Announcing Compass Festival 2016

A welcome return of the biennial Compass Festival is confirmed for 11 – 20 November 2016.

WARMTH - A Mobile Sauna Bethany Wells

Of All the People in All the World Stan’s Café © Ed Dimsdale

Of All the People in All the World Stan’s Café © Graeme Braidwood

Personal Shopper: Cornucopia! Katie Etheridge & Simon Persighetti

Personal Shopper: Cornucopia! Katie Etheridge & Simon Persighetti

Last Act Of Rebellion Lone Twin

Animating the city with brilliant interactive live art projects in libraries, markets, museums, shopping centres, secret locations and d.i.y. spaces. Incredible artworks invite the people of Leeds to activate and complete them; to join in playful enquiry, silent contemplation, astonishing feats of madness, hospitality, and communality right where they live, work and play.

Save the dates as we share with you some of the headline projects of Compass Festival 2016.

We are delighted to announce three specially commissioned world premieres. Bethany Wells has created WARMTH, a delightful mobile, wood-fired sauna designed for experimental performance and relaxation. Etheridge and Persighetti return for the completion of their three-year project with shoppers and traders at Leeds Kirkgate Market. Personal Shopper: Cornocopia! invites you on bespoke guided tours of the market made by the people who shop and work there. And Lone Twin are celebrating 20 years of their incredible artistic partnership with a brand new theatre performance. Last Act of Rebellion will premiere on 19 November at the Howard Assembly Room.

And if you think statistics are too abstract to comprehend, Compass Festival has invited Stan’s Cafe to re-imagine their world-renowned installation: Of All The People in All The World at Leeds Central Library. One ton of rice – a grain for everyone in the UK – will be weighed and displayed to alarming and moving effect.

Our full programme including all projects, talks, discussions and the Festival hub will be announced this September. We promise experiences for all ages and states of mind: sound art; creative responses to the 2016 Leeds flooding; walking (quite a bit of walking); fortune telling; parties; dancing and much, much more.

Most events are free and require no advance booking, so spread the word. We hope to see you in November if not before.


Annie Lloyd and Peter Reed
Compass Festival



First four projects announced:



WARMTH - a mobile sauna

@ Art Hostel
12 – 14 & 17 – 19 November


Inspired by Finnish sauna culture, Bethany Wells has built a mobile, wood-fired sauna in a converted horse trailer, functioning as a space for experimental performance and impromptu gatherings. Timber-lined, with wood smoke rising from the chimney, it brings a nomadic presence to the street. By inviting people to step out of their day and into the WARMTH, it offers a liberating communal experience. 

A programme of guest artists will animate the sauna over the festival with a series of funny and thoughtful short performances, whilst at other times it will simply be a place to relax. Appealing to all the senses, this hot, fragrant, dimly-lit haven creates a pocket of Scandinavia in Leeds City Centre.

Commissioned by Compass Festival



Personal Shopper: Cornocopia!

@ Leeds Kirkgate Market
11 – 19 November

In the sensory labyrinth of Leeds Kirkgate Market, Personal Shopper: Cornucopia! is the market in microcosm, a 21st Century Still Life of fruit, fish, textiles, jewellery, frying pans, friends and experiences. Offering a pick-and-mix selection of micro tours led by local shoppers, traders, market enthusiasts and mis-guides, Katie and Simon invite you to navigate the market through a series of idiosyncratic Personal Shopper tours where poetic, playful and practical insights are intertwined with personal histories, individual passions, and lived experiences.

The tours are collected in a new publication: Personal Shopper: A Market Mis-Guide produced especially for Compass Festival 2016.

Personal Shopper: Cornucopia! is the culmination of a 3 year project by Katie Etheridge & Simon Persighetti, supported by Compass Festival, exploring and celebrating the rich network of relationships between shoppers, traders and goods in Kirkgate Market.

Find out how to take part here

Commissioned by Compass Festival



Last Act of Rebellion

@ Howard Assembly Room
19 November

Lone Twin, one of the UK’s most distinctive and celebrated performance companies, mark their 20th anniversary in 2017. Compass Festival are proud to start the celebrations early with the world premiere of Last Act of Rebellion. Artistic Directors, Gary Winters and Gregg Whelan bring together collaborators from across the arts to work with the mighty playlist of popular song the duo began collating in 1997; these are the songs of our time, the songs we all carry with us. Each collaborator, be they visual artist, theatre maker, dancer or choreographer, has chosen one song to respond to, creating a dance for Gary and Gregg to perform in a series of outlandish, confounding and often hilarious duets.
Last Act Of Rebellion; an eclectic group of collaborators working with songs that are perhaps a little too well known, creating dances for two men in their mid-forties who know no better.

Commissioned by Compass Festival, created with support from Falmouth University, presented in partnership with Opera North Projects.




Of All The People in All The World

Room 700, Leeds Central Library
16 – 19 November

Stan’s Cafe offers a grain of truth about our planet: every grain of rice represents someone, somewhere. For this beautifully simple performance installation, the artists build small and large mounds of rice representing the political and social realities in the world: one grain of rice for the Queen, twelve grains for people who have walked on the moon, a pile for teachers in the UK, a heap for millionaires in Europe, and a mountain for people fleeing from war and disaster.

Stan’s Cafe are delighted to bring Of All The People In All The World to Leeds, where visitors are invited to put their own questions and suggestions to the artists, ensuring an ever­changing rice landscape. By making normally abstract statistics tangible and placing them in thoughtful relation to each other, this powerful work of art is witty, shocking and ultimately moving.



Compass Young Producers

We’re delighted to announce the return of our Compass Young Producers scheme, more information can be found here