Dr Semmelweis

The Harold Pinter Theatre

From to


The Harold Pinter Theatre

6 Panton Street
St James
+44 (0)20 7369 1731


The acclaimed Bristol Old Vic production has transferred to London's West End after a sell-out run. Based on an original idea by Mark Rylance and written by Stephen Brown, Dr Semmelweis' life's work is brought back to life at Harold Pinter Theatre on the London West End.

Dr Semmelweis, a thought-provoking play, delves into the life and legacy of a medical pioneer whose revolutionary ideas transformed the field of medicine. As the curtain rise, travel back in time and witness the life-changing story of Ignaz Semmelweis, a man who challenged the norms of his time and changed the course of medicine forever. 

Mark Rylance is shown on the centre stage, wearing an appron over a suit, as he plays the lead role of Dr Semmelweis.

What is the play Dr Semmelweis about?

Mark Rylance (previously seen in Jerusalem) returns to London's West End as Dr Ignaz Semmelweis, one of the greatest pioneers of modern medicine, on a mission to save women's lives. 

Set in the 19th century, the play is centred around Ignaz Semmelweis, a Hungarian doctor and researcher, focused on solving cases of after-birth fever, a condition that seems to have invaded maternity wards at the time. 

The actor portraying Dr Semmelweis is at the centre of the stage holding a briefcase in his arms while ballet dancers are surrounding him.

Dr Semmelweis has made it his life's work to find a solution, and although his methods may seem drastic and his personality impetuous, he must convince his peers to accept his methods to save millions of lives. After making the groundbreaking discovery that washing hands could prevent infection and could improve mortality rates, he presents his theory to his peers. But Dr Semmelweis faces rejection and scepticism from the medical establishment. 

With so much at stake, our revolutionary doctor is willing to risk everything in the name of maternal health, but will it be enough? Haunted by the lives he has failed to save; Ignaz's peace and sanity are at an all-time low. As he tries to persuade the greatest doctors and scientists of 19th-century Europe to acknowledge his groundbreaking discovery, the doctor finds himself at the breaking point of his career with an almost impossible case.

A man wearing a long grey coat and a red scarf is holding a briefcase and seems to be going on his way while ballet dancers wearing long tutus are in the background.

How to get tickets for Dr Semmelweis?

Book your tickets now to see Dr Semmelweis at the Harold Pinter Theatre. 

Pick your tickets and view the best seats with the handy seating map.

Where is Dr Semmelweis playing?

Dr Semmelweis is currently showing at the Harold Pinter Theatre, on Panton Street near Leicester Square. 

How to get there:

  • Tube: Piccadilly Circus (on the Piccadilly and Bakerloo lines) and Leicester Square (on the Piccadilly and Northern lines) are the closest to the theatre.
  • Bus: Several bus lines stop a few steps away from the theatre at Haymarket (buses 12, 88, 159, 453, N3, N18, N97 and N109).
  • Car: What3words: ///ruby.tags.arrow. The nearest car parking spot is Q Park Leicester Square off Whitcomb Street.

How long is the play?

Mark Rylance portraying Dr Semmelweis stands on a balcony and looks down at ballet dancers performing on the stage.

Dr Semmelweis lasts two hours and 30 minutes and includes one interval. It is recommended to arrive at the theatre 30 minutes in advance, giving you enough time to find your seat. 

The show is on the London West End for a strictly limited run up until the 7 October 2023.

At what time is the evening performance? 

Dr Semmelweis evening performances are scheduled from Mondays to Saturdays at 7:30pm.

Are there any matinee performances? 

Dr Semmelweis matinees are on Thursdays and Saturdays at 2:30pm.

Is there any age restriction?

The play is recommended to anyone aged 14 and over.

Please note that the production contains references to suicide, infant and maternal mortality and might not be suitable for everyone.

What other shows can I see in London? 

Follow the witch hunt in Salem as fear spreads across the village at The Crucible currently showing at the Gielgud Theatre. Or see the much-awaited Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of Hamnet, recounting the little-known story of Shakespeare’s son, currently at the Garrick Theatre.