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.
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 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.
We’ve raised more than £200k to bring Melva to young people everywhere
In 2019, we developed Melva into a touring theatre package for schools, in partnership with regional charity, Children North East – reaching more than 2,800 children. Then, when the pandemic hit in March 2020, we re-developed the programme again, this time creating our online game and film packages. Now, our online melva package is available for children everywhere, to better support their wellbeing needs in the aftermath of the pandemic.
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 theatre and drama to advance the mental health education of children, young people, their significant adults and the general public to improve general mental wellbeing.
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 Film 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. For 2020/21, they are supporting us to get the Melva programme into primary schools Nationally.
Funding and support:
Find out more about all our Melva products and their benefits
The Melva programme 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.