What causes teenage crime? Welsh theatre company looks to young offenders for answers

Knife crime has increased across all parts of Wales in the past year. Police said they have found teenagers - and people even younger - carrying knives on the street.

Now, a Welsh theatre company has been researching why teenagers commit these kinds of crimes, for a new play, The Creature.

Company of Sirens said the play looks at where antisocial behaviour comes from, whether it is caused by people's upbringing - whether it is nature or nurture.

The play is also loosely linked to Mary Shelley's novel, Frankenstein.

In their research, director Chris Durnall and writer Lucy Gough went into young offenders' institutions in Ceredigion and Parc Prison in Bridgend. They spoke to teenagers there between the ages of 16 and 18.

Credit: Company of Sirens

Chris Durnall said many of the young offenders they met had been made to feel worthless when they were growing up and a that lot of them pointed to school as a time when things started to go wrong.

Credit: Company of Sirens

The play aims to challenge what many think about young offenders.

Actor, Jarrad Ellis-Thomas, said his mother used to be a detective chief constable and one of his friends is currently a prison guard, so he has been interested in learning about crime for a long time.

In the research for The Creature, he also spent several days speaking to young offenders in institutions.

The company said it makes sure to always keep victims of crime in mind and Jarrad said, "If you take a life, you take a life. The responsibility is in your hands. There's no taking away from that".

The team hopes this play will start a debate about the issue and help get through to people in a way that maybe figures and statistics will not.

Credit: Company of Sirens

The Creature is being performed at Chapter Arts Centre in Cardiff until 10th October and at Aberystwyth Arts Centre on 16th October.