About Compass

Compass commissions and presents interactive live art projects in Leeds, UK. We run an artist residency programme, present standalone projects and exhibitions and artist development initiatives. Compass is also the driving force behind the biennial Compass Festival.

Photo: Lizzie Coombes Waterbourne | French & Mottershead

Photo: Lizzie Coombes Would Like to Meet | Scottee

Photo: Lizzie Coombes Measures of Us

Photo: Lizzie Coombes Demolition

Photo: Lizzie Coombes 1000 Handshakes

Photo: LizzieCoombes Four Legs Good

Photo: Lizzie Coombes Public House

Photo: Lizzie Coombes WARMTH

Since 2011 we have been animating our city with brilliant interactive live art projects in which we invite the public to join us in playful enquiry, silent contemplation, astonishing feats of madness, hospitality and communality within and beyond the theatre or the gallery, in the places where we live, work and play.

We believe that everyone can enjoy the very best of contemporary live art and we work closely with partners around the city and beyond to present thought provoking, entertaining and moving projects in a range of settings including libraries, markets, museums, shopping centres and the city streets.

We take time to work with artists and communities making sure the projects we commission are considered and fully engaged with their surroundings.

Compass is also the driving force behind Compass Festival, a biennial festival of live and interactive art projects that take place all over Leeds. The 5th edition of Compass Festival is coming to Leeds this November 2020 and the programme will be announced in the spring.

Join our mailing-list to find out more about our exciting plans for 2020.


See images from 2018

See images from 2016



What Audiences Say

“I really wouldn’t have expected to stumble on some place so lovely just at my doorstep... we had such good conversations. Normally that’s not really like me, I’m quite shy...”

“Fantastic event – loved the fact that it was silent so we were able to digest it and make our own thoughts...”

‘A great way to step out of the regular city life and discover a new perspective of it...’

“We were absolutely bowled over – fantastic in both concept and execution!! “

“I’m so happy I could cry!” 

Information for Artists

We create our programmes carefully through a range of artist residencies, open calls for proposals and invited commissions. We have just published an open call for Artist Development Bursaries, details here. We will be making new open calls for Compass Festival 2020 in Summer 2019. The best way to keep in touch with us is to join our mailing list via the contact page to keep abreast of the latest opportunities, coming to a Compass event or by dropping us an email to introduce yourself and your work. We look foward to meeting you.

“The level of support, advice and appropriate response to project demands has been outstanding... The technical and production support in realising this multi-stranded project was extraordinary.
In the case of Compass the work and its artist are literally supported and hosted from the point of arrival to the point of exit. We really appreciate this attention to detail on all levels as an art work itself”

Simon Persighetti & Katie Etheridge, Personal Shopper: Cornucopia! 

Ambassadors for Ecologies of Care

As an organisation we are proud to support and be an ambassador for Ecologies of Care; an initiative designed to raise awareness and increase best practice for the health and wellbeing of artists and arts workers across the sector led by artist Ria Hartley. Read more about the inititaitive here and access the OpenSource tool kit here.  
Compass was founded in 2010 by Annie Lloyd, Karen Watson (East Street Arts) and Sarah Spanton (Waymarking).