What’s on Bedford: 2 – 12 December 2021

It’s now December, so the festive season has officially kicked off and we can wear our Christmas jumpers with pride. From comedy to theatre, cinema to late night shopping, we’ve got you covered for the next 10 days.

Until 24 December 2021

Santa’s Grotto
Harpur Centre from 10am every weekend before Christmas and daily from Monday 20 December
one child………….£4.00 | £3.20 (with discount code BI1)
two children…….£7.50 | £6.00 (with discount code BI1)
three children…….£10.00 | £8.00 (with discount code BI1)
four children…….£13.50 | £10.80 (with discount code BI1)

Don’t miss your chance to meet Santa in his Grotto at the Harpur Centre this year. All good children will receive a special gift on entry and the chance to buy a photo with the main man himself.

Don’t forget to use our exclusive BI1 code to receive a 20% discount.

Thursday 2 December 2021

Late night shopping
Bedford town centre til 8pm

The Harpur Centre and selected other shops will be open in Bedford town centre until 8pm this Thursday for late-night Christmas shopping.

Thursday 2 – Saturday 4 December 2021

Theatre: Once Upon a Christmas Song
Sharnbrook Mill Theatre @ 7.30pm
Tickets: £14

Sharnbrook Mill Theatre has the perfect way for you to start the yuletide season with a show packed full of holiday treats.

“Once Upon a Christmas Song” is a little present of the best of stage, screen and literature, all wrapped together to celebrate everything festive.

Filled with a rich collection of music, poems, dance and readings from traditional stories, it really is a glittering show for all the family.
Performed by their talented cast of 15 and accompanied by the theatre’s live band, at the most wonderful time of the year you are guaranteed a wonderful Christmas time!

Tickets are now on sale from the theatre website or in person from Pick-A-Lily Florists in Sharnbrook.

Thursday 2 December 2021

Musical theatre: Totally Tina
Bedford Corn Exchange @ 7.30pm
Tickets: £23

The award-winning Tina Turner spectacular comes to Bedford, inviting us all to come and shake a tail feather with the UK’s supreme Tina – Justine Riddoch – and her talented cast.

This breathtaking recreation of a live Tina Turner concert celebrates the golden anniversary of the Queen of Rock ’n’ Roll’s signature tune Proud Mary. Tina’s no-holds-barred take of the song established a reputation for fearsome live performances – and those never-ending legs!

Early hits, including River Deep – Mountain High and Nutbush City Limits, were just a taste of what was to come. We Don’t Need Another Hero, Simply the Best, What’s Love Got to Do With It, I Don’t Wanna Lose You and When the Heartache is Over propelled Tina to stadium concert stardom.

Supported by her dazzling dancing girls in sequins, feathers and diamonds, Justine recreates those famed live performances.

Thursday 2 December 2021

Live music: Emily Capell
Bedford Esquires @ 8pm
Tickets: £10

Emily Capell returns to Esquires after an amazing show in February 2020. The singer-songwriter and musician from North West London has it all, the voice, the talent and the beehive.

With a wide range of influences from Dolly Parton to The Clash, Emily has brought a new genre of country, ska, doo wopp and pop to the music scene.

In 2018 Emily won the ‘Jools Holland Best Newcomer’ award at the Boisdale venues. She has been record of the week on Radio X, 6 music and BBC radio London with her infectious floor-filler, ‘Bonanza’.

Thursday 2 December 2021

Live music: Princess Goes to the Butterfly Museum
Bedford Esquires @ 8pm
Tickets: £20


Princess Goes to the Butterfly Museum’s captivating self-titled debut was recorded spontaneously for the sheer joy of creation and collaboration. The EP showcases what happens when three consummate artists commit themselves to fully inhabiting the present, working together without boundaries or restrictions.

One of those artists, Michael C Hall (see slightly menacing video clip), may be the most recognizable face in the band (known for his work on the HBO drama Six Feet Under and the Showtime’s series Dexter), but his bandmates boast similarly prodigious resumes. Yanowitz began his career playing drums in The Wallflowers before going on to co-found indie stalwarts Morningwood and work with artists as varied as Natalie Merchant, Yoko Ono, Andrew W.K., and Billy Bragg & Wilco. Keyboardist Matt Katz-Bohen, meanwhile, spent the last decade touring and recording with Blondie, in addition to working with the likes of Boy George and Cindy Lauper.

Thursday 2 December 2021

Live music: Choir performances at St Paul’s Christmas Tree Festival

10.30 – 11.30 Wixams Academy
11.30 – 12.00 Bedford Girls School
12.00 – 12.30 Kempston Hammers Community Choir
13.30 – 14.00 Bedfordshire Home Education
14.30 – 15.00 Bedford Girls School
15.30 – 16.00 The Rock Choir

Friday 3 December 2021

Children’s theatre: Jack Frost
The Place Theatre @ 11:30am, 1.30pm & 3,30pm
Tickets: £10/£5

A magical, wintery production brings Jack Frost to life through puppetry, music and enchanting storytelling. Meet our mischievous sprite on a snowy adventure but wrap up warm or you’ll catch Jack nipping at your fingers and toes! A story about embracing and celebrating differences to warm hearts this winter.

Suitable for ages 3+. Visit the website to find out about relaxed performances.

Friday 3 December 2021

Shopping: Christmas Jumper Party
The Arc @ 5pm – 9pm

Head to the Arc on Howard Street any time from 5pm to 9pm for fizz, food and shopping. And wall to wall CHRISTMAS.

The wearer of the best Christmas jumper will win a £100 voucher for the Arc. Perfect to spend on Christmas shopping or – even better – treats for yourself.  T&C’s Apply.

Friday 3 December 2021

Live music: Choir performances at St Paul’s Christmas Tree Festival
Entry: £3

12.00 – 12.30 St Joseph’s and St Gregory’s Primary
14.00 – 14.30 Carers in Bedfordshire Choir
14.30 – 15.00 Come and Sing Saturday 4th December
10.30 – 11.00 Greensand Community Choir
11.00 – 11.30 Ouse Valley Singers
11:30 – 12:00 Biddenham Handbell Ringers
12.00 – 13.00 Music4Memory –Tibbs Dementia Foundation
13.30 – 14.00 Fusion Youth Choir
14.00 – 14.30 Eagle Choir
14.30 – 15.00 Kempston Musical Society
15:00 – 16.00 Sharnbrook Community Choir
16:00 Christingle Service

Friday 3 December 2021

Musical theatre: Lost in Music
Bedford Corn Exchange @ 7.30pm
Tickets: £25

Get ready to recreate the musical magic of the 70s on this journey straight to the heart of Disco.

Relive some of the greatest songs of all time from artists including Donna Summer, Gloria Gaynor, Earth, Wind & Fire, Sister Sledge and Chic.

This show boasts a sensational live band, incredibly talented cast and stunning vocals. Come dressed to impress to celebrate the golden age of Disco featuring Never Can Say Goodbye, On The Radio, Hot Stuff, Car Wash, Boogie Wonderland and many, many more.

Friday 3 December 2021

Live music: LIFE + Guests
Bedford Esquires @ 8pm
Tickets: £9.50
“We’re very, very excited about this one,” said Esquires’ Gareth Barber. “We’ve spent literally four years trying to get a show with Life sorted out in Bedford.
“We’ve caught this band on many occasions and can very much vouch for the fact that you must make yourself available on this date and you must get a ticket to see them.
“It’s either that, or be forever swimming in a sea or regret for all of eternity, your choice.”

Friday 3 December 2021

Live music: Evening Festival Concert
St Paul’s Church @ 7.30pm
Tickets: £17.50

Experience the St Paul’s Christmas Tree Festival at night during the atmospheric evening Festival Concert by Minerva Piano Trio playing Mozart, Vivaldi, Ravel and Stravinsky.

Funds raised during the Christmas Tree Festival are shared between St Paul’s church and the Bedford Hosptial and Friends Charity.

Friday 3 December 2021

Film: Seven Samurai (1954)
The Place Theatre @ 7pm
Tickets: £5

A samurai answers a village’s request for protection after he falls on hard times. The town needs protection from bandits, so the samurai gathers six others to help him teach the people how to defend themselves, and the villagers provide the soldiers with food. A giant battle occurs when 40 bandits attack the village.
Directed by: Akira Kurosawa
Length: 207 min
Language: Japanese with English subtitles

Saturday 4 December 2021

Children: The Mo-Joe Children’s Book Event
Higgins Bedford @ 11:30am & 2pm
Free entry but booking is essential

Mo is a feisty, adventurous grandma who sends monsters packing and is forever rescuing her beloved cat, Siamese Joe, who gets himself into all sorts of pickles.

Join Grandma Mo and Siamese Joe at The Higgins Bedford as they read fun stories about their adventures. Suitable for ages three to seven-years-old.

Book your free tickets online at thehigginsbedford.org.uk or call the Box Office on 01234 718044 (line open Monday – Friday 11am – 3pm).

Saturday 4 December 2021

Theatre: Count Magnus: Two Ghost Stories by M R James
Quarry Theatre at St Luke’s @ 7.30pm
Tickets: £14.50/£12.50

“At first they hear nothing at all. Then they hear someone scream, just as if the most inside part of his soul was twisted out of him.”

The ghost stories of M R James amuse and terrify as powerfully today as when they were first written over a century ago. Nunkie Theatre Company brings two of these classic spinechillers to life, in this thrilling one-man show at the Quarry Theatre.

In Count Magnus, a travel-writer’s over-inquisitiveness leads to a diabolical chase from darkest Sweden to rural Essex. Denmark is the setting for Number 13, where a hotel room with the famously unlucky number, conceals a ghastly, baffling secret.

Saturday 4 December 2021

Comedy: Love Me Some Comedy
Harpur Suite @ 7.45pm
Tickets: £19.50

A night of comedy from some top class acts including Aurie Styla (BBC / Jonathon Ross Comedy Club / Comedy Central) – Birthday Boy!
Slim (Russell Howard’s Good News / Mo Gilligan’s Black British & Funny)
Trixx (Great Canadian Laugh-Off / Award-Winning International Comedian)
Luisa Omielan (Live At The Apollo / What Would Beyonce Do?)
Raj Poojara (Rising Star New Comedian of the Year Finalist)

Music is provided by DJ X Wilson and there’s a free Love Me Some VIBES afterparty featuring The SheJay, DJ Ross Anthony and more…

Saturday 4 December 2021

Live music: UK Subs
Bedford Esquires @ 7pm

UK Subs are returning to Bedford to perform the iconic LP Brand New Age alongside Subs classic anthems.

Saturday 4 December 2021

Live music: Folk night featuring Blair Dunlop
The Place Theatre @ 8p
Tickets: £12

The award-winning British singer-songwriter and guitarist, Blair Dunlop, has now released four albums, two EPs and toured around the globe. All of this – plus Radio 2 playlist staus for his two singles (The Egoist and 365) – in just a five-year career.

Prior to this Blair released his acclaimed album ‘House Of Jacks’ in mid-2014 which lived up to the promise of his 2012 debut ‘Blight and Blossom’ (the quality of which contributed to his winning the BBC Radio 2 Horizon Award).

Sunday 5 December 2021

Family: Cairngorm reindeer, free face painting, Bedford Town Band and more
Harpur Square, Howard Centre and the Old Arcade
From 11am

Image Credit – Hen Robinson

From 11am – 2pm, the Cairngorm Reindeer are taking a break from the North Pole and coming to Harpur Square. Santa will also be coming to say hello to his four-legged friends.

From 10am to 3pm – free face painting and balloon artistry in Howard Centre.

If you’re feeling peckish, Lingers Butchers will be offering hog roast baps and other hot snacks, while Dessert Boss will be on hand to serve up some sweet treats.

Bedford Town Band will be performing a medley of Christmas songs and traditional carols and from noon, Kempston Hammers Community Choir will be performing a festive set in Harpur Square.

Sunday 5 December 2021

Live music: Choir performances at St Paul’s Christmas Tree Festival
Entry: £3 / under 16s free

12.00 – 12.30 Bedford Modern Singers
13.00 – 13.30 Opus 18 Community Choir
14.00 – 14.00 The Phoenix Chorus
14.30 – 15.00 The Goldentones
15.00 – 15.30 Inis Eire

Sunday 5 December 2021

Food & Drink: EAT Feast Christmas special
Riverside Square @ noon til 9pm

This free event kicks off at lunchtime and goes on into the evening, so grab your family and friends and get ready to share some gorgeous food – washed down with a cheeky Christmas tipple.

With plenty of vegan, veggie and gluten free options on offer, EAT Feast will have an array of international flavours from established food trucks and caterers, coming together to celebrate good food and great company.

Sunday 5 December 2021

Poetry: Read Poets Society: an evening of poetry and prose
Eagle Bookshop @ 7pm
Tickets: pay what you can – £10

Join The Read Poets Society for their monthly event at the Eagle Bookshop. This month’s theme is ‘When Willy met Annie; Shakespeare and Other Lovers’ – a romantic evening of prose, poetry and drama celebrating 439 years of that horse and carriage, love and marriage.

Hosted at The Eagle Bookshop, this welcoming venue can accommodate an audience of up to 30, and features a raised stage area for performers.

The Read Poets Society welcomes real enthusiasts. To volunteer as a performer, please contact Paul at jpbarnes2021@gmail.com

To attend as an audience member, you can book tickets here.

Sunday 5 December 2021

Live music: Boyzlife
Bedford Corn Exchange @ 7.30pm
Tickets: £29.50/VIP meet & greet £80

Two of the world’s biggest bands – Boyzone and Westlife – come together for the very first time, featuring Brian McFadden and Keith Duffy.

This specially adapted theatre production will include many of their greatest hits, including  a record-breaking 18 number one singles, 9 number one albums and combined record sales of over 60 Million Units.

A handful of tickets are still available via the Corn Exchange website.

Sunday 5 December 2021

Live music: Beans on Toast
Bedford Esquires @ 7.30pm
Tickets: £15

Folk hero Beans On Toast returns to Esquires as part of his UK tour.

Monday 6 December 2021

Film: August in the Water (1995) + Introduction by Ellisha Izumi
The Place Theatre @ 8pm
Tickets: £5 (Japanese with English subtitles)

Screening as part of Japan 2020: Over 100 years of Japanese Cinema, a UK-wide film season supported by National Lottery and BFI Film Audience Network.
The Place Theatre is proud to welcome British/Japanese curator Ellisha Izumi to introduce the film and lead a post-screening discussion.
A teenage girl gains supernatural power after an accident and comes to understand her place in the universe.


Wednesday 8 December 2021

Film: Gatsby
Cinema @ 3 St Peters
Tickets: £9/£10.50/£12

This week’s Cinema @ St Peter’s screening is Baz Luhrmann’s visual feast, Gatsby.

The film is an adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Long Island-set novel, where Midwesterner Nick Carraway is lured into the lavish world of his neighbour, Jay Gatsby.

Soon enough, however, Carraway will see through the cracks of Gatsby’s nouveau riche existence, where obsession, madness, and tragedy await.

Wednesday 8 December 2021

Quiz: Big Fat Christmas Quiz
Bridges Espresso Bar @ 7pm
Tickets: £5/person redeemable against purchases on the night

Grab your fave festive jumper, for an evening of Christmas quizzing fun at Bridges.

Full of Christmas cheer, mulled wine and mince pies, teams of six will face rounds about Christmas, 2021, Bridges and Bedford… as well as some random trivia.

Prizes for the winners and best Christmas jumper.

Wednesday 8 December 2021

Comedy: Jason Manford
Bedford Corn Exchange @ 7.30pm
Tickets: £30

He’s back! It’s been a busy few years for Jason since his last smash-hit stand up show but fans of his Absolute Radio show will know this nationally acclaimed comedian hasn’t changed a bit. ‘Like Me’ is Jason’s latest comic offering set to hit the road, and is sure to be ‘expert observational comedy’ (The Guardian) mixed with ‘comic gold’ (Mail on Sunday).

Thursday 9 – Friday 10 December 2021

Theatre: The West End at Christmas
The Place Theatre
Tickets from £15 (available from the website)

The West End At Christmas are back! Stars from the West End present a magical evening of entertainment featuring hits from the musicals and the best of Christmas song.

The exceptionally talented cast have starred in many West End productions and national tours including Les Miserables, We Will Rock You, South Pacific, Starlight Express, Phantom Of The Opera, Wicked, Legally Blonde, Joseph and Cats… to name but a few!


Thursday 9 December 2021

Late night shopping
Bedford town centre til 8pm

The Harpur Centre and selected other shops will be open in Bedford town centre until 8pm this Thursday for late-night Christmas shopping.

Thursday 9 December 2021

Live music: Coupdekat + Rylands Heath + Belonging + Louise Harris
Bedford Esquires @ 8pm
Tickets: £5

Thursday 9 December 2021

Live music: Bernard Butler
Bedford Esquires SOLD OUT

Bernard Butler returns to Bedford for a sell out acoustic show at Esquires this week. After forming Suede in 1989 he went on to have a solo career and is an award-winning producer.

Friday 10 December 2021

Live music: Daft Funk live
Bedford Esquires @ 8pm
Tickets: £10 Over 18s only

I love Daft Punk, you love Daft Punk. Esquires were never gonna get to be able to book Daft Punk, so they’re putting on the next best thing.

The night will be a full-on party, with live DJ/Drummer HITMAN and B-Town’s best DJ, Mass C providing the sounds before, between and after until the early hours.

Dedicated to recreating the sounds and atmosphere of a Daft Punk ‘LIVE’ experience, the band’s meticulously crafted stage productions feature authentic costumes and synchronised custom light shows, with over 1500 LEDs, and a three-metre pyramid.

In light of the recent split of the official robots, the equally mysterious ‘Daft Funk LIVE’ will continue to perform Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger – their work is never over.

Friday 10 December 2021

Comedy: John Bishop
Bedford Corn Exchange @ 7.30pm
Tickets: £35 (last few tickets still available)

Comedy superstar John Bishop is coming to Bedford Corn Exchange to warm up his brand-new show.

There are a handful of tickets left for his Bedford gig, so don’t delay!

Saturday 11 and Sunday 12 December 2021

Shopping: Made in Bedford Christmas Makers’ Market
Harpur Square @ 10am – 3.30pm
Free entry

As part of the town centre’s Christmas festivities, the annual Makers’ Market will be showcasing the best of Bedford’s amazing artists, designers, makers and crafters.

The perfect opportunity to find unique gifts, meet some amazing people and support our superb creative community.

Saturday 11 December 2021

Live music: Foo Fighters GB
Bedford Esquires @ 8pm
Tickets: £10

Foo Fighters GB return to Esquires after their sell out shows in 2019 and February 2020.

Celebrating the hits of the Foo Fighters in full volume, Foo Fighters GB have quickly established themselves as the UK’s finest and most talked about tribute to the Foo Fighters, the greatest rock band on the planet.

The Foo Fighters GB take audiences on an absolutely epic, exhilarating journey playing all their favourite Foos tracks, from the first eponymous album release’s This is a Call through to their most recent instant classic Medicine at Midnight

Saturday 11 December 2021

Theatre: A Christmas Carol
The Quarry Theatre @ 8pm
Tickets: from £12.50 (available from the website)

Olivier Award winner, Guy Masterson, veteran of many smash hit solo works such as Under Milk Wood, Animal Farm and Shylock, now brings us Dickens’ classic festive fable. Famed for bringing multiple characters to vivid life, Masterson recreates Scrooge, Marley, the Fezziwigs, Tiny Tim et al in an enchanting, performance that will dazzle and linger long in the memory. Guaranteed to get you into the Christmas Spirit – in many more ways than one!

Saturday 11 December 2021

Live music: Hung Like Hanratty
Bedford Esquires @ 8pm
Tickets: £12

Hung Like Hanratty come to Bedford Esquires for their annual Christmas party.
Special guests will be the Blue Carpet Band and local punks Scumbus
Expect the usual mayhem and a night not to be missed…

Saturday 11 December 2021

Live music: Millie Manders and The Shutup
Bedford Esquires @ 7pm
Tickets: £10

Millie Manders and The Shutup create cross-genre punk that is hard to ignore. With lyrics that poke fun and draw you in, teamed with incredible vocal dexterity, grinding guitars, irresistible horn hooks and a pumping rhythm section, the Millie Manders Music Machine churns out more raw punk fusion than you can shake a stick at, with a huge amount of pop appeal.

Sunday 12 December 2021

Family fun: Christmas star workshop
Higgins Bedford @ 2pm – 4pm

Pop into The Higgins Bedford and create your own paper Christmas star to add to your decorations at home. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

Free to join in. No need to book and families can drop in anytime between 2pm – 4pm.


Until January 2022

Exhibition: Edward Bawden: Architectural Elements
Higgins Bedford
Edward Bawden Gallery, Free Entry

Explore the passion for architecture of influential British artist and designer, Edward Bawden, displaying his originality, wit and skill in giving character to the buildings featured in his work.

Until March 2022

Exhibition: Going to Town – 200 Years of Bedford’s Art
Higgins Bedford
Wixamtree Gallery, Free Entry

Celebrate artists views of Bedford and the surrounding area with a number of watercolours, oils and prints from the past two centuries, some of which haven’t been seen by the public eye in several decades.

The exhibition includes artworks by JMW Turner, Dora Carrington, Thomas Fisher and Stanley Orchart, highlighting their fascination with the town and River Great Ouse.

Until October 2022

Exhibition: Warden Abbey Revealed
Higgins Bedford
Outside Settlement Gallery, Free Entry

Research by the Old Warden History and Heritage Society alongside the results of the geophysical survey by MOLA (Northampton) have revealed the grandeur of the medieval Cistercian abbey.

The reconstruction illustration by Peter Dunn based on this work will be on display with a selection of archive items.

Theatre highlights by Paula Walker


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