Show at Norwich Arts Centre puts spotlight on dealing with depression

17:07 15 April 2014

A show putting the spotlight on the issue of depression is taking centre stage at a Norwich performance venue.

I Had A Black Dog is a book written by Matthew Johnstone, and theatre company Small Nose Productions is in the middle of creating a stage adaptation of the story.

The company performed a “scratch performance” last night at Norwich Arts Centre, before asking the audience for their views on how they would like to see the show develop into a full performance.

Yesterday’s Norwich performance was part of a five-date tour the Peterborough-based company is doing around the east to develop the show.

“I Had A Black Dog has become quite a famous book and it depicts one man’s struggle with depression, the dog being a metaphor for depression,” said Mark Curtis, from Small Nose Productions.

“The production is currently a collection and presentation of our early ideas for developing the book into a piece of theatre, and afterwards we are asking the audience what they think.”

He said the feedback would be used to help develop the show and also strengthen the company’s funding applications.

“I think the show could help make a real difference for people suffering from depression,” said Mr Curtis.

“For families who know people that might be suffering from depression it offers a little bit of an insight about what it is like.

“For people who are suffering from depression it offers that individual some solidarity that there are others out there, and a problem shared can often be the beginning of a way out. Acceptance is also one of the things that makes you stronger.”

Small Nose Productions is working in partnership with The Britten Partnership which has funded the research and development project.

• For more about Small Nose Productions visit

• Do you have a story about the arts in Norwich? Email arts correspondent Emma Knights at


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