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‘Bus Pass’ a brand new theatre production created by older people

We have been catching up with artists in the city who submitted projects to be part of the Leeds 2023 artistic programme. These projects were showcased in our first stage bid book when Leeds was part of the European Capital of Culture Competition. This month we spoke to Alan Lyddiard, Director of The Performance Ensemble and the founder of ‘Bus Pass’- a large-scale performance project involving thousands of people in Leeds over the age of 60.

‘We have already started developing the ‘Bus Pass’ project by creating a performance at The Queen’s Hotel Ballroom on September 16th this year.

This summer we are inviting 50 volunteers to connect with 50 older people, who are living by themselves, and accompany them on a bus journey. They will have conversations, listen to stories, get to know each other and share a meal or a cup of tea. We will record and edit the stories and conversations and publish them on our web site with photographs of each journey.

The performance, ‘Bus Ride’ will be created from the material we gather on the bus journeys. The participants presenting themselves becomes the central text of the work; their stories, their concerns, their aspirations. It is based on the belief that the telling and listening to stories from people is an act of generosity. It will lead us to a performance full of dance, music, stories and songs. Moments of life as lived by older people in the ‘here and now’.

This first step has been made possible by support from Time to Shine, Leeds Inspired, Arts Council England and West Yorkshire Playhouse. We are very grateful to them.

We plan to create events every year over the next five years that will inform the large-scale production in 2023: building relationships across the city, involving older people in creating the work and exploring the city together. Our plan is to make a final piece that will transport performers and audiences on sixteen double-decker buses to a number of spectacular events around the city. There will be performance on the buses, on the roads, in the parks, on the water and wherever our fancy takes us.

We certainly can’t do it ourselves, we need people and organisations to get involved and help us create the work – call us on 07846575377 or email us at if you want to join in the adventure’

IMAGE: Courtesy of Mike Pinches