This is why every phone box in Leeds will ring in unison on the same day at Compass Festival 2021

A portable museum, pop-up pub and audio experience where every Leeds telephone box rings in unison are the first projects announced for a Leeds arts festival.
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Compass Festival 2021 will run from Friday March 19 to Sunday March 21 after being rescheduled from November due to the national lockdown.

The interactive festival's fifth event will take place in Covid-safe settings across Leeds, including bridges, shopping centres, purpose built spaces and the city’s streets.

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More than 13,000 people visited the last Compass Festival in 2018, but next year's event has been adapted to meet social distancing restrictions.

The Pick Me Up (& hold me tight) exhibition will see all of Leeds’ public phone boxes ring at 11amThe Pick Me Up (& hold me tight) exhibition will see all of Leeds’ public phone boxes ring at 11am
The Pick Me Up (& hold me tight) exhibition will see all of Leeds’ public phone boxes ring at 11am

Items from Leeds collectors including cats’ whiskers, drum-kits and models of hands have been re-fashioned into a set of artworks for Museums in People’s Homes, a portable museum which will be featured at the festival.

The second confirmed exhibition is part of a national project to make the 34,000 payphones across the UK ring at once.

The audio experience Pick Me Up (& hold me tight) explores how people listen to each other and will see all of Leeds’ public phone boxes ring at 11am each day during the festival.

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A four-sided, fully operational pop-up pub The Yorkshire Square will come to Kirkgate Market during the festival.

The Compass Festival teamThe Compass Festival team
The Compass Festival team

The project looks at the importance of the pub in people's lives and includes the opportunity to vote to recreate a lost Leeds pub.

Further performances, installations and podcasts will be announced in January.

Festival co-director Annie Lloyd said: “Among the many qualities we’ve seen in this dreadful year are the power of community, our resilience and adaptability, and our care for each other - themes that run through 2021’s edition of Compass Festival.

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"For the last two years we have supported the most amazing artists firstly to develop their projects and then to adapt them in response to the changing conditions.

"We are proud of the work they have achieved and can’t wait to share it with the people of Leeds.

"Amidst all the uncertainty we feel we have a responsibility to carefully encourage people to be creative and playful again in public spaces when the time is right, for the sake of our cultural life, for the sake of art and artists, and for everyone’s mental wellbeing.

“Whether you are out and about or staying home, we have created many entry points from which to enjoy the festival so you can be inspired and remain safe at the same time.

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"Now more than ever we are indebted to the imagination of artists as they bring joy and remind us of our common humanity.”

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