SYDNEY BUS ‘MOBILE THEATRE’ PROJECT PROVES POPULAR

By: Fabian Cotter, Photography by: Gerard Assi + courtesy Busways


FOLLOWING acclaimed success in Melbourne and London, a unique theatre production that takes place live on a moving city bus is to run in Sydney soon - 26 February until 8 March, 2020 - organisers confirm.

SYDNEY BUS ‘MOBILE THEATRE’ PROJECT PROVES POPULAR
“To see one of our buses transformed into a live and moving theatrical production is going to be a real thrill and something that will go down in our 77-year history book,” said Busways head of Marketing and Communications, Donna Frith.

With support of local operator Busways – and as part of the City of Sydney’s Art & About programme – the latter’s promise of ‘art in unusual places’ is exactly what attendees will get when they board a suburban bus to experience live theatre, it’s claimed.

Passenger is an acclaimed production that will depart from an ordinary stop in the Sydney suburb of Pyrmont, where audiences take the role of commuters ‘overhearing’ a conversation between two fellow passengers via on-board speakers, organisers explain.

The story explores the ethics of our contemporary world and the impact of holding others accountable for their actions, Art & About explains.

New South Wales bus operator Busways will collaborate with production organisers, supplying an accessible city bus and driver for the two-week run.

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Passenger takes place twice per day (afternoon and evening shows) and it’s a free show - but like any bus ride tickets are essential, organisers confirm.

Up to 40 passengers can take the one hour experience which picks them up and leaves them at the same location upon return - Pirrama Road after Jones Bay Road (stop ID 200920), Pyrmont.

The bus will look like a normal city bus, but the desto will reference ‘Art & About’ performance theatre charter and have the ‘Busways’ logo.

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PEOPLE-WATCHING

Busways head of Marketing and Communications, Donna Frith, says the company is excited by the way Passenger re-imagines buses and their role in the city, as well as the prospect of introducing new people to buses through the project.

"We think the show is a unique and exciting opportunity to be involved in," said Frith.

"To see one of our buses transformed into a live and moving theatrical production is going to be a real thrill and something that will go down in our 77-year history book," she said.

"It highlights one of the great perks of travelling on public transport: the opportunity for people-watching as the outside world passes by. Watching live theatre unfold on the bus really takes that to the next level!"

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MOBILE VENUE

While the bus will need to be specially prepared for the show, the person behind the wheel will not be an actor, the company confirms.

When Busways put the idea to their drivers, Frith says the operator had "immediate interest". In fact, it had no trouble finding a willing performer.

"One of our drivers from the Busways Blacktown depot was identified as the perfect fit," Firth explained.

"He’s engaging, calm under pressure and has a really strong customer service ethic."

The driver, Ian Allt, who’s been driving for Busways for almost two years, could be forgiven for being anxious about his ‘stage’ debut - but he says he’s "…not nervous at all".

"I’m definitely a perfectionist where I’ll drive the route 10 times before the show to familiarise myself," Allt said.

"Driving in the production will be a good buzz and an interesting experience," he added.

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BUS TICKET ENTRY

Passenger is a production by Jessica Wilson and Ian Pidd, written by Nicola Gunn. The original composition is by Tom Fitzgerald. The show premiered in Docklands, Melbourne, and recently played at London's Greenwich and Docklands Festival in 2019.

This performance takes place on an ‘accessible bus’. If you require wheelchair space please book two (2) tickets and contact the theatre company to confirm which show you have booked.

For more information head to: https://www.artandabout.com.au/projects/passenger/

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SPOILER ALERT: There is a big ending where the actors get off the bus and there's a horse. Giddy up! :)

 

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