World Premiere

The House They Grew Up In

A new play by Deborah Bruce

A co-production with Headlong

Minerva Theatre
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My parents are here. In the walls and the floorboards and the bricks of this house. This is not only your street with only your stories.

The present day. A residential street in South East London. The house where reclusive siblings Peppy and Daniel were born is now stuffed full of everything they have ever owned. This hoard, their eccentric appearance and rampant garden hedge, set them conspicuously apart from others on their road.

When young Ben visits from next door he is simply looking for friendship; but what happens next challenges everyone’s idea of neighbourliness.

The House They Grew Up In is a tender, dark and funny look at a co-dependent relationship between a brother and a sister, and how they cope when the world bursts in on them. It explores how, in an age of anxiety, we live alongside those different to us.

Deborah Bruce’s first play was Godchild (Hampstead 2013); her second, The Distance, premiered at the Orange Tree Theatre and was revived there and in Sheffield in 2015 and nominated for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize.

Director Jeremy Herrin makes a welcome return to Chichester where his recent work includes This House, South Downs and Another Country. He is Artistic Director of Headlong.

Samantha Spiro returns to Chichester where she played Fanny Brice in Funny Girl in 2008; her award-winning theatre roles also include Di and Viv and Rose (West End), Chicken Soup with Barley (Royal Court) and Hello, Dolly! (Regent’s Park), while her extensive television work includes Grandma’s House, The Tracey Ullman Show and Barbara Windsor in the recent BBC production, Babs. Daniel Ryan makes his Chichester debut; his many television series include Mount Pleasant, Home Fires and Doc Martin, and theatre includes Inadmissible Evidence (Donmar Warehouse), Posh (Royal Court) and Gethsemane (National Theatre).




Jeremy Herrin’s Headlong co-production is beautifully acted by Samantha Spiro and Daniel Ryan. The play is above all an affecting plea for compassion and generosity. Simple, sincere and relevant, wherever you happen to live.


A breathtakingly brilliant piece of mesmerising acting by Samantha Spiro

I Newspaper

Jeremy Herrin’s skilful production gradually allows Deborah Bruce’s gentle, thoughtful humanity room to breathe and is firmly anchored by a superlative performance from Samantha Spiro.

Evening Standard

Deborah Bruce’s The House They Grew Up In is a subtle and surprising play that turns from the bleakest of comedies into a tender story of hope. Together Daniel Ryan and Samantha Spiro present a memorable portrait of two siblings marooned by loss and saved by simple human kindness.

The Stage

The writing is deeply felt and superbly acted

Mail on Sunday
Financial Times

The play is beautifully acted by the entire cast, and remains compelling and emotionally engaging from start to finish

Brighton Argus

First rate. Samantha Spiro is magnetic as the scuttling, neurotic Peppy. Daniel Ryan is equally powerful, radiating the lumbering kindness of Lennie in Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men.

The Guardian

Superbly acted, dark and moving, Deborah Bruce’s script is uncomfortable viewing, and excellent theatre. One to remember.

Chichester Observer

Two remarkable performances lift this play to a whole new level. Together they are magnificent.


Cast & Creatives


Cast List

Daniel Ryan


Samantha Spiro


Daisy Fairclough


Michelle Greenidge

PC Amanda Gordon and Karen Parry

Mary Stockley


Matt Sutton

Sergeant Hibbert and PC Nichols

Phillip Wright

Gareth and Laurence

Rudi Millard


Leonardo Dickens


Creative team

Cast List

Deborah Bruce


Jeremy Herrin


Max Jones


Natasha Chivers

Lighting Designer

Paul Englishby


Emma Laxton

Sound Designer

Anne McNulty CDG

Casting Director

Charlotte Sutton CDG

Casting Director



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Running Time
2 hours and 45 minutes including the interval