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Lingua Franca in association with Arts on Tour

Highway of Lost Hearts

By Mary Anne Butler

An allegory for a country that has lost its heart. A roadtrip through the centre of Australia. An award-winning Australian playwright: this stellar new regionally-made production, featuring theatrical powerhouse Kate Smith and music duo Smith & Jones, will stay with you long after the lights have gone down.

Photo by Phil Blatch

...makes one ponder matters of the heart that go beyond the world of the play... This outstanding production is not to be missed.


A woman. A dog. A campervan. And 4,500 kms of wide open road.

Mot wakes up one morning to find that her heart is missing from her chest. She can breathe; she has a pulse—but she feels… nothing.

So, she decides to go and look for it. With her dog enlisted as co-pilot, Mot heads down the Highway of Lost Hearts: into the deepest core of the Australian Outback—through country towns in NSW, SA and the NT—navigating red dirt landscapes, fire and flood, brittle dryness, vast salt lakes, age-old mountains and murky waters filled with lost souls.

Bathurst-based Lingua Franca present this truly regional story in a new production starring theatrical powerhouse Kate Smith, with original music composed and performed by alt-country duo and Central West icons, Smith & Jones.

More than just live musicians, Smith & Jones become ethereal companions to Mot as she drives. Their music is perfectly aligned with Mary Anne Butler’s writing, part poetry, part road trip playlist, and engages lovers of country and alt country music.

An allegory for a country that has lost its heart, Highway of Lost Hearts is half gritty road journey, half magic realism and all heart. It leaves audiences pondering the question: when your heart goes missing, what lengths will you go to, to find it again?

This play feels like a love letter to regional Australia, and when you love something, you take it for all that is. On Mot’s drive through the heart of the country, as she searches for her own, we see it all: the good, the bad, the ugly and the truly sublime. As a team of entirely regional artists, and for Lingua Franca as producers dedicated to regional arts practice, sharing Mary Anne’s words is a powerful gift.

Kate Smith & Adam Deusien


Bathurst Memorial Entertainment Centre, NSW | Land of the Wiradjuri People
16 May | BOOK

Laycock Street Community Theatre, Wyoming, NSW | Land of the Darkinyung People
18 May | BOOK

Griffith Regional Theatre, NSW | Land of the Wiradjuri People
29 May | BOOK

Glen Street Theatre, Belrose, NSW | Land of the Garigal People
31 May & 1 June | BOOK

Capitol Theatre Tamworth, NSW | Land of the Gamilaraay People
4 June | BOOK

The Q - Queanbeyan Performing Arts Centre, NSW | Land of the Ngambri and Ngunnawal People
6 & 7 June | BOOK

Riverside Theatres Parramatta, NSW | Land of the Dharug People
14 & 15 June | BOOK


Touring in 2024

Playwright Mary Anne Butler
Director Adam Deusien
Designer Annemaree Dalziel
Lighting Design & Production Manager Becky Russel
Live original music Smith & Jones

If you are interested in touring get in contact!

Arts on Tour
02 8038 1880