28. November 2022

Supporting wellbeing and self-belief with creative learning and theatre

When used well, arts have the power to change and enrich lives. This is the belief of award winning Mortal Fools, a creative learning and theatre charity for children and young people, based in the Northumberland, UK.

All photos by Mortal Fools

Mortal Fools specialise in supporting children and young people’s creativity, wellbeing and self-belief using the medium of drama. Professional artists work as co-creators with young people and communities, helping people connect, have fun, learn and grow together.

Mortal Fools theatre productions and creative projects are all co-created with young people, and explore contemporary concerns and the realities of the world we are living in right now, drawing on themes from the children’s own lives, what they care about and what they want to change in the world.

The creative charity is supported by Kavli Trust with 200 000 euro from 2022-2024. With the funding Mortal Fools will further develop its programmes with Future Ready and contribute to the national network and expansion of Melva Digital to a minimum of 150 schools (10,000 children) in the UK.

The Future Ready Programme: Supporting young people with special needs​

The Future Ready programme is Mortal Fools practice of co-creation to develop high-quality theatre productions, films and creative projects as vehicles to develop leadership skills, confidence, communication abilities and social and emotional skills of young people with complex lives, additional educational needs, neurodiversity and disabilities to prepare them for adult life.

GETTING READY FOR THE FUTURE: Future Ready aims to not only support young people in their own skills development, developing emotional resilience and empowered decision making, but also helps the adults in their lives to be courageous about their future.
QUALITY PRODUCTIONS: Scene from a theatre production with young people in The Future Ready Programme.

Melva: Addressing anxiety

The Melva programme is a schools’ package for 7-11 year old. It consists of a film, a “choose your own adventure game”, lesson plans, resources, teacher toolkit and a full scale theatre production.

The programme has been designed with teachers, parents, mental health professionals and young people. Its purpose is to support children (aged 7-11) and the adults in their lives to talk openly about, and better understand, their mental health, emotional development, resilience and wellbeing.

COLORFUL: The programme follows the adventures of the colourful character of Melva Mapletree, “a sweet-eating, eye-rolling, aspiring-mountain-climbing, nearly 11-year-old”, as a way to teach children the language and skills to have ‘open, honest and regular’ conversations about mental health.

“Creative interventions proven to work”

“We are grateful for the investment from Kavli Trust into our Future Ready programmes and Melva. These creative interventions are proven to work, have significant impact on young people’s lives support their mental health, wellbeing and provide a safe, non-exposing scaffold in which they can make sense of the world around them,” says CEO and Artistic Director at Mortal Fools, Kiz Crosbie.

Crosbie continues: “With the funding from Kavli Trust, we have the ability to increase the scale of these programmes, in a landscape where young people are experiencing increased emotional and mental health issues and recorded rise in children’s low self-esteem, depression and sustained feelings of anger.”

She says that the charity group has ambitious plans to grow and evolve the programmes further, increasing how many young people they can meaningfully work with and new creative ways in which they do that.

“This funding will benefit both the communities we work with in the North-East, together with extending our reach to a new national audience.”


  • Mortal Fools was established in 2012 by Kiz Crosbie, who has a background as a theatre director. She leads the organisation with a team of 13 employees.
  • Mortal Fools uses drama and theatre-based approaches to support people to develop their own skills and to improve the quality of interpersonal relationships. They work with self-presence, self-confidence, emotional maturity, communication, empathy, teamwork, resilience, respect, and accountability.
  • The organisation has developed its own educational programmes and digital tools that are used by schools and institutions.

Read more:

Visit Mortal Fool’s website

Follow Mortal Fools in social media:
Instagram @mortalfoolsuk

JOURNEY: As children follow Melva’s journey and the characters she meets on her travels, they are encouraged through activities and resources to explore and learn about mental wellbeing in an accessible, non-exposing and practical way, whilst imbedding recognised mental health strategies and building emotional resilience.