We're delighted to be working in partnership with Mortal Fools to bring theatre production MELVA to 22 schools in the North East, supporting mental health education.

'MELVA' is a project for 7-11 year olds which uses a theatre production about anxiety and worries to improve children’s understanding and personal practices for good mental and emotional health.

Mortal Fools first showed Melva at Christmas 2017, at a pop-up theatre it created on Prudhoe’s Front Street.  Now, thanks to nearly £50,000 in funding from Arts Council England, Melva has been developed into a creative theatre package coming to North East schools across 2019 & 2020.

Kiz Crosbie, Artistic Director at Mortal Fools, said

When I was first sent a few pages of the MELVA script, I knew it was something special immediately. It has such soul and such relevance to the experiences of children growing up in our stressful, chaotic modern world. I am beyond thrilled that we are able to build on its successful first production, touring to schools where children don’t have easy access to great theatre and with a package to support mental health created with our new partner and friends at Children North East.

Melva tells the story of Melva Mapletree, and her churning, squirming, uncontrollable worrits (her anxiety) as she learns to take control, face her fears and become the mountaineer she’s always wanted to be.  This is a boisterous, mischievous and funny story of one girl's adventure to find out what she's really capable of which is set to reach thousands of children.

Luke Bramhall, School Research and Delivery Lead, Children North East said

One of the fundamental challenges children and young people are currently facing is the acute increase in mental health issues that are being reported and identified.

We're delighted to be working alongside Mortal Fools in rolling out the powerful and eye opening Melva production and developing a programme that surrounds this insightful theatre production.

Kiz Crosbie went on to say 

Worries and anxiety are something that affect all of us –and can have a particularly detrimental effect on children and young people. It can be really difficult to find ways to talk about our mental health, let alone ways to improve it.

We've been working for several years in North East schools delivering our BU (Be Yourself) Course which has been proven to have a positive impact on children’s ability to manage their feelings and behaviour.  The course also helps maintain their friendships, improve their confidence and self-esteem alongside their education and learning. 

In addition to showing Melva in each school, children will take part in creative engagement workshops, co-delivered by artists and Children North East, linked to the play's characters and mental health themes.  Teachers will take part in training CPD workshops and also receive creative classroom resources so that the learning and exploring mental health can continue after the show.

There are still opportunities for schools and venues to get involved with Melva and express their interest for this tour and future years.  Mortal Fools are also interested in talking to businesses interested in sponsoring/ financially supporting Melva both this year and subsequent years to secure its legacy.  Email [email protected] for more information and to connect.