Dr Semmelweis

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Book Dr Semmelweis play tickets to see Mark Rylance in a compelling historical drama

Mark Rylance stars as the maverick doctor who revolutionised medicine in Dr Semmelweis at the Harold Pinter Theatre. This critically-acclaimed historical drama transfers to the West End following a sold-out world premiere at Bristol Old Vic, and tells the true story of a Hungarian physician who was determined to pioneer life-saving treatments, no matter the cost.

In 19th-century Vienna, thousands of women die in childbirth every year. It seems unthinkable for a city so rich in cultural and scientific progress, and only Ignaz Semmelweis has spotted the invisible killer in their midst. But what good can a discovery do if the establishment ignores it? Ostracised by colleagues who question his methods, expertise and sanity, Dr Semmelweis is haunted by the deaths he couldn’t prevent. Can he convince the greatest minds in Europe that his argument is sound? And what price must he pay to do so?

Inspired by the true story, the Dr Semmelweis play stars Academy Award-winner Mark Rylance as the man who introduced concepts of antiseptic procedures in pregnancy and childbirth. Rylance is one of our greatest stage actors, famed for his Olivier Award-winning role as Rooster in Jerusalem, and has gained global recognition in films including Bridge of Spies and The BFG

The play is written by Stephen Brown and based on an original idea by Rylance. It is directed by Tom Morris, who helmed the multi-award-winning War Horse for the National Theatre, with live music by Adrian Sutton and original choreography by Antonia Franceschi of Balanchine’s New York City Ballet. After opening at Bristol Old Vic in 2022, where critics hailed it a “riveting tale” (The Guardian), and now opens in the West End for a strictly limited season. 

Watch a masterful performance and discover an incredible true story. See the Dr Semmelweis play in London until 7 October 2023. 

Child friendly?

The Dr Semmelweis play is recommended for ages 14+. It includes references to suicide, and infant and maternal mortality.