CRACKED, a moving, thought-provoking play about vulnerability, mental wellbeing and the universal need for love, is touring to Merlin Theatre at Pembrokeshire College in Haverfordwest next week.

Set in Wales, it follows the story of Mick, an introverted geology teacher whose critical inner voice and resulting inability to connect with the adults around him lead him to forge an inappropriate friendship with an unruly pupil.

It raises the questions: how do we know when we have crossed the line, and would we even know that we had crossed a line?

Charting Mick’s life from childhood trauma to adult crisis, the play features elements of magical realism, with Mick’s inner voice being personified by a crow-like figure played by Catriona James and childhood Mick represented in flashback by a puppet, brought to life by Tom Mumford, who also plays Mick as an adult.

The remainder of the cast are Joe Wiltshire Smith, Dick Johns and Frances Keyton. As well as a recorded soundscape, the production features live music from Frances on violin.

Continuing a creative development begun with her prize-winning play Buoy, writer and poet Emily Hinshelwood reunites with producers Pontardawe Arts Centre and award-winning director Louise Osborn to present this powerful story about overcoming loss, grief and shame.

Emily was the first winner of Pontardawe Arts Centre’s annual Script Slam competition in 2013. Following this success, she has worked with the arts centre to develop Cracked through the venue’s Arts Council of Wales-funded Chrysalis programme.

Cracked has been developed over a three-year period, during which it has been shared with live audiences to gain feedback on the delicate issues explored in the play.

“Emily and I have been working together over several years to bring this important play to production readiness,” says Osborn.

“My job is to lift the text from page to stage in a way that draws out the complexity of the relationships conveying truthfully and bitingly what’s at stake for the different characters, and also serving the meaning of the text in all its layers.

“Thematically and theatrically rich, the play explores how our unconscious drives and strategies can sometimes dominate our lived reality – how our powerful ‘inner critic’ can become self-limiting and destructive.”

You can also join Emily Hinshelwood for a pre-show workshop on 'Your character's worst nightmare' at Pembrokeshire College at 4.30pm in advance of the performance. Workshop tickets are free for theatre ticket holders.

Tickets for the show on Wednesday, February 13, are available online at or by phone on 01834 869323.