Denise was born in Portsmouth and inherited a dose of wanderlust from her Dad and a love of music from her Mum. She got her equity card with the Actor's Touring Company in the early ‘80s performing plays around the globe, including the South American continent, Israel, Greece, Yugoslavia, and the Orkney Isles. Later in England, she landed her first acting break in the title role of a Pam Gems’ premiere of La Pasionaria at the Newcastle Playhouse. There she met Josie Lawrence and Kate McKenzie and their love of late night carousing led to the formation of Denise Black and the Kray Sisters, a 3 girl harmony trio who went on to become Edinburgh Festival darlings of the ‘80s.
In 1990 Denise made her television debut in Casualty as a street hooker with a bite on her thigh and has since made appearances in Informer, Benidorm, Queer As Folk, Cucumber, Coronation Street, Emmerdale, Bad Girls, Robin Hood, Doc Martin, Small Island, Sensitive Skin, To The Ends Of The Earth, Dalziel and Pascoe, New Tricks, No Angels, Holby City, Midsummer Murders, A Touch of Frost, The Scarlet Pimpernel, Where The Heart Is, Peak Practice, The Vice, and The Bill to name but a few.
Her first film was Fred Schepesi’s great film Last Orders. She stars in Shola Amoo's stunning new film The Last Tree in cinemas from Sept 27th 2019.
In 2018 Denise won Best Performance in a Play at the UK Theatre Awards for The Cherry Orchard (Chekhov re-imagined by Gary Owen) at the Sherman Theatre. Other theatre credits include: The Deep Blue Sea (Rattigan) at Chichester Festival Theatre; The Shadow Factory (Brenton) at Nuffield Theatre; Kindertransport (Samuels) at Nottingham Playhouse; Machinal (Treadwell) at the Almeida; Winter Hill (Wertenbacker) at the Bolton Octagon; Pack at the Finborough Theatre, Sisters (a vertabim play about muslim women) at the Sheffield Crucible; Bedroom Farce (Ackbourn) at the West Yorkshire Playhouse; The Long Road (Stephenson) at the Soho Theatre; Aristo (Sherman) at Chichester Festival Theatre; The Seagull (Chekhov) at the Royal Court; Martha in Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf (Albee) at the Liverpool Playhouse; title roles in Yerma (Lorca) and Mrs Warren’s Profession (Shaw) at the Manchester Royal Exchange; The Mistress (Wesker) at the Sherman in Cardiff; The Woman Who Cooked Her Husband at the Nottingham Playhouse and Plymouth Theatre Royal; Goneril in King Lear at the Ludlow Festival and title role in La Pasionaria (Gems) at the Newcastle Playhouse.
Denise sails, sings and plays autoharp. Her albums ‘Kiss The Joy’ and 'Denise Black and the Kray Sisters' are available on iTunes.
She owns a boat called Sunya and recently crewed across the Bay of Biscay and in the Caribbean.