German side of ‘Oppenheimer’ is told in new play coming to the UK

Alan Brody’s ‘Operation Epsilon’ debuts in London this month

A play which tells the German side of the Oppenheimer story is set to debut in London this month.

Operation Epsilon, written by playwright Alan Brody and directed by Andy Sandberg, is based on the true story of 10 German nuclear scientists who were captured by British and American authorities near the end of the Second World War.

Based on transcripts of secretly recorded conversations from their captivity, it’s believed the scientists were working on nuclear weapons for Germany and were unaware of the progress made by American scientists, led by J. Robert Oppenheimer at the Manhattan Project.


Speaking to Herald Tribune about the play, Sandberg said: “This is the other side of the Oppenheimer story, what was going on in Germany. In willful denial of the advances and the consequences, both proceeded, the Germans and the allies, with the idea of doing this for science.”

Referring to Christopher Nolan’s film, the play’s producer Ellen Berman added: “In the movie, we see that the Americans are worried about Germany beating us to a bomb, but from the German point of view, they didn’t know anything about what we were doing.

“When they’re in Farm Hall in captivity and hear on the BBC radio about the bomb on Hiroshima, they think it’s a hoax. They start wondering how we could have beaten them.”

The play, which features an ensemble of 11 actors, originally premiered in the US in 2013 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The production went onto win four IRNE awards, including Best New Play and Best Director.

Operation Epsilon makes its UK premiere at the Southwark Playhouse Elephant from September 15 to October 21, 2023. You can find more information here.


Oppenheimer, starring Cillian Murphy, has become the third highest-grossing film of the year so far, behind Barbie and The Super Mario Bros. Movie.

In a five-star review, NME wrote: “Not just the definitive account of the man behind the atom bomb, Oppenheimer is a monumental achievement in grown-up filmmaking.”

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