Four Legs Good. Photo: Lizzie Coombes

Compass Festival bursts onto the streets of Leeds every other November, bringing incredible live art and interactive encounters to cultural venues, civic buildings, local businesses and the city streets. 

We commission and invite artists to Leeds with projects that are specifically designed to reflect and celebrate the people, places and stories of our city whilst asking important questions about our lives and the world around us. 

We invite you to join us in playful enquiry, silent contemplation, astonishing feats of madness, hospitality and communality, in the places where we live, work and play.

Save the dates! Compass 2018 runs 16 – 25 November 2018 and we are delighted to announce the first of this year’s main projects.


Image of Scottee with a cup of tea

Scottee. Photo: Holly Revell



A street in Leeds near you
Exhibition 17 - 25 November

Commissioned by Compass Festival

Would Like to Meet (WLTM) is a new project from award-winning artist Scottee. After 30 years of living on a council estate and moving into a terraced house this year, for the first time Scottee has found himself isolated from his neighbours. Responding to this, he has created WLTM, addressing urban isolation and community building.

WLTM will work with a residential street in Leeds and ask those who live there about the sort of people they would like to meet, the neighbours they wish for and why they don't currently interact. From these conversations, he’ll create estate agent-style placards to be placed outside each house participating in the project e.g. ‘No 7 WLTM someone to help reach things from the top shelf' or 'No 9 WLTM Rhinos fans and someone to go to the gym with’, creating opportunities for neighbours to talk to each other, and find shared values and hobbies.

After a week, Scottee will revisit the street to find out if they’ve met anyone new, and make some introductions over tea and cake. People who don’t live on the street will be invited to listen to conversations with residents in the form of a podcast, and to visit the street as a landmark of possibilities, hope and potential.


Image of dog in judge's chair

Four Legs Good. Photo: Lizzie Coombes


Jack Tan

Leeds Town Hall
Corridor installation 17 - 24 November

Day of live hearings 24 November 

Commissioned by Compass Festival

Four Legs Good is a contemporary revival of the medieval animal trials which took place in Britain and throughout Europe, where animals who had been accused of committing crimes were brought to court, provided defence counsel and prosecuted in full hearings before a judge.

For Compass 2018, artist Jack Tan will reimagine Leeds Town Hall as the site of a fictional Department of Animal Justice and stage a series of live ‘moot’ animal trials where practising barristers will argue claims brought by or against animal clients, before a judge and jury at the old Victorian courtroom in Leeds Town Hall.

Exploring the legal framework which surrounds humans, animals and our shared environment, the work invites us to reconsider our understanding of the position of humans in relation to animals and the environment. Leeds Town Hall users will encounter what appears to be a working Animal Court evidenced by signage, court leaflets, legal heritage displays and a court website. This culminates in a day of live hearings of animals belonging to and nominated by local animal charities and organisations, where the animals will also be bringing cases of their own against humans.


Image of Measures of Us scoreboards

Measures of Us. Photo: Katja Ogrin


Redhawk Logistica
Neighbourhood voting 19 - 23 November

City centre installation 24 - 25 November

Over 5 days during the festival, Measures of Us will unfold in six neighbourhoods around the city, asking questions which take us far away from political polls and complicated surveys to capture feeling and mood, and show us our responses.

Using electronic voting boxes installed in public locations such as library desks, shop counters or the entrance to their local park, people can mark their response to a question we’ll ask each day. Daily results will be displayed in the form of illuminated artworks, inspired by cricket scoreboards.

At the end of the week these light activated visual displays will come together in the city centre where the public will be invited to share interpretations of the similarities and differences of responses from each neighbourhood. Measures of Us takes the temperature of the city, capturing a moment in time in a wash of colour

Measures of Us is an artwork by Redhawk Logsitica and was created through a collaboration between Orit Azaz, Rob Hewitt and Lisa Koeman on behalf of Birmingham Cathedral.

You can see a video from Measures of Us Birmingham from 2016 here.




Our full programme including all projects with dates, times and locations will be announced in September.


Compass reminds us how culture can give a city its soul

Cllr Lucinda Yeadon, Deputy Leader of Leeds City Council 2016


Compass makes a compelling and powerful case for a Live Art festival that manages to reach out beyond its potentially limited audience with work that is risky and challenging

European Festivals Association

In 2017 Compass Festival was awarded the “Extraordinary Festival'' label by the European Festivals Association.


Most importantly, our audiences say:

 Brilliant, beautiful, thought provoking and very funny

Lovely experience, enjoyed the communal atmosphere and the informality of the performances

I feel so happy I could cry