SILK ROAD: The First Play to be Funded by Bitcoin Announced at VAULT
The first play to be funded by bitcoin makes a triumphant return with its London premiere, opening VAULT Festival 2018.
"How is it delivered? That's the best bit! Royal Mail. Postman Pat brings your smack to your door with a smile and his black and white cat is none the wiser"
Bruce is nineteen, unemployed and living with his Nan. A struggling young Geordie tech-head, he's the unlikeliest international criminal mastermind you can imagine. But sucked into an underworld dark web of new-age pirates, local gangsters and tea-cosies, it isn't long before Bruce discovers how easy it is to buy narcotics online.
Set in 2014, immediately preceding and in the aftermath of the arrest of the website's alleged founder Ross Ulbricht, Silk Road was first performed at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in the same year. Ulbricht's two and half life sentences - larger than even the late Charles Manson's - have been challenged repeatedly, but without avail. In the play's coming-of-age story, the repercussions of Ulbricht's targeting by the FBI hits home as Bruce's empire unravels.
Following a callout on the real Silk Road forums for contributions to the original production's crowdfunding campaign, an anonymous donor donated two bitcoin, which the team kept, investing their value (£400 apiece) into the funder themselves. Those bitcoin are now worth over $11,000 each, following the recent spike in its value, and playwright Alex Oates has gone on to amass a blockfolio currently worth $40,000, made up of multiple cryptocurrencies.
Following two smash-hit years at VAULT Festival with Underground and The Litterati, and the former transferring to Brits Off-Broadway at 59E59 Theaters in June 2017, Shrapnel Theatre returns to VAULT Festival with Silk Road, before seeking to tour the production later in 2018.
Alex Oates has been shortlisted for both the Old Vic 12 and long listed for the Bruntwood Prize, and Papatango Prize with previous work including Pig and Rules for Being a Man (UK tours). Dominic Shaw is a director from Jersey, and currently associate director for Kinky Boots in the West End. Previous directing work includes A Memory for Forgetting (Arcola) and Fan Fiction (Other Palace).
The Pit, VAULT Festival 2018 Leake Street, London SE1 7NN
Tickets and further programme information: vaultfestival.com
24th - 28th January '18
Wednesday - Sunday, 18.15 + Saturday matinee, 15.15
Tickets: £12 · Running: 60m
VAULT Festival 2018 runs from 24th January until 18th March in and around The Vaults, Waterloo
Shrapnel Theatre shrapneltheatre.com @ShrapnelTheatre