(Robin McKie’s article appeared in the Guadian, 1/3.)

He remains one of the most controversial scientific figures of modern times: a genius who directed the unleashing of the power of the atom but was later branded a traitor and stripped of his security clearance by the country he had served so diligently.

Now the story of Robert Oppenheimer, leader of America’s Manhattan nuclear weapon project, is to be staged at the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Swan Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon. It will be a fitting venue – for the tragedy of Oppenheimer was “Shakespearian in richness”, as the Washington Post once claimed.

The production of Oppenheimer, by Tom Morton-Smith, follows a flurry of works about the lives of scientists that have appeared in cinemas and theatres in recent months. These include The Imitation Game, with Benedict Cumberbatch as Alan Turing, and The Theory of Everything, with Eddie Redmayne as Stephen Hawking. Both actors are being tipped to win awards for their roles at the Baftas and Oscars.


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