The Last Bus: ArtCity Year Three On 13th – 15th October

ArtCity host THE LAST BUS on the site of the old Bus Station and surrounding empty premises.

Still awaiting demolition, this ‘eyesore’, is a home to pigeons and graffiti slurs, a disintegrating symbol of the optimism of the 1970’s in Stoke on Trent. In the light of our City’s bid to become City of Culture 2021, ArtCity have commissioned four new art pieces which use the site of the Bus Station to ask where we have come from, where we are going, and who we are.

Artist collaboration Rebecca Winwood and Ruth Bridges invite you to join them for the Requiem to a Bus Station. Participants will receive instructions after booking on this ticket-only experience which will take place on Saturday 14th October at 6.30pm. Laura Potter-Dunn, illustrator and textile artist, is creating a large-scale tapestry which depicts her memories from the old bus station as she grew up in Stoke.

The tapestry features a couple whose engagement she witnessed in 2007. ArtCity have been trying to find the couple – if you know them or ARE them please get in touch! Artist, poet and producer Martin Gooding has been collecting mould and debris from the old bus station site. His piece, ‘Anchors’ will look at the eco-systems of abandoned spaces and the meaning of abandoned objects – a forgotten suitcase, a blown-out bus tyre, a buckled shopping trolley. He says of the piece :

“Mould and moss are forgotten members of our eco-system intrinsically linked with life and death, it’s growth is a signifier of change and a constant reminder of not only our own mortality but also the mortality of our environment, our architecture and our economy.”

Stoke-based independent film production company Chinwag Films are creating a brand new short film The Angel of Goldenhill the story of how a fleeting encounter between two strangers at a bus stop changes each of their days.

Beth Rowland, artistic director of Chinwag, says

“I am so excited about this project. The old bus station holds so many memories for me.”

‘Good riddance’, and ‘Can’t be gone soon enough.’ These are the sentiments that Rebecca Winwood and Ruth Bridges have most commonly found when researching their piece Requiem, amongst stories of Chicos and the All Night Café. But they have also uncovered touching personal stories. Arriving and departing on buses are moments when we are often alone, a routine backdrop to your day.

People talk about the changing architecture of the City, the changes in employment possibilities, in expectations for public transport, and, perhaps most interestingly, the way that the bus station makes them feel about Stoke. These personal, private stories will be collected and left in the old Bus Station for its demolition.