Bus Regulation: The Musical & the fight for Greater Manchester’s buses

Join us for this special artist’s talk, screening & discussion to celebrate the launch of phase one of the Bee Network – Greater Manchester’s new integrated public transport network (to be rolled out across the region from 24 September 2023 to 5 January 2025).

Artist & campaigner Ellie Harrison will look back at Bus Regulation: The Musical – her 2019 commission for Manchester Art Gallery – and the role it played in the Better Buses for Greater Manchester campaign, whose success paved the way for The Bee Network.

The event will feature a screening of the short film of the Musical, telling the history of Greater Manchester’s buses, as well the 2019 documentary by the Association of British Commuters, highlighting the local campaign within the context of UK transport policy.

This will be followed by a Q&A and panel discussion with Harrison and other key players involved in the campaign, who will discuss the significance of The Bee Network and the precedent it now sets for other UK city regions to re-regulate their buses.

Confirmed panellists: Caroline Blase (journalist & activist with Better Buses for Greater Manchester) and Jonathan Bray (former Director of the Urban Transport Group).

This event at Manchester Art Gallery is the final part of a day-long series of actions coordinated by the We Own It campaign celebrating the beginning of the end of bus deregulation in Greater Manchester and beyond:

  • 12pm-12.30pm: Photo Stunt, Bolton Interchange
  • 12.30pm-2pm: Ride the No. 8 from Bolton to Manchester (a newly publicly controlled bus with an increased frequency)
  • 2pm-3pm: Rally & Speeches, Greater Manchester Mayor’s Offices.
  • 3pm-4:30pm: “Bus Regulation: The Musical” talk, screening & discussion, Manchester Art Gallery
Book here
projection screen of bus regulation the musical

Bus Regulation: The Musical (Greater Manchester) by Ellie Harrison was staged at Manchester Art Gallery on Saturday 28 September 2019. It starred Summer Dean as Barbara Castle and featured skaters from Arcadia Roller Derby: Tori Baron, Laurelle De-Gisi, Alice Green, Kirsty Gravestock, Cat Hughes, Charlotte O’Prey and Phoebe Queen, and Steve Long from Manchester Rollerball, with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Following the success of the Greater Manchester Musical, Harrison went on to develop and stage Strathclyde & Merseyside versions of Musical in collaboration with local public transport campaign groups. This completed an ambitious trilogy of roller-skating Musicals telling the history of public transport provision in three of the UK’s biggest post-industrial city regions.