Shaquille Smith was just 14 when he was stabbed to death in an unprovoked gang attack. Now the youth’s tragic murder, alongside accounts from other victims and perpetrators of knife crime has inspired the latest theatre piece from Chickenshed.

Opening this week in Southgate, before transferring next month to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Crime Of The Century is a physical dance theatre piece “that follows the stark journey, from the build up to the terrible consequences, of one fatal moment.”

Co-written and directed by David Carey and Christine Niering, the moving piece came about after a sequence of young men connected to Chickenshed were tragically murdered in knife attacks.

David tells me his childhood friend, Tom Easton, was killed in an unprovoked knife attack in Islington three years ago. Meanwhile Shaquille Smith, who became one of the youngest victims of knife crime when he was murdered last September, was in fact the nephew of Paul Morrell, Chickenshed’s education and outreach director.

Shaquille’s cousin, Daniel Banton, is a member of the ten-strong cast.

Finally, fifteen-year-old Lyle Tulloch, who attended a series of workshops run by Chickenshed, was killed in a knife attack last May.

But Crime Of The Century does not just explore the stories of victims of knife crime, but in fact everyone connected with the issue. In fact, David tells me that much of the material is based on interviews with police officers, air ambulance crews and charities working with young people, as well as the perpetrators themselves.

“We really wanted to show the complexities of this issue,” explains David. “While on the one hand we show the stark reality of this everyday violence, we also wanted to highlight why it is that one minute these kids can be a poster for the NSPCC and we feel for them, but then somwhere along the way as they grow into adolescents we lose empathy for them.”

He adds: “It’s all very well telling young people that picking up a knife is a bad thing, but at the end of the day they still have to go back to their everyday lives, which are filled with deprivation.

“So while the piece shows all the shock and horror, fear and dread connected with knife crime, it also provides a sense of the fundamental things that are needed to change the way society works.”

Crime Of The Century runs from Thursday, July 9 to Saturday, July 11, 8pm, at Chickenshed, Chase Side, Southgate. Details: 020 8292 9222, or log onto