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Compass - the launch of a live art development programme for Yorkshire and the Humber

  • Date: 6 December 2010
  • Area: North

An exciting new programme that aims to stimulate the growth of live art in Yorkshire and the Humber through collaboration and connectivity is now up and running.

Compass will include a series of free public live arts events to engage and excite the public, showcase local talent, and link the best work nationally and internationally.

Alongside the public events Compass is running a professional development programme and hosting a series of sector meetings, bringing members of the region's live art sector together to develop audiences, share information and knowledge, and look at future collaborations.

The programme, which is supported by Arts Council in Yorkshire, will culminate next year in a weekend symposium and festival.

Compass is led by a consortium of partners, Sarah Spanton and Waymarking, Annie Lloyd and East Street Arts, working with a number of individuals and organisations, who will host events and develop and deliver projects as part of the programme, including O U I Performance (York), Bloc Projects (Sheffield), Red Gallery (Hull), Lawrence Batley Theatre (Huddersfield), New Work Yorkshire (Leeds), Proto-type Theater (Lancaster), Point Blank Theatre / Riverside Café (Sheffield), and Yorkshire Dance (Leeds).

The programme officially launched on 25 November with a performance art event at East Street Arts' Patrick Studio  in Leeds. From West to North to South to East and Back featured work by artists Helen Pritchard and Graeme Murrell.

Huddersfield-based Murrell presented Over Here Over There: Talking the Walk, a 15 minutes performance lecture detailing a 15 mile walk between Leeds and Huddersfield following a superimposed road route between Dortmund and Unna in the Ruhr Valley, while Plymouth-based Helen Pritchard's Spirit Rally 3 invited people to participate in an experimental sonic event to explore how we might share a sonic language in order to facilitate individual thinking to a collective level

This was the first is a series of six performance art events in visual art and artist-led context taking place as part of Compass between November 2010 and June 2011. The events are being led by East Street Arts and co-curated with Compass Associates, OUI Performance, Bloc Projects and Red Gallery.

The professional development programme features three practical live art workshops taking place across the region, led by Sarah Spanton. The first workshop took place on 13 November at Lawrence Batley Theatre in Huddersfield.

The organisers' aim is that the programme will provide the basis for researching a longer term vision for the sector to work towards over the next five years.

Judit Bodor, Programme Curator at East Street Arts, said: 'With the proposed programme and infrastructure development our aim is to cultivate live art and develop relationships between artists, promoters, organisers, funders and the public so we can understand each other better in the region while at the same time become more visible on both national and international level. Providing a flexible framework as well as space and time for dialogue now is vital to encourage cooperation and collaboration in the future.'

Ralph Dartford, Relationship Manager at  Arts Council England, Yorkshire, added: 'Compass is a focused and wide reaching programme that will contribute to the continued development of live arts in Yorkshire and  the Humber. By bringing together individuals and organisations Compass can draw on a wealth of experience and skills, and a pool of resources which will enable it to make a significant impact. The programme will create new and increased opportunities for people across the region to participate in live arts - and it will be fascinating to see how the outcomes of its strategic explorations build in the longer term on the momentum which Compass will bring to the live arts sector over the next 12 months.'

For more information about Compass visit or follow the project on twitter