Anna Ziegler

Photograph 51

PHOTOGRAPH 51 at the Noel Coward Theatre
Photo by Johan Persson
PHOTOGRAPH 51 at Seattle Rep
Photo by Alan Alabastro
PHOTOGRAPH 51 at Teatro Eliseo
PHOTOGRAPH 51 at Ensemble Studio Theatre
Photo by Gerry Goodstein
PHOTOGRAPH 51 at Theater J
Photo by Stan Barouh
"A beautiful, tender and surprising new play that elevates the West End."

— the stage

plot synopsis

London, 1953. Scientists are on the verge of discovering what they call the secret of life: the DNA double helix. Providing the key is driven young physicist Rosalind Franklin. But if the double helix was the breakthrough of the 20th century, then what kept Franklin out of the history books? A play about ambition, isolation, and the race for greatness.

select productions

— Noel Coward Theatre (The West End), London, 2015 (Directed by Michael Grandage)
— Ernst Deutch Theatre, Hamburg, 2017
— Teatro Eliseo, Rome, 2017
— Playhouse Teater, Stockholm, 2017
Liepaja Theatre, Latvia, 2016
— Seattle Repertory Theatre, Seattle, 2013 (Directed by Braden Abraham)
— English Theatre of Berlin, Germany, 2012 (Directed by Günther Grosser)
Theater J, Washington DC, 2011 (Directed by Daniella Topol)
— Ensemble Studio Theatre, NYC, 2010 (Directed by Linsay Firman)

more press

“Were the play simply to assert that Franklin was robbed of the prestige that was rightly hers – it would serve a valid but rather worthy purpose. It’s much more fascinating than that, though. It deals with timely feminist issues but also the key fundamentals of how we relate to each other, who we are, our tragic flaws…A TRIUMPH.” — The Telegraph

“A remarkable balance of scientific subject matter and theatrical storytelling…in a play that glows with intelligence and humanity.” (Critic’s Pick)  — Backstage

“An illuminating kind of theatrical X-ray… Photograph 51 neatly coils a scientific detective story around a rumination on how sexism, personality and morality can impact collaboration and creativity…It honors Franklin by painting her as a complete person, with flaws and sterling attributes, and by evoking the thrills and risks of scientific pursuit itself.” — The Seattle Times

“Among the many virtues of Anna Ziegler’s…satisfying Photograph 51 is the refusal to soften the woman at its center, the British scientist Rosalind Franklin, by making her anything other than formidably, even self-sabotagingly, intelligent…[The play] offers multiple insights into the sad and honorable secrets of one particular life.” — NY Times

“Watson’s book about this discovery has been hailed as one of the 20th century’s great works of nonfiction, demonstrating that really good writing can make a seemingly dry subject gripping. Ziegler has done the same with Photograph 51, and this production shows what beauty can be found when outstanding writing and acting intertwine like strands of DNA.” — The Pioneer Press