$ How to Start a Knife Gang $

$ How to Start a Knife Gang $
(working title)

Welcome to this, our backroom project page… a place to land for early-interest potential partners.

$ How to Start a Knife Gang $ (working title) as a text, combines the high intensity interspersed multilayered verbal dialogueof  The Last Lunch, (Best New Play, New Writing South 2012), the pacey energy reminiscent of Trainspotting and The Prodigy, and the issues surrounding diverse communities, battling with expectations, ambition, poverty, identity, issues of masculinity, and self betterment.

$ Longlisted $: The Bruntwood Prize 2019

$ Selected $: for the “Pitch Up” Event Oct 2019 @ The Place, London, hosted by Farnham Maltings & House Theatre Org.


$ Rehearsed Reading $: Lewes, Sept 2019.

Meet Flint, an excluded mixed-race teen, starting to deal on the streets, elevate his status with weapon upgrades, and get back into the good books of old childhood sweetheart, Book.

Flint = Ben Cawley (in our rehearsed reading)

Meet Book, a studious black teen, babysitter for Flint’s younger sister, keen to exit the deprivation of her road, study her way to become a surgeon, move to the suburbs, and keep clear of the skanky Flint, who’s def gonna bring her chances… down.

Book = Nicole Acquah

Meet Bragg, street dealer, a boy beyond redemption, egging on young crew member Flint to ever deeper commitment to the fam, to higher value sales, and to proving his colours by not just carrying a shank, but using it… properly.

Bragg, = William Neam


Meet Shania, pregnant black teen, friend to Book, and member of Bragg’s crew. How Shania was initiated into the gang, holds the food, and meets the dealers is nothing to some of what she’s witnessed. Now, she doesn’t sleep.

Shania = Laura Graham Clarke

Meet Chantal, mother to Flint, and decoupage expert. She worries about Flint, never sees him, but isn’t about to easily let Flint’s dad back into his life.

Chantal = Vanessa Cruikshank

Meet Danny, Childline listener, outreach worker, gardener in the suburbs, former dealer, gang member, convict and estranged father to Flint. Danny’s on a journey back to his son. Will he find Flint before Flint loses himself?

Danny = Brad Glen

Meet Carol,  outreach & youth worker and girlfriend to Danny. Carol hears the worst of people’s stories and maybe about to experience the worst excesses of Shania’s baby’s father.

Carol = Claire Johnson



Meet Angel, gangland chief, and psycho anti-mentor. He’ll initiate all his boys and girls into the tribe and hold them close with disturbing gratification. Angel’s about to invite Flint round for darjeeling tea, to elevate his sales techniques, and help him with a monsta weapons upgrade.

Angel = Jonathan Brown


Rehearsed Reading 26th Sept 2019 Fitzroy House, Lewes.



Something Underground:… Who are we?

Please visit our About (Here) and Accolades (Here) pages.

Our most recent project? Of Our Own Making.

In 2019 Something Underground ran a £60K budget, ACE-funded, mid-scale project “Of Our Own Making” …a play about refugees, radicalisation, home-grown terrorism, ISIS, Brexit, tabloids and more.

Developed in partnership & support from  Pitch Up & Farnham Maltings. South Hill Park, Tara Theatre, many Wandsworth Youth Groups, ABandOfBrothers (who work across the country, with young men at risk of involvement in the criminal justice system) and Helen Parlor of MOTUS dance.

Within the Project we ran free dance & physical theatre workshops for local boys alongside Helen Parlor …and youth mentoring organisation A Band Of Brothers and we incorporated the boys’ work within the production……a visceral performance that ran 20 performances (Feb 2019) at award-winning Tara Theatre…& with music specially composed by Dirk Campbell (RSC, Harry Potter, The Mummy).

Click here for a  full & deeper overview of our OOOM Project.

What now?
Our next project is about Gang Culture & Knife Crime. It’s called How to Start A Knife Gang (working title) and it revolves around a text, but again wishes to include visceral dance and physicality.

The Project will have two main strands:

(i) Performance: Something Underground wants to… Rehearse & perform How to Start a Knife Gang either at venues throughout the UK, or for extended runs at fewer venues.

(ii) Community Engagement:

We will:…


Engage teens from around venues.
Run a series of free day-long workshops on issues of knife crime, gangs, youth culture.
Workshop those participants in krump-related dance.
Include support from youth mentoring projects, YOT’s & youth groups.
Culminate by including joint public performances by the participants and the professional performers.
Create a legacy of ongoing connection between local dance teachers & young people.

And / Or….

Co-produce the piece with a company that has a pre-existing youth crew who have the skills to cope with the demands of the text.

We are going to…

Hold a Rehearsed Reading of the play (done)
Get Longlisted for a National Prize (done)
Seek Partners, Leaders, Collaborators, Venues (ongoing)
Apply for significant Project Grants funding, with partners (funding application process likely through spring / summer 2020)
Run the Project in multiple cities / towns, (likely from late Autumn 2020, Spring 2021.)

We’re particularly interested to work with Street and Krump dance teachers / choreographers, with assistant directors, with venue managers who would like to programme us, with youth advocacy groups, with youth offending teams.

“…powerful, gripping, touching… “ Giulia Menichelli

“…a powerful performance, with wonderful acting.”  Maya Cockburn

“…an outstanding piece of work about gang culture, knife crime, racial divides and moments of childhood shame that you never truly shake off” Brad Glen

Potential Partners to date:
Hakeem Onibudo @ Impact Dance: Youth Dance Partnership
Sunanda Biswas @ Grounded Movement: Youth Dance Partnership
Nick Cohen (BBC, RSC, NT): Assistant Director / Script Consultant

A Band of Brothers: Mentoring and participant development.
Brighton Youth Offending Team: Consultants / County Lines issues
Anthony Hately: Lighting Design.
Millfield Arts Centre/London Borough of Enfield: Some performances & offer of rehearsal space.
Laura Graham Clarke, Ben Cawley, Nicole Acquah: Youth culture, script consultants.

Click to download script of
How To Start A Knife Crime 


This is a trailer from the wonderful film Rize that explores how the phenomena of
Clown and Krump have helped re-invigorate and support LA precincts
struggling with deprivation, gang culture and crime.