A Journey of a Thousand Smiles started with one pure idea. Melbourne born Jessica Hackett spent many sleepless nights thinking of the people stuck on Nauru. Perhaps there was someone just like her out there, only trapped, afraid and alone. All Jess could think about was that we all must have a welcoming spirit within us. All she needed to do was find it!
So, she decided to start a petition, and carry it from her sanctum of inner city Melbourne to the steps of parliament house in Canberra. What came next was an adventure. 710 kilometres, 50 townships, 35 days, 2 blisters, one petition, 17,000 signatures and one Melbourne high school teacher to carry it to Canberra in the height of summer.
Along the way she found that welcoming spirit that exists all across Australia. In the people she met, the towns she passed through, the homes she was welcomed into, and the 17,000 signatures she collected from Australians from all over the country.
But hers isn’t the only story you’ll hear in Journey of a Thousand Smiles. You will be taken through remote townships and breathtaking landscapes. You’ll walk with Jess as the locals from Euroa and other country towns walked with her. You’ll sit at the table of resettled refugees and hear their story as they welcome her into their home.
You’ll scramble to escape from hostile wildlife and dangerous obstacles, and end up in stitches later. Who knew school teachers and spiders make such a glorious combination? Join Jess on her journey through the outback as she encounters wildlife, re-homed refugees, electric fences, a few nuns, a couple of police officers, a lot of country folk and some real Australian spirit.
With true stories, amusing tales and a feeling of welcome to warm your heart, Jess’ journey to Canberra is one to inspire all Australians, refugees and families who value community and kinship. Directed by Jason Cavanagh and featuring actor/storyteller Jessica Hackett in her debut Fringe show, Journey of a Thousand Smiles is more than a one-woman show – this delightful combination of acting and storytelling will engage and entertain.
Journey of a Thousand Smiles
Belleville, Globe Alley, Melbourne
Season: 20 – 24 September (preview: 19 September)
Information and Bookings: www.melbournefringe.com.au
Image: Jessica Hackett to feature in Journey of a Thousand Smiles (supplied)