Hold on to the handrails: the show has begun

City of Sydney’s Art & About program promises ‘art in unusual places’ and that’s exactly what attendees get when they board a suburban Busways bus to experience live theatre.

Passenger is an acclaimed production that takes place on board a moving bus. Departing from an ordinary stop in the suburb of Pyrmont, audiences take the role of commuters, ‘overhearing’ a conversation between two fellow passengers via on-board speakers. 

Busways is proud to supply the bus which has been specially fitted out for the occasion, along with our bus driver Ian for the two-week run.

Busways Head of Marketing and Communications, Donna Frith, said the company is excited by the way Passenger reimagines 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 see one of our buses transformed into a live and moving theatrical production on opening night was a real thrill and something that will go down in our 77-year history book,” Donna said.

“It highlights one of the great perks of traveling 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!”

While the bus will need to be specially prepared for the show, the person behind the wheel will not be an actor. When Busways put the idea to their drivers, Donna said they had “immediate interest”. In fact, they had no trouble finding a willing performer.

“One of our drivers from the Busways Blacktown depot was identified as the perfect fit. 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 said he’s ‘not nervous at all’.

“I’m definitely a perfectionist where I’ll drive the route ten times before the show to familiarise myself.

“Driving in the production will be a good buzz and an interesting experience,” Ian said.

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.

Passenger takes place twice a day (afternoon and evening shows) from the 26th of February until the 8th of March. It’s a free show, but like any bus ride, tickets are essential.

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

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