CHILDREN across Northumberland will be encouraged to join in the conversation about mental health thanks to funding which will allow a production by a Prudhoe-based theatre company to head into schools.

Mortal Fools first showed its production, Melva, at Christmas 2017 at a pop-up theatre it created on Prudhoe’s Front Street.

Written by Danielle Burn, it tells the story of 10-year-old Melva who struggles with the idea of being brave, and undertakes an adventure which shows her what she is really capable of.

Mortal Fools’ artistic director Kiz Crosbie said: “The feedback we got from the audience was that not only did they love it, but it was getting children talking about mental and emotional health in a way that was really relaxed and allowed them to have easier conversations about things which are quite difficult to talk about.”

Now, thanks to nearly £50,000 in funding from Arts Council England, Melva will be developed into a theatre package which will be delivered in schools.

The team behind it will stay the same, although Kiz will take over the director role from former director Anna Ryder. And the theatre package sees Mortal Fools teaming up with children’s charity Children North East, to make the most of their expertise in children’s mental health.

Because as well as the show, the team will be spending a whole day in each school, also delivering four workshops to help youngsters delve into the themes within the play. They will also be supporting schools with lesson plans and resources.

Kiz said 25 schools across Northumberland had already shown an interest, with the project to take place in Autumn 2019 and Spring 2020, reaching around 3,000 children. The funding will mean schools will only have to pay a small fee, as the cost will be largely subsidised by the grant.

The show will then head to Gosforth Civic theatre next year.