Melva and Barnabus from the live Melva show

Brave isn’t
how you feel,
it’s what you do.

MELVA is a fun and accessible creative intervention, supporting children (aged 7-11) and the adults in their lives to talk openly about – and better understand – their mental health, emotions and wellbeing.

Meet Melva
Melva and her Grandpa from the Melva game

Testimonials

What people are saying
about Melva…

“Melva is simply the best drama intervention I have ever seen […] the rewards are instant and long-lasting.”
Headteacher
“I learned that being afraid of something doesn’t mean you can’t do it.”
Young Participant
“As a sufferer of anxiety and a worrier from a young age, I can’t tell you how important the show is for young (and old) audiences.”
Audience Member
“The children love the character of Melva. The format is engaging, the game is attractive, and it explores topics like anxiety in a relaxed and fun way.”
Deputy Headteacher
“The game provides lots of practical and workable solutions for helping with childhood anxiety and everyday worries.”
NE family fun

Why Melva works

Melva wrapped in a foil blanket from the Melva live show

Normalising mental
wellbeing and ‘worrits’

What we call worries

Melva helps children understand that they are not alone in experiencing ‘worrits’ – everybody feels this way sometimes and it is a normal part of life.

More info
A photograph from the live Melva show where Melva is pulling on some rope and some school children are watching

Giving young people a voice and vocabulary

Melva provides children and the adults around them with child-friendly, accessible language to talk about mental wellbeing and their emotions together.

More info
Melva, in the live Melva show, surrounded by school children

Practical strategies to support wellbeing

Fun, creative and engaging games and activities provide children with a toolkit of simple self-care techniques and practical ways to manage their ‘worrits’ and understand their emotions.

More info
Children watching the Melva feature film in a classroom

Simple to use, readymade resource

Supportive user guides and accompanying resources help bring Melva to life in the classroom or at home, making the Melva programme easy for anybody to use and implement.

More info
A child playing the Melva game on a laptop

Ongoing positive impact through connection with others

The stories, games and activities in Melva provide young people and adults with shared experiences through which they can talk about mental health together – minimising the feelings of isolation associated with worry and anxiety

How Melva works

The power of
storytelling

In the Melva programme, children go on a shared journey with Melva Mapletree, as she learns how to recognise, understand and manage her worrits.

By learning through Melva’s adventure – and the characters she meets along the way – children are given a vehicle to talk about, explore and learn openly about mental wellbeing, in a way that is accessible, non-exposing and practical.

Great for schools
Melva and Barnabus in the live Melva show

Feature film

The original Melva story is reimagined for film, with extra special stage and filmic effects to create magical moments not possible in the live show. The story is split into 3 episodes with wraparound activities, so children can take part from their classroom, anywhere, anytime.

The full-length film will also be available to watch at home or in theatres/cinemas for a limited time only. See our events page for upcoming screenings.

More info
Great for families
A still from the Melva game

Interactive Game

In this choose-your-own-adventure style game – Melva Mapletree and the Quest for Barnabas Boggle – children take on the role of Melva’s ‘Niggling Voice’, tasked with making the right choices to help find her missing best friend, Barnabas.

This Melva adventure follows on from the original story, with the emphasis shifting to exploring relationships and supporting others, whilst still looking out for yourself.

More info
Great for schools
A photograph from the live Melva show

Live Show

In the live theatre show, children are immersed in the original Melva story and its themes over the course of 1 day in their school. Children get an unforgettable, live performance experience, with opportunities to meet the characters and take part in pre and post-show activities that help embed learning.

The live show is not currently available, but you can sign up to our mailing list for future updates

More info
A child playing the Melva game on a laptop
“The writer has covered every single element of our mental health training, totally at child level”
Headteacher

Not just fun and
games…

Melva is fun, creative, and incredibly engaging but, most importantly, it is rooted in legitimate mental health research and it’s proven to work.

The themes explored directly link to the current relationships, sex and health education (RSHE) curriculum, and the programme tackles real-life issues in a fun and accessible way.

Behind the scenes of the Melva live show

About the project & its creators

Melva was originally created in 2017 by writer, Danielle Burn, as a children’s Christmas show.

The positive response from audiences was overwhelming, and feedback showed that watching the play helped families talk more openly about mental wellbeing.

In 2019, the play was developed into a robust intervention offer for schools, with new wraparound activities and a deeper embedding of Mental Health First Aid themes and strategies.

Melva game shown on iPad
The Melva Game shown on an iPad with the tag "iPad friendly"

Melva is a
great option for
families too!

As well as being a great resource for schools, the Melva online programme is also available for families, individuals and community groups to use at home or in their setting. You can:

  • Buy a family license for Melva Mapletree and the Quest for Barnabas Boggle
  • Watch the full-length Melva feature film at a cinema, theatre or community venue near you.
More info
A child playing the Melva game on a computer