Compass Festival 2021

Kristy Stott, Theatre Editor
Compass Festival : One in, One Out: Leeds' Smallest Gay Bar
Image courtesy of Lizzie Coombes/ Compass Festival.

Compass Festival, 24 May–27 June 2021, free entry - Visit now

With live art installations and performance, Compass Festival is set to animate the city of Leeds this summer. Every two years the festival’s events pop up in public spaces across the city – you’ll find them in shopping centres, libraries, museums, markets and on the streets.

Three new in-person events have been announced as part of the 2021 programme.

Since 2011, Compass has been igniting Leeds with brilliant interactive live art projects. Inviting members of the public to experience and participate, thought-provoking and entertaining artworks can be found in a range of settings – and often outside of traditional spaces like theatres and galleries.

‘Three new in-person events – Anxiety Arcade, One In, One Out: Leeds’s Smallest Gay Bar and The Ballad of Crown Point Bridge – have been announced as part of the biennial festival’s 2021 programme.

Created by Leeds-based company Closed Forum, Anxiety Arcade celebrates retro video games and pop culture while opening a dialogue around mental health. Exploring themes of anxiety and isolation, the artwork consists of an original video game housed in a full-size arcade frame. The work is designed to encourage people to open up about mental health, rather than trying to solve it.

One In, One Out: Leeds’ Smallest Gay Bar is an installation for an audience of one, exploring the place of the gay bar in contemporary queer culture. Playful and interactive, the work has been developed by artist Lucy Hayhoe and aims to examine the significance of queer spaces in our cities.

An opportunity to reflect and celebrate the people, places and stories of Leeds.

A new ballad for Leeds, exploring notions of community and the beauty of water, has also been created for the festival. Blending voice recordings and the sounds of the city’s water, The Ballad of Crown Point Bridge is an original sonic artwork created by artist Amy Sharrocks.

Compass Festival is a much-loved feature of Leeds’ cultural calendar and offers the perfect opportunity to reflect and celebrate the people, places and stories of the city. For 2021, the festival will run throughout the whole year – there’ll be even more thought-provoking projects announced soon…

Compass Festival

24 May–27 June 2021
Free entry