Bitcoin-funded play to be staged at North East theatre

Alex Oates' Silk Road, the first play to be funded by cryptocurrency Bitcoin, visits Live Theatre, Newcastle next month.
Silk Road will be staged next monthSilk Road will be staged next month
Silk Road will be staged next month

First seen at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2014, this new production launches at London’s Vault Festival before coming to Newcastle’s Live Theatre on February 1 and 2.

It tells the story of 19-year-old Bruce, who is 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.

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Following a call-out on the real Silk Road forums for contributions to the original production’s crowdfunding campaign, an anonymous donor donated two Bitcoin.

Bitcoin value has since gone up, and plummeted, gone up again, and is currently going down again. Two Bitcoin are currently worth $24,750 (about £19,000), and playwright Alex Oates will now be funding the entire production with cryptocurrency.

Alex Oates, originally from Whitley Bay, has been shortlisted for the Old Vic 12 and longlisted for both the Bruntwood Prize and Papatango Prize, with previous work including Pig and Rules for Being a Man.

His love for theatre began at the Phoenix Youth Theatre in Blyth and further developed watching performances, by northern greats such as Tom Hadaway, Alan Plater and Lee Hall, at Live Theatre, Northern Stage and the Theatre Royal.

•Silk Road is at Live Theatre, Broad Chare, Newcastle on Thursday, February 1 & Friday. February 2 at 7.30pm. Tickets are £10-£14 from 0191 232 1232.