In 1972, a Routemaster bus was specially converted to create a small theatre on the upper deck, along with a cinema showing short films and slide-shows downstairs. The sides were brightly painted with slogans and pictures of the passengers on the upper deck. The legendary Fun Art Bus stopped at bus queues where mime shows entertained from the ground floor windows, the bus driver played the electric piano and then took passengers on free tours; it also visited community festivals, and toured the UK and Europe. The adverts were cartoons, there were sculptures in the luggage compartment and the tickets from the clippie were poems by such poets as Roger McGough and Adrian Mitchell. Numerous writers wrote short plays which were performed by TOC and the Dogg’s Troupe. Observers from high rise offices and housing were able to ‘join in’ a picnic painted on the roof. Disembarking passengers received paper models of the bus which they could cut out and Alan Brownjohn’s The Big Red Bus Book.
Rose Bruford College is exploring with Ed Berman and Unfinished Histories the possibility of creating a new Fun Art Bus for 2012. For volunteer opportunities go to http://www.unfinishedhistories.com/history/individuals/ed-berman