Who made Melva… and why?

It took a lot of hard work from a lot of brilliant people to make Melva. Read on to find out more about the Melva creators and how Melva came to be.

A photograph from the live Melva show

Where Melva

Melva began its journey early in 2017, when writer, Danielle Burn, sent Mortal Fools’ Artistic Director, Kiz Crosbie, an email telling her about an idea she had for a children’s theatre show, along with a short extract.

The concept was a story about a young girl – Melva Mapletree – and her struggles with day to day anxieties (or ‘worrits’ as they were known in Melva’s world).

A photograph of the Front street theatre

A story about a girl and her struggles with day to day anxieties

Kiz saw huge potential in Melva and, by Christmas 2017, Mortal Fools had supported Danielle to write her first full-length play.

Melva was performed more than 20 times, to sold out audiences, in a pop-up theatre space on Prudhoe High Street in Northumberland. The audience response was truly overwhelming, and we knew more people had to see it.

Highlights of Melva so far…


Times we’ve performed Melva live


Post-show workshops delivered

30+ hours

Of teacher CPD focusing on wellbeing and resilience delivered


Schools who saw Melva live


Schools currently participating in Melva Digital


children worked with to help them better understand, recognise, and control their worrits

Behind the scenes of the live Melva show

Who are
Mortal Fools?

Mortal Fools is a theatre, drama and creative learning company, who make theatre with the purpose of helping people develop positive connection and relationships, through shared experiences.

We run creative projects and activities all year round for children and young people across the North East of England, using theatre and drama to help develop their skills, capacity and capabilities to enable them to participate fully in society as responsible, mature and fulfilled individuals.

Through Melva, we aim to use storytelling and creative activities to advance the mental health education of children, young people, their significant adults and the general public to improve general mental wellbeing.

See our other projects

Find out more about Mortal Fools and our work

More info

Our partners have helped us expand Melva

Vida Creative are a branding and digital agency, who helped us create our full online Melva package. They illustrated, designed, and developed our interactive online game, Melva Mapletree and Quest for Barnabas Boggle, and created the online web portal for our Melva Digital Package (as well as creating this beautiful brochure website). In 2021, our partnership with Vida Creative won us a North East Culture Award for Best Arts and Business partnership.

Meerkat Films are a film production company, whose expertise and hugely talented crew of producers, directors, editors and camera operators helped us transform the live Melva stage show into a full-length theatre for film piece.

Children North East exists because growing up can be hard; they work with children and young people in their families, schools and communities to ensure they grow up to be healthy and happy and provide support at challenging times. Children North East supported our 2019/20 live school’s tour of Melva and co-facilitated Melva workshops in classrooms, and together we developed our hybrid, therapeutic intervention model for schools: Worrit Warriors.

This 5-week intervention provided specialised additional support for small groups of referred children at risk of engaging in harmful behaviours, to 115 children, across 12 schools in Newcastle and Gateshead.

Funding and support:

Funding partner logos: Arts council england, Here For Culture, Northumberland County Council, Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group, North of Tyne Combined Authority, Kavli Trust
Melva game shown on iPad

The Melva Digital Package

Find out more about the full Melva package and its benefits

MELVA has been developed in ongoing consultation with children, teachers and families since 2017, and is available for you to use in your own setting now.

Melva and Barnabus from the live Melva show