Crime of the Century

Performances and Workshops for schools, colleges, Pupil Referral Units, Young Offenders’ Institutes, Prisons and more.

“The excellence of the performance, coupled with the quality of the workshop helped the children to contemplate these really difficult issues in a safe, interactive and engaging environment.”

Teacher from London Borough of Tower Hamlets (2016)

Crime of the Century is a hard-hitting, raw piece of theatre which explores the issues surrounding gang violence. Using words and movement alongside a contemporary score of hip-hop and dance music, the performance packs a frightening punch and acts as a positive tool in the fight against the savagery of knife crime.  

Background to the production 

Crime of the Century was created in response to a number of fatal stabbings which affected staff, students and members nine years ago. Since then, it has toured theatres and schools alongside an innovative workshop programme for secondary school students. Tragically, ongoing events around this issue have highlighted its continuing need and impact. 

Performance and workshops

Based on interviews with victims, perpetrators, families, surgeons, police officers and ex-offenders, Crime of the Century follows the journeys of Dan and Will whose paths collide at one fatal moment. Dan, a teenager who becomes involved with a gang, is sent to a Young Offender’s Institute only to come out and commit the ultimate crime - taking someone’s life. Will, a teenager with aspirations who doesn’t wish to be part of a gang, is the person whose life is taken.

The Crime of the Century team is also trained to deliver workshops which explore, in sensitive ways, the key themes of the piece which include:

  • The experiences of the victims and perpetrator
  • The reality of gangs and the impact on families
  • Possible causes and effects of actions of individuals
  • The performance techniques used to portray these

The exploration is always from an empowerment point of view to focus individuals on their ability to help effect change and improve communities by their behaviour, awareness and actions.

Performance duration: 50 minutes

Workshop duration: 60mins - 1hr 15mins

Age Recommendation

We rate the performance and workshop experience as suitable for Year 7 upwards with no upper age; the performance has inspired and been enjoyed by university and theatre audiences of adults.


"Chickenshed has helped me understand the challenge of violence because you have the chance to change yourself and get a career, or you can stay in the danger-zone and always be vulnerable. Either give yourself a chance to enhance or destroy yourself in no time and carry on with Crime.' Pupil at Oasis Academy, Enfield, autumn term 2011

'As a former teacher I was amazed and impressed at the standard of their performance and the strong message that their drama piece put across. They also led workshops with a group of ten young people from the Centre who were captivated by the true storyline and were 100% engaged with the activities. This was made possible by the skilful interaction of the members of Chickenshed and the way they were able to relate exactly to where the young people were coming from. The whole session ticked so many boxes from collaborative working, to lessons on personal and social education, to victim awareness, to awareness of knife crime, to drama techniques, to music and rhythm techniques, to literacy in the form of writing a piece that rhymed and scanned, to listening skills to rehearsing in  preparation for a performance. All in all it was probably the best evening we have put on here at the Centre that I have been involved with as it worked on so many different levels. I would highly recommend their work and hope that other institutions like ours will benefit from their input in the future."

Reverend Nick Ash, Chaplain, Medway Secure Training Centre, Kent 2015

Contact Details

For further information please contact the Outreach Programme Manager, Linda Foley.
Email: [email protected]
Tel: 020 8216 2723

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Crime of the Century Project Information and Prices