Breathless: An Update

by | 3 Aug, 2022

Update: Breathless by Laura Horton


Following our recent news on Laura and her play Breathless, our Trustee, Sharon and I were lucky enough to see it before its transfer to Edinburgh.  I hosted the Q&A after the show!

This is Sharon’s review of the play:

“I recently attended Laura Horton’s play ‘Breathless‘ at Plymouth’s Theatre Royal.  I’m excited that Laura’s journey has gone from publicist to producer and playwright of her own personal story about hoarding.  The play was made in Plymouth where I got to see it, before it begins its Edinburgh Festival Run from 3rd-29th August at The Pleasance Courtyard. 

I urge any readers of this newsletter visiting this amazing Scottish city to see ‘Breathless’ and put the word out there.  There is still so much stigma around hoarding and it remains a very misunderstood mental health condition.  Many wrongly still think it is a lifestyle choice!

After Edinburgh it’s returning to two theatres in Laura’s native South West – playing at the Brewhouse Taunton on Saturday 1st October, and at Exeter’s Phoenix on Sunday 2nd October. 

What struck me about the play was the beauty of the writing, the images it conjured, the humour, the shame, the self-realisation, the poignancy, the coming out both sexually and as a hoarder and, for me personally, the hope!

In Laura’s writing we see the adrenaline buzz that the character Sophie gets from acquiring the items of clothing, imagining herself heading out almost as different characters as she dons each new outfit.  Perhaps, for me, it is just as well that I have never encountered the thrill of a Sample Sale!

I write this as a Trustee of HoardingUK as its Wellness Advocate.  To reveal a tiny snatch about myself, I had the sheer joy of performing with the Contemporary Dance Company, ‘Dancers Anonymous’ up at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival back in 1978-1980.  All this was before my own hoarding began and, I feel, crushed my own potential.  

My place on HoardingUK’s Charity Board is to occasionally contribute and chip in with my personal experience of hoarding.  Our voices need to be heard! T he hour long play deftly conveys how hoarding and the shame of the condition gets in the way of personal relationships and those that we love, often keeping them at bay. 

As an ex-actress myself, I am passionate about how theatre can enlighten, educate and shine a light on lives, situations and the frailty that is mankind and mental health.

I want to wish Laura and the entire Production Team a successful Festival run.   My hope is it begins a conversation and opens up a much greater awareness into the often-complex mental health condition of hoarding, often with other comorbidities, just to complicate the situation.

I will end this piece by adding that as a writer and lover of fashion, Laura dreamed of writing for Vogue, and thanks to this new play, Laura was invited to write an article covering the topic of hoarding which can be found online.

Kudos to Laura for highlighting the mental health disorder for such a prestigious publication and making her even more worthy to be named as Plymouth’s Laureate of Words (which was an honour bestowed upon her in 2021).


Sharon Eva Degen – 1st August 2022