Photograph 51

Nicole Kidman makes her much anticipated return to the London stage in the UK premiere of Anna Ziegler’s award-winning play, PHOTOGRAPH 51.

“The instant I saw the photograph my mouth fell open and my pulse began to race”

Nicole Kidman stars as Rosalind Franklin, the woman who cracked DNA and discovered the secret to life.

Does Rosalind Franklin know how precious her photograph is? In the race to unlock the secret of life it could be the one to hold the key. With rival scientists looking everywhere for the answer, who will be first to see it and more importantly, understand it?

Ziegler’s extraordinary play PHOTOGRAPH 51 asks what is sacrificed in the pursuit of science, love and a place in history.

Directed by Michael Grandage, with set and costume designs by Christopher Oram, and composition and sound designs by Adam Cork.

Cast & Crew


Rosalind Franklin


Composition and sound designs
Set & costume designs


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Play description

Photograph 51 is an award-winning play by Anna Ziegler. Photograph 51 opened in the West End of London in September 2015. The play is known for its revelation of the working life of Rosalind Franklin and her involvement in the discovery of DNA whilst at King’s College London. The title comes from “Photo 51” being the nickname given to an X-ray diffraction image taken by Raymond Gosling in May 1952, under the supervision of Rosalind Franklin.

The ‘bioplay’ focuses on the often-overlooked role of x-ray crystallographer Rosalind Franklin in the discovery of the double helix structure of DNA. This play won the 3rd STAGE International Script Competition in 2008. The one-act play runs for 95-minutes with no intermission.

The play premiered first in the United States (where it was produced at Ensemble Studio Theatre in New York, Theater J in Washington DC, Seattle Repertory Theatre in Seattle, amongst many others), then in London’s Noël Coward Theatre, in the West End, directed by Michael Grandage


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