Silk Road (How to buy Drugs Online). Josh Barrow (Bruce Blakemore). Credit - Nick Rutter
Silk Road (How to buy Drugs Online). Josh Barrow (Bruce Blakemore). Credit - Nick Rutter

Shrapnel Theatre has announced the return of Alex Oates’ Silk Road (How to Buy Drugs Online), the first production to be funded through the cryptocurrency Bitcoin. Dominic Shaw directs Josh Barrow (Bruce Blakemore) at Trafalgar Studios, Tuesday 7 August to Saturday 1 September.

Meet Bruce Blakemore, a struggling young Geordie tech-head and the unlikeliest international criminal mastermind you can imagine. From his base in Whitley Bay, Bruce and his Nan will find themselves sucked into an Underworld Wide Web of new-age pirates, local gangsters and tea-cosies.

Inspired by interviews with real online drug vendors, Alex Oates’ piece is about the freedoms and danger of an unrestricted Dark Web and its impact on a teenager finding his way in the world.

Following a call-out on the real Silk Road forums for contributions to the original production’s crowd funding campaign, an anonymous donor donated two Bitcoin. Playwright Alex Oates reinvested the Bitcoin and through this funded runs at Edinburgh Festival Fringe, VAULT Festival and Live Theatre, Newcastle.

Alex Oates said today, “Back in 2014 Bitcoin was a bit of a novelty so I couldn’t be more thrilled that Silk Road (How to Buy Drugs Online), which was initially made possible through an anonymous donation of Bitcoin, is back with a run at Trafalgar Studios this summer. It seems clear that Bitcoin is here to stay and it was a great honour to be the first play funded by cryptocurrency – it undoubtedly won’t be the last.”

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