Rob Jago speaks ahead of Photograph 51 premiere

Photograph 51 is set to premiere at the Ensemble Theatre this month. We spoke to Rob Jago, who plays Dr. Francis Crick, ahead of the show’s opening.

Ensemble Theatre is thrilled to present PHOTOGRAPH 51, inspired by the true story of scientist Rosalind Franklin’s discovery of the structure of DNA. 

Awarded Best New Play and Play of the Year following its West End debut, this brand-new production of PHOTOGRAPH 51 will be directed by internationally esteemed director Anna Ledwichat Ensemble Theatre from 2nd September until 8th  October. 

Tell us about the rehearsal process. What was your way in? Did you have a certain way to pain the picture of Dr. Francis Crick?

Fortunately there is quite a lot of footage of Francis crick so I was able to observe his mannerisms and speech patterns. There is also a lot of reading material on time and event. It is then a matter of working out what research is useful for the play and what can help you. For me hearing his voice was very useful. Once you find a character’s voice, you pretty much know the way they think.

Do you have a favourite scene, line or moment?
Favourite scene: When Crick and Watson have Wilkins over for dinner.
Favourite line: “I tell my grandchildren whole worlds of things we wish were true are as real in our heads as what did actually occur.”
Favourite moment: The final exchange between Rosalind and Wilkins.

How will audiences react to the show? How do you want audiences to react? 

The true story by itself is fascinating and thought provoking so I’m hoping audience are going to be genuinely engrossed in this moment of history that for so many of us has remained hidden. I think audiences will be curious about who’s version of history gets past down and what makes one person’s version of events more right than someone else’s? Where does the truth lie?

How do you want the audience to view your character? 

Hopefully, they feel that I have brought a really honest and complex character to the stage. He is a man of his time and the casual sexism that can come from him at times may be confronting. I hope they also get to see Crick’s charm and his genuine fascination with the world and how it works.

What does the play try to communicate to an audience? What do you want the audience to walk away with?

Hopefully they have a new regard and knowledge of Rosalind Franklin and her role in this groundbreaking discovery. They see the challenges she had to face and overcome. Perhaps they will have a few questions raised such as; “Can someone have ownership over research and knowledge?” is Rosalind a victim of being a woman of her time or was she her own worst enemy. I think the truth, like most things, lands somewhere in the middle.

Photoagraph 51 is on at Ensemble Theatre from 2 Sept to 8 October. For tickets and more information:


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