Tonight marks the opening night of the new United Kingdom production of Photograph 51 at the Noel Coward Theatre in London, starring Nicole Kidman as DNA pioneer Rosalind Franklin and directed by Michael Grandage. The play was produced at the Ensemble Studio Theater in New York in 2010, with support from the Sloan Foundation's partnerships with the Manhattan Theatre Club and EST.
Written by Anna Ziegler, Photograph 51 examines the contributions of Rosalind Franklin in the race to discover DNA, with the titular photograph referring to the x-ray image taken at King’s College London which revealed the double-helix shape of DNA. Though the discovery of the double helix was the breakthrough of the 20th century, Franklin was excluded by both the history books and the scientific community at the time; the Nobel Prize for the discovery went to her male colleagues James Watson, Francis Crick, and Maurice Wilkins.
The play is in development as a feature film which received a grant from the 2011 TFI Sloan Filmmaker Fund for Anna Ziegler, with Rachel Weisz attached to star. Ziegler is also the recipient of an EST-Sloan commission currently in development as well as an MTC-Sloan commissioning grant for her new work Boy, which deals with issues of gender reassignment and parenting.
Photograph 51 premieres tonight at the Noel Coward Theatre and runs through November 21st.