Debris (play)

Debris is an in-yer-face play by Dennis Kelly. It was first produced at the Latchmere Theatre (now Theatre 503)[1] in London in 2003, before being transferred to Battersea Arts Centre the next year.

Written byDennis Kelly
CharactersMichael (Male)
Michelle (Female)
Date premieredApril 2003
theatre 503 in London
Original languageEnglish
Genrein-yer-face theatre


A one-act play where a brother and sister try to make sense of their dysfunctional childhood. The pair lie about their past creating new elaborate past stories, the central narrative is of the brother, Michael, who finds a baby who he names Debris trying to keep him a secret and alive from his alcoholic father confiding only in Michelle his sister who is fascinated with their mother's death and gives several contradicting stories of how she died.

In the first scene the brother describes coming home to see his father who has committed suicide by crucifixion. Kelly has said "I was brought up a Catholic, so, like every decent Catholic, as a child I fantasised about being crucified - it must have come from there"[2]


Kelly original had problems getting Debris produced until approaching Theatre 503 "The play had been rejected by pretty much every other theatre around but 503 saw something in the play and decided to abandon common sense and produce it. For me it was one of the most important moments in my life"[3]

Debris was developed whilst Kelly was on attachment at the National Theatre Studio.

Notable productionsEdit


April 2003 at The Latchmere Theatre (now Theatre503), London. Directed by Tessa Walker.

  • Michael - Daniel Harcourt
  • Michelle - Carolyn Tomkinson

10th Anniversary Production

23 April 2013 at the Southwark Playhouse, London. Directed by Abigail Graham.[4]


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  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-07-13. Retrieved 2015-07-13.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
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