July 2018) 

BDTC: PILOT STUDY IN ST OSYTH (September - Novemember 2018) 

BDTC Living Wild Project Colchester

(February - August 2019) 

What we do:

We create and run projects which use performance techniques to support people who suffer from poor confidence, self-esteem and mental health issues. Each project normally runs for six-months each time. It is then formally reviewed and subject to further funding. The structure of our projects normally takes the form of:


  1. Creating a group of approximately 15 members.

  2. Running weekly workshops

  3. Developing a focused artistic theme chosen by the members e.g. working with puppets.

  4. Devising a performance.

  5. Performing a theatrical piece to the public including a meet and greet session / talk back session.

  6. Evaluation workshop including next steps.


With each project we try to focus upon developing ways of developing our existing and new audiences. (Including our members and those attending our performances) We currently have three project locations: Colchester, Bethnal Green (London) and Brentwood. In 2018 we will be collaborating with the Quay Theatre Sudbury to further develop a project in Suffolk.


Our Core Aims:


1. Develop / Build confidence and self-esteem in a fun, supportive environment.

2. Raise awareness of mental health issues through performance techniques and promote positive social change.

3. To explore performance techniques.

4. Work as a team, inspiring and supporting others.

5. Produce at least one performance a year. 

"I had a black dog, his name was Depression"

by Matthew Johnstone 

Supporting and engaging the local community:

The Black Dog Theatre Creation is committed to supporting the local community and local residents by providing a support service which aims to:

-Support local residents suffering from poor confidence, self-esteem and mental health issues.

-Offer support to carers and those affected by mental health issues.

-Providing a group which works with other support organisations to combat isolation and helping people to reconnect with their local community. 

-Raising awareness of mental health issues and working towards positive social change. 

We offer:

-A free supportive theatre group which meets regularly (Weekly during project times) 

-An supportive, safe and friendly environment which has easy access for our participants and artists. 

-Opportunities for participants and artists to work together.

-Encourage people to learn new skills and share existing skills.

-Opportunities for community volunteers. 

-Participants to develop core social skills and to have a voice within their local community. 

-Develop positive health and well-being.

-Encourage participants to get involved in fun fundraising and social activities. 

A Copy of our current 2019 Artistic Quality and Community Development Plan can be downloaded here:

Artistic Quality and Development:

The Black Dog Theatre Creation is firstly a theatre group which aims at exploring, developing and applying performance techniques to support people suffering from mental health issues and poor confidence. We are committed to developing our artistic quality through our projects by:

-Developing partnerships with artists and performance companies to support our continued development.

-Identifying and exploring a different performance technique with each individual project which we lead. 

-Encouraging our participants to learn and to develop new artistic skills. 

-Encouraging and supporting the development of local emerging artists. 

-Developing existing and new audiences through our Public Engagement strategy.

-Raising awareness of social issues affecting society through the use of performance techniques. 

A Documentary from our first pilot study created by Ned and Paddy Woodcraft

We are currently working as a group to develop a new short film about The Black Dog Theatre Creation

All membership Enquiries should be made via Email at: