Lots of heart in this new play

Lots of heart in this new play
Image: Kate Smith in HIGHWAY OF LOST HEARTS. Credit: Hannah Grogan

Driving into the Riverside Theatre this June is the allegorical play, Highway of Lost Hearts, a production that has been described as winsome, captivating, magical, and at times, transcendent.

Presented by Riverside Theatres and Lingua Franca in association with Arts On Tour, Highway of Lost Hearts is the story of a woman named Mot who wakes up in the Top End and finds that her heart is missing.

With her dog by her side Mot embarks on a trip down the Highway of Lost Hearts where she navigates the red dirt outback, dry salty lakes and old souls as she seeks her heart.

HIGHWAY OF LOST HEARTS. Credit: Hannah Grogan

Along the way she is also accompanied by a couple of musicians who underscore her journey of re-discovery.

The play is from the pen of Darwin-based writer and academic, Mary Ann Butler, whose plays have been described as ‘poetic, evocative and muscular’.

Bringing to life Mot is Bathurst based theatre maker and actor Kate Smith, who also works with the locally based theatre company Lingua Franca, which was formed by Alison Plevey and the play’s director, Adam Deusien.

Lingua Franca makes theatre for the local Bathurst area and regions and also tours those productions nationally.

Kate Smith in HIGHWAY OF LOST HEARTS. Credit: Hannah Grogan

“It is an exquisite road trip with a female sense of narrative about a woman travelling from Darwin to recover her lost heart,” Kate Smith, actor said.

“It is funny and moving and Mary Ann’s writing is very poetic and it is almost like a living, breathing Paul Kelly song or a Dylan Thomas poem as she paints the landscape and the characters vividly with beautiful language.”

Smith started her theatrical journey in Sydney and had a strong connection with the Darlinghurst Theatre for many years as she pursued her career as an actor and an independent artist.

“I moved back to Bathurst about 16 years ago to continue making theatre and I decided to stay and it has been an amazing place to be able to generate work,” Smith said.

Kate Smith in HIGHWAY OF LOST HEARTS. Credit: Hannah Grogan

“It is a European tradition where many leading directors and actors move out of the city centres to the country where you can afford more time and space for making your work.”

Accompanying Smith on the Highway stage will be local folk duo, Smith and Jones, who have written eight new songs for the production.

“They are an extraordinary duo who are singers and instrumentalists and their music supports the magic that allows the audience to support Mot’s journey and the descriptive nature of the play,” Smith said.

Across their eight year career, Abby Smith and Sophie Jones have performed throughout the central west and have composed for local theatre and visual arts installations.

Smith and Jones, HIGHWAY OF LOST HEARTS. Credit: Hannah Grogan

Coming back to Riverside Theatre in June is a fond homecoming of sorts for Smith.

“Riverside was always an exciting venue to perform at, (and) it is an. incredibly well run and beautiful theatre with great audiences,” Smith said.

“It’s a really great place for Australian Theatre, and going back to Riverside for the last shows on this tour seems like the perfect full stop.”

Smith and her colleagues at Bathurst’s Lingua Franca are all passionate about theatre and want people to see their production of Highway of Lost Hearts, if only for this one reason Smith gives:

“If you are not from the city and the work originates in the regions there is a perception that the work is terrible,”Smith said.

“This is such high quality work and it celebrates artists outside the metropolitan area.”

That is reason alone to see Highway of Lost Hearts, along with having a great time out in Parramatta.

June 14 – 15

Lennox Theatre, Riverside Theatres, Parramatta


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