Bedfringe is back

 Since 2011, the Bedford Clanger has proudly partnered with Bedfringe to bring you our guide to making the most of the festival.

With more than 150 shows taking place over 13 days in six venues, there is definitely something for everyone at this year’s event.  The Place Theatre once again joins the Quarry Theatre to host comedy, theatre, dance, music, poetry, film, children’s events and more.

Bedfringe Director James Pharoah has shared his absolute top pick with us, plus a further five highly recommended shows (there were so many great shows to choose from, it wasn’t easy.)

You can find further information about all shows, venues and ticket availability at


Bedfringe Director’s TOP PICK!

Silent Adventures: Sight Singing in Bedford!
Saturday 20 July from 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm
Tickets: £10.50 – £11.50
Age guidance: All
Join the Silent Adventures Team, as they lead you in song and dance around the streets & squares of Bedford for their famous one-hour guided adventure. Expect all your inhibitions to evaporate away, as you don hi-tech headsets and bust some funky new moves, whilst singing your heart out and serenading the rest of the world.

So “what on earth is it?” we hear you ask. Well, it’s a flash mob. It’s a silent disco. It’s a roaming, rhythmic riot across the town!


Splash Test Dummies
Saturday, 20 July at 2:00 pm 
Tickets: £10.00 – £12.00
Age Guidance:All
Splash Test Dummies are here, ready to roll out their beach towels and spring into a brand new hour of circus-filled hilarity for the whole family. See a brilliant array of catch-your-breath stunt work, acrobatics, juggling and the side-splitting, slapstick comedy, for which the Dummies are famous.

Are you ready to be taken on a new adventure?


Andrew Maxwell: All Talk (Edinburgh Preview)
Wednesday, 24 July at 9:00 pm 
Tickets: £10.00 – £12.00
Age Guidance: 14+
With a memorable cocktail of personal stories, astute political observations and the odd surprise foray into character cameos, Andrew is also known for his eagle-eyed, passionate, current-affairs comedy, showcased in his many appearances on BBC Radio 4 (News Quiz, Welcome to Wherever You Are, Public Enemies) and on television in shows such as, Live at the Apollo and Have I Got News for You.


David Alnwick: Actual Magic (Edinburgh Preview)
Saturday, 27 July at 6:00 pm 
Tickets: £8.00 – £10.00
Age Guidance: 13+
Dave Alnwick is a Magician.  This is a Magic Show.

With thirteen full-house Edinburgh Fringe runs, three national tours and one TV special under his belt, this new show for 2019 is definitely not to be missed.

Maureen Younger: Out of Sync (Edinburgh Preview)
Wednesday, 24 July- 9:00 pm 
Tickets: £8.00 – £10.00
Age Guidance: 18+
Maureen Younger is feeling at odds with the world.

It doesn’t help that she’s the only straight white woman that performs on the urban and gay comedy circuits, or that she is enthralled with Austrian and German literature. Is it time to fit in or just revel in her own eccentricity? Join Maureen, as she celebrates being unapologetically true to herself, even if it means being Out of Sync.


ROOM (for 1)
Monday, 22 July – Friday, 26 July
Performance times: 3.30pm 4.00pm 4.30pm 5.00pm 5.30pm
Tickets: £9.00
Age Guidance: 14+

You step inside. The walls are on fire. There’s an envelope on the floor. The phone rings. What would you like to do?” Welcome to ROOM, a story that we tell together. One audience member. 20 minutes. Everything is live and improvised in response to your imagination. Crazy? Surreal? Quiet? Romantic? Far out? Far in. Anything can happen. Shall we begin?

Some of the other shows at The Place

Comedy of Errors
Tuesday, 16 July at 7:00 pm 
Tickets: £8.00 – £10.00 Family ticket: £30.00 (max two adults)
Age Guidance: 8+
Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors tells the story of two sets of identical twins, who were accidentally separated at birth. What follows is a series of wild, hilarious mishaps, based on mistaken identities that lead to near-seductions, arrests, false accusations of infidelity, theft, madness and even demonic possession.

This production combines the comical nature of the text, with immersive live music and the warmth of a summer evening to bring to the stage a Shakespearean production unlike any other at The Place Theatre Outdoor Stage.


StageWrite: Writing for Theatre
Monday 22 and Tuesday 23 July at 6:00 pm 
Tickets: £6.00
Age Guidance: 13+
StageWrite, one of Bedford’s annual theatrical highlights, brings new work selected from emerging and established writers from all over the UK to The Place Theatre for BEDFRINGE 2019.

Four performances will take place as double bills over two nights and will be followed by a question-and-answer session with the writers, directors and actors.


The Trial
Saturday, 20 July- 3:30 pm – 4:25 pm
Tickets: £9.00
Age Guidance: 13+
Part stand-up, part gig, with a sparkling performance by Inês Sampaio, The Trial is an interactive new play that questions gender constructions in the 21st century. Can we reject authority, and live and love in a different way?

Donning musical instruments, a microphone and a loop pedal, Inês Sampaio invites the audience to join her on a journey of questioning, growth and discovery. Be unprejudiced witnesses and play jury to her story.

Choice Grenfell
Saturday, 20 July- 7:00 pm 
Tickets: £10.00
Age Guidance: 10+
This is a celebration of the 40th anniversary of the loss of the great, unremittingly genteel, comedienne and monologist, Joyce Grenfell.

Choice Grenfell is a wonderful tribute, featuring some of the best of Joyce’s hilarious songs and monologues, delving into some of her most endearing characters, ably accompanied by her trusted pianist, William Blezard. We are delighted that his family have allowed access to previously unpublished rehearsal recordings and personal letters from Joyce, allowing a unique insight into the queen of comediennes.


Swan Poetry: An Evening of Poetry & Prose
Sunday, 21 July- 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Tickets: £6.00
Age Guidance: 8+
Following another successful season of readings at The Eagle Bookshop, Swan present ‘An Evening of Poetry & Prose’ at BEDFRINGE 2019: a wide ranging selection of poetry, prose and drama, read by members of Swan Theatre Company and their guests.


Sunday 21 July at 5:30 pm 
Tickets: £9.00
Age Guidance: 14+
This won’t just be a group of people screaming in a dark room for an hour, but an exploration of medical and theatrical storytelling that transcends time.


The Quarry Theatre


The HandleBards: The Tempest
Friday 19 July at 6:30 pm 
Tickets: £10.00 – £12.00
Age Guidance: all
The world’s first cycling theatre company, The HandleBards, pedal from venue to venue with all the set, props and costume necessary to perform environmentally sustainable Shakespeare across the globe. Join their all-female troupe at Bedfringe for a bicycle-powered production of Shakespeare’s ’The Tempest’ like none other. In usual HandleBards style, expect riotous amounts of energy, a fair old whack of chaos, and a great deal of laughter.

This is an outdoor production, so please bring your own chair or blanket to sit on, a picnic to dig into, and dress for the weather!

Saturday 20 July 2:00 pm; Sunday 21 at 4pm; Monday 22 and Tuesday 23 at 6pm
Tickets: £8.00 – £10.00
Age Guidance: 18+
Three people are called to a meeting with their boss. One of them is going to be fired. In the course of an hour, we see the nasty, brutish side of workplace politics, as two candidates gang up on the other. Where does the line between banter and bullying lie and how far would you go to be successful?

Three people, two jobs, now would be a really bad time to have a stain on your jacket…

This sharp, savage black comedy from Mike Bartlett (Doctor Foster, King Charles III, Press) is a visceral examination of office life in a climate of austerity.


‘Best Of’ Castle Comedy Special
Sunday 21 July at 8pm
Tickets: £15.00
The Best Of Castle Comedy Special is bringing three of the biggest comedy stars from the UK comedy circuit to the Quarry Theatre stage for the ultimate comedy show.

Opening the show is Zoe Lyons (check out our interview below). With a mixture of silliness, satire and caustic one-liners she is one of the UK’s favourite comedians appearing on Live at the Apollo (BBC2), Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow (BBC1) Mock The Week (BBC2) Dave’s One Night Stand and she even reached the semi-final of Celebrity Masterchef (BBC1).

Next up is Brennan Reece, a rising star who burst onto the comedy scene after winning ‘English Comedian of the Year in 2015. The following year, he was nominated for Best Newcomer Award at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. He has appeared on Live at the Apollo (BBC2), Comedy Central at the Comedy Store and The Stand Up Sketch Show(ITV1).

Closing the show is Gary Delaney, a razor-sharp one-liner comedian, who is widely regarded as being the most quotable comic on the circuit! He is a regular guest star on Mock The Week and has also appeared on Dave’s ‘One Night Stand’ and Comedy Central at the Comedy Store. He has appeared twice on Live At The Apollo!

Suitable for ages 16yrs+


Shlomo’s Beatbox Adventure For Kids!
Tuesday 23 July at 4:00 pm
Tickets: £8.00 – £10.00
Shlomo is a world record-breaking beatboxer who makes all kinds of music using just his mouth and a mic. Join this sonic superhero and become one of his sidekicks in a world of funny sounds, brilliant noises and cool music, whether you’re aged 1 or 101!  “Forget one-man band, this guy is a one-man music festival.” THE TIMES


Elev8 Studios: Here Comes The Sun 2019
Thursday 25 July at 6:00 pm 
Tickets: £8.00 – £10.00
Age Guidance: all
After a fabulous time at Bedfringe 2018, Elev8 is delighted to be back this year, with a dazzling display of recent class work and a sneak preview of their upcoming bi-annual show, as well as performances from pupils who recently represented Team England in the 2019 Dance World Cup in Portugal. It’s set to be a sizzler of a show from Bedford’s Premier Dance Academy!


NOTFLIX: The Improvised Musical
Friday 26 July at 7:30 pm
Tickets: £10.00 – £12.00
This five-star sell-out show Edinburgh Fringe 2017-2018 combines the taste profiles of a room full of theatre go-ers to create a brilliantly hilarious and completely improvised viewing experience – a full musical.

The all-female cast of ‘Notflix’ (otherwise known as ‘Waiting For The Call Improv’) use audience suggestions of recently watched films to create a brand new, fully improvised, one-night-only musical inspired by one audience member’s idea and explanation. Every show is different but what remains is the same joy-filled, high camp, musical celebration of everything you wish a movie could be.

Because everything is better as a musical!


Circus of Illustration: All The World’s A Stage
Monday, 15 July – Saturday, 27 July
£Free Event
Bedfordshire’s illustration collective, The Circus Of Illustration, will return to the Quarry with a group exhibition inspired by everything thespian titled ‘All The World’s A Stage’. Expect affordable art from Bedfordshire and beyond.


Bedford Clanger exclusive interview: Zoe Lyons

We caught up with Castle Comedy fave, Zoe Lyons, to ask her about heckles, cooking and exactly how ludicrous is The GC?…

Chronologically and geographically, Bedfringe is the perfect stop off en route to EdFringe. Will the Bedford audience be treated to a sneak peek of your Entry Level Human show?
Well, here’s the thing. Entry Level Human was actually my show from last year in Edinburgh and I’ve decided to take it back for a second outing this year, with just a two week run. It will be slightly different to the original show which I previewed in Bedford last year. So, the Bedford crowd can come and sample my new bits (if that doesn’t sound too off putting!!)

What’s your favourite panel show to be on? What’s the one you’d love to be on?
I just did Have I got News For You recently for the first time and I’ve got to say I loved it. It was a lot of fun. Ian Hislop had a little bit of a set to with a Johnny Mercer, the Conservative MP and it got deliciously tense for a minute. I also love doing the News Quiz on Radio 4. I was very sad to see Miles Jupp leave the show, he was a joy to work with and always so funny. I would love to have a crack at QI. It looks like great fun and I am just interested in “stuff”.

What’s more terrifying: telling jokes in front of hundreds of strangers or cooking for John Torrode and Greg Wallace?
Definitely cooking for John and Greg. I had some proper disasters on Masterchef. Sometimes the food looked OK but tasted dreadful or looked dreadful but actually tasted OK. I made a pie with so many cloves in it, it made Greg’s face go numb. I know it’s just a bit of cooking but they are so good at ramping up the tension, it was very stressful but also such a good experience. I did however give myself tennis elbow by carrying so many heavy pans over the weeks!

What was the most ludicrous thing the GC said while you were on Masterchef together?
We were filming at the British Airways training academy where they have all the flight simulators. I could not get her to understand what a flight simulator was, she just kept saying “Yeah…. But what actually is it?” In the end it was easier to explain that it was just a tanning stand on stilts.

What’s the best heckle you’ve ever had?
I once picked up off the stage by a very large man and carried around the room. I don’t know if you could call that a heckle but it has stuck with me.

Zoe Lyons is performing at the ‘Best Of’ Castle Comedy Special, Sunday 21 July at 8pm at the Quarry Theatre

Bedford Clanger exclusive interview: Mike Lemme
American comedian, Mike Lemme is so excited about coming to Bedfringe that he’s joined some local Facebook groups, made some local friends and has asked a local comedian to perform with him…

Have you been to the UK before? 
Yes! This will be my third trip to the UK in the last two years. I have previously performed in London at The Albany, Backyard Comedy Club, inside a meeting room in Shoreditch also in Glasgow at YesBar and The Stand.

Are you performing at the Edinburgh Fringe?
Yes! I’ll be performing with two fellow American comedians, Carter Morgan and Jeanne Whitney, at 10:50PM every night inside Just The Wee One at The Caves.

What do you think you’ll like most about Bedford?
I’m already in love with The Quarry Theatre based off the pictures alone. I’m honored to perform at such a unique and beautiful venue.

What are you most excited to seeing in Bedford?
The people! Everyone I’ve connected with so far in Bedford has been incredibly nice and helpful. I’m looking forward to putting on a fun show for everyone, who is looking for a late night laugh on the 23rd of July.

Which local comedian are you working with?
I’ll be working with Nee Ridge. He performs regularly around Bedfordshire but this will also be his Bedfringe debut! He also recently performed in London and Hong Kong. Very funny, kind and helpful, a great representative for Bedford.

An evening with Mike Lemme (and his many emotions) is at the Quarry Theatre on Tuesday 23 July at 9pm

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