in quarantine


Written by Rose Lewenstein, Directed by Russell Bender

Southwark Playhouse
April 15, 2016
May 6, 2016


Written by Rose Lewenstein, Directed by Russell Bender

Southwark Playhouse
April 15, 2016
May 6, 2016

“You’re not even a fully formed person yet. Your face is still changing and your bones are still growing but already there’s a detailed
map of your personality out there and companies you’ve never heard of are getting rich off it.”

Welcome to Octopus Inc., the internet giant that allows users to exchange personal data for currency. But not everyone is prepared to sacrifice their privacy for an easier life.

A teenager subverts the system in an attempt to save her mother. A visionary tech exec takes shortcuts to get ahead, and a cybercriminal chooses between two kinds of freedom.

DARKNET navigates through the world of data transparency and the uncharted deep web, uncovering the things we choose to share online and the places in which we can hide.

“With new innovation comes fear of the unknown.”

DARKNET is the third collaboration between Rose Lewenstein and Russell Bender. Their process usually starts with a big idea. Rose always writes, Russell always directs, but they work closely together from the outset, with each phase of research, writing and development informing the next.


Robin Berry
'Steve / Mitch'
Greer Dale-Foulkes
'Candy / Natalia'
Jim English
Naveed Khan
'Gary / John'
Ella McLoughlin
Gyuri Sarossy
Rosie Thomson
'Charlotte / Stacey'

Creative Team

Rose Lewenstein
Russell Bender
Mila Sanders
Katharine Williams
Lighting Designer
Edward Lewis
Sound Designer
Benjamin Walden
Video Designer
Henry Garner
Creative Technologist
Jennifer Jackson
Movement Director
Kendall Masson
Associate Producer
Benjamin Luke
Stage Manager
Ed Borgnis
Production Manager

Making Darknet

In April 2013, we decided to reunite the team behind Game of Life to make a new production exploring computer hacking, data privacy and "cyber warfare". Between Autumn 2013 and Spring 2014, writer Rose Lewenstein and director Russell Bender did a wide ranging research period talking to numerous academics, cyber security specialists, technology journalists and people who worked in government. We had two weeks of development workshops supported by Arts Council England, Battersea Arts Centre and Cambridge Junction and presented a scratch at Battersea Arts Centre and some early ideas for material as part of the 2014 Cambridge Science Festival.

Darknet had a long development period and a lot of input from a lot of brilliant theatre makers including actors Esh Alladi, Alex Austin, Cristina Catalina, Nicholas Karimi, Bettrys Jones, Helena Lymberry, Moj Taylor, Mark Weinman, composer Adam Pleeth, movement director Avye Leventis, and game designer William Drew.

We're also very grateful for the many specialists who offered us expertise and helped us understand the ideas of privacy and security that informed Darknet. In particular Jamie Bartlett, Professor Thomas Rid, and Geoff White.

Photo galleries

Staying Safe Online

Thursday 21 April, 10pm

Led by Renate Samson (CEO of Big Brother Watch) and Tom Gaffney (F-Secure), this talk explored the security and privacy issues we face online and what measures we can take to stay safe.  

The Good and the Bad and the Ugly of the Deep Web

Monday 25 April, 10pm

Chaired by Nathalie Nahai (author, speaker, and co-host of The Guardian Tech Podcast), this panel discussion delved into the different faces of the deep web, from vital tool for human rights, to the strange, the criminal and the impenetrable. Panellists include Jamie Bartlett (author of The Dark Net and Thomas Rid (Professor in the Department of War Studies at King’s College London).

Hacking and Human Rights

Wednesday 27 April, 10pm

Chaired by Nathalie Nahai (author, speaker, and co-host of The Guardian Tech Podcast), this event focused on the issues of how hacking and cyber-security interact with issues on human rights. Panellists include Dr Ala’a Shehabi, an economist and privacy advocate.

The Pros and Cons of Big Data

Monday 2 May, 10pm

The final post-show event looked at the current state of data collection – what is shared willingly and unknowingly, what is it used for, how can we harness it for good and what the risks are? We explored what corporate data collection means to our daily lives. Panellists include Geoff White (Technology Producer, Channel 4 News) and Dr Jens Jensen (STFC)

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