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All About 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: 

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. 

How do 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 those at risk of suffering from isolation. Or you may just have a love for theatre and want to explore new creative and performance skills. 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.


Workshop activities

Our workshops are always practical and fun. We are a team and encourage each other and we create a safe working environment. You are never forced to take part in activities, and we do our best to make things as accessible as we can for people’s individual needs.


*Role-play & Improvisations *Puppetry *Developing our voice *Costume design *Discussions *Exploring music in performance *Using our space *Characterisation *Script reading *Devising plays *Movement *Mask making *Performing regularly

Who are we looking for to join?

We are always looking for new members to join us. You may be someone who wants to develop your confidence, or someone whom is stuck indoors and would like to connect with others, someone who loves performing or would like to further develop your acting skills. You do not need to have any acting experience. We just ask that you are reliable, committed and share our passion in creating performances in a fun            environment.


Information Sheet:

We've put together an information sheet for anyone who is considering joining us. This can be downloaded here: 

Community and Artistic Development 

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.

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. 


All membership Enquiries should be made via Email at:

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