Live art and interactive encounters across Leeds
16-25 November 2018
The biennial Compass Festivalreturns to Leeds this November with ten days of free live art eventsspecifically designed to provoke and encourage personal responses and chains of interaction from communities across the city. Locations range from water taxis to courtrooms, galleries and bus stations to a street where you live, or one just like it…
The 2018 programme promises an extensive City Centre takeover following the festival’s success in 2016, which attracted nearly 10,000 audience members, participants and artists.
Artistic Directors Annie Lloydand Peter Reedsaid: “We’re delighted to share the full programme of Compass 2018 which we have been cooking up over the last 18 months in collaboration with some of the most exciting live artists in the UK. Compass began as a short pilot weekender in 2011 featuring a handful of small scale, pre-existing projects and so it feels significant to us this year to be announcing a full ten-day festival with newly commissioned work at its heart”
Find out about all the events at the festival at
The transformation of Leeds Town Hall courtroom into the ‘animal court of justice’
Thanks to lawyer-turned-artist Jack Tan, Leeds Town Hall users will encounter what appears to be a working Animal Court evidenced by signage, information posters, artefacts, heritage displays, and more. Four Legs Goodculminates in live hearings in which cases are brought against and by live animals nominated by local animal charities, farms and breeders. Book a seat on a jury or come and go in the public gallery. Day of live court hearings 24 November, exhibition 17 – 24 November, Leeds Town Hall
Illuminated score-boards that measure and project the mood of the city via crowd-sourcing
Collaborative artists Redhawk Logisticahave devised Measures of Us. Leeds residents will be asked questions via electronic voting booths, reflecting on personal and existential themes. Daily results will be displayed locally on illuminated scoreboards, the full results will be revealed at a closing event in the city centre where the public will be invited to share their interpretations.
19-23 November in Woodhouse, Harehills, Seacroft, Bramley, Holbeck & Beeston then Leeds City Square, 24 – 25 November
Scottee tackles loneliness encouraging a whole street to talk via friendship-seeking placards
In Would Like To Meet, neighbours on a residential road in Leeds will be asked about people they would like to meet. Scotteewill then place estate agent style placards outside each house, encouraging conversations around shared values and hobbies. In this project, award winning artistScotteeresponds to the isolation he felt upon moving into a terraced house having lived on a council estate for 30 years Exhibition 17 – 24 November
Concrete evidence of human bonding: Sarah Caputo & Brenda Unwin present1000 Handshakes
For 3 days Compass will be collecting casts of handshakes encouraging interaction and creating concrete evidence of communication between pairs of strangers. Isolation as opposed to virtual friendships and unease regarding physical contact are increasingly prevalent. The clay handshake casts will hold the essence of people connecting through their sense of touch, as well as their other senses.
22 – 24 November, Leeds City Bus Station
Alisa Oleva & Debbie Kent present The Demolition Project via mapping, exploring urban life
The Demolition Project invites people to reshape Leeds with paper, a scalpel and imagination.Usually decisions about changing cities are made by politicians, corporations or even the weather. What would it be like if ordinary people had the chance? Maybe to make way for something more useful or to knock down an unpopular building.In this piece, the public can demolish simply by map-cutting. In return, reasons for each demolition must be given be they personal or political, angry or artistic, serious or daft. 23 – 24 November,Leeds Kirkgate Market, Street Food Hall
Through the beer glass lens of the Public House: Etheridge & Persighetti explore visions of future social landscapes
Focusing on the enduring role of pubs as important places of social gathering, intergenerational exchange, entertainment, (hi)storytelling, and activism, a special edition of 500 beer glasses bearing diagrams, maps, conversational fragments, and invitations to explore the rich landscape of Leeds pubs, will be distributed to a selection of pubs and bars in Kirkgate.
In a participatory launch performance the artists will initiate a series of live conversations inspired by the inscriptions on the glasses, bringing to the table special guests with a range of interests in the relationships between people, place and beer in Leeds.
Launch 16 November, Crowd of Favours. Beer glass exhibition throughout festival, along Kirkgate
French & Mottershead take audiences on water taxis as they examine the body’s afterlife
This work asks the listener to imagine and relocate their own body underwater, as it dissolves and dislocates on a journey from a canal, into a river, and out into the sea. Experienced on and by the River Aire, the listener hears a spoken narrative, written from forensic case studies of human bodies immersed in and transported by water, combined with research on the ecosystems of rivers and tidal waters.Supported by The Wellcome Trust and Arts Council England, French & Mottershead collaborated with forensic anthropologists, ecologists and conservators in developing each piece, researching the minute details of decay to create a series of works that puncture our fear of the unknown.
24 – 25 November. Book a place on hourly sailings from Leeds Dock
Bethany Wells’ mobile wood-fired sauna and bucket shower installation WARMTHreturns to keep festival audiences warm
By popular demand, having toured the UK extensively since its premiere as part of the 2016 festival, Bethany Wells’ mobile wood-fired sauna installation WARMTH returns to keep festival audiences toasty on cold November nights. Alongside the main sauna space and bucket shower, Wells will curate a tent-based exhibition on the rituals of smoke sauna and its place in Finnish culture.
24 – 25 November at Leeds Dock
Compass Festival welcomes back Rosana Cade’s study of hand-holding, this time on film
Walking:Holdingby Rosana Cade is a documentary film made with collaborators Charlie Cauchi and Claire Nolanresponding to Rosana Cade’s award-winning interactive performance of the same name, which appeared at Compass 2016. Book your place at the premiere.
17 November, 3pm, Leeds Art Gallery
Find out more or book a place at
Since 2011 Compass Festival has have been animating Leeds with interactive live art projects inviting the public to join the playful enquiry, silent contemplation, astonishing feats, hospitality and communality within and beyond the theatre or the gallery in the places where we live, work and play. Compass take time to work with artists and communities making sure the projects we commission are considered and fully engaged with their surroundings.