What’s on Bedford: 4 November – 14 November 2021

Here’s your essential guide to what’s on in Bedford over the next couple of weeks. As ever, we’ve picked out our top tips for you from theatre, art, live music, comedy, shopping and more…

Thursday 4, Friday 5, Saturday 6 October 2021

Theatre: Aladdin
Bedford Corn Exchange (evening and matinee performances see website for details)


When street rat Aladdin frees a genie from a lamp, he finds his wishes granted. However, he soon finds that the evil has other plans for the lamp — and for Princess Jasmine. But can Aladdin save Princess Jasmine and his love for her after she sees that he isn’t quite what he appears to be?

A great musical for all the family with some amazing show tunes as well.


Friday 5 November 2021

Live music: Special Kinda Madness
Bedford Esquires @ 8pm
Tickets: £12

The band have sold out Esquires numerous times in the past and the Ska Train is showing no signs of slowing down!.

Special Kinda Madness perform a truly authentic set from each band, combining the phenomenally energetic stage presence of The Specials with the wonderful iconic tunes of the Madness ‘Nutty Boys’. Playing a set from each band and producing a show that will have the audience up and dancing from the off, Special Kinda Madness will have everyone hankering after that exciting era of 2-Tone and ska.


Saturday 6 November 2021

Children’s theatre:  Anytime The Wind Can Change
The Place Theatre @ 1.30pm and 3.30pm
Tickets: £14 (adult) £11 (child) £44 (family ticket)

Anytime The Wind Can Change The Place Theatre

Anytime The Wind Can Change is the heartwarming tale of lonely giants, comets and compassion told with intricate shadow puppets to a powerful live musical score.

​Two giants fall in love across a vast sea, sending messages to each other on the wings of birds. In the wake of the unexpected, cracks start to appear. Naut and Astrid float closer together as their people drift further apart – but in the darkest hours we often find the best of humanity.

This uplifting, original folk tale explores the power of compassion and community and will captivate audiences of all ages through the charming medium of shadow puppetry.


Saturday 6 November 2021

Art: Beds Urban Sketchers’ November Sketchcrawl
Higgins Bedford @11am
Free to attend and anyone welcome

Beds’ Urban Sketchers will hold their monthly get-together at the Higgins this November and everyone is welcome, whatever your artistic ability.

Urban Sketchers is a global movement and the Bedford group meets regularly to draw in a specific location, capturing each individuals’ viewpoint and artistic style.

At the Higgins, sketches are encouraged to capture the building – inside and out – the permanent collection or some of the temporary galleries.


Saturday 6 November 2021

The Mo-Joe Children’s Book Event
The Higgins Bedford @ 11.30am & 2pm
Free entry, booking essential

Mo is a feisty, adventurous grandma who flies planes, parachute jumps, plays the bagpipes, 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 as they read fun stories about their adventures together. Suitable for ages three to seven.

The Mo-Joe picture book series will be on special offer and visitors will have the opportunity to get their copies signed by the author and illustrator, Mo Kerr and Nora Haikala.

Places are limited. Book your free tickets online here or call the Box Office on 01234 718044 (line open Monday-Friday 11am-3pm).


Saturday 6 November 2021

Live music: Baby Strange
Bedford Esquires @ 8pm

Embodying the true nature and principles of the DIY ethic and taking a steadfast, creative all-encompassing approach to music as an artform, Baby Strange have carved out an almost cult-like status for themselves within the underground UK music scene.

Fronted by the magnetic & alluring Johnny Madden and completed with brothers Connaire & Aidan McCann, the proudly Glaswegian 3 piece are about to set out their stall and re-establish themselves as one of the most innovative and uncompromising outfits in the UK.

Since the release of their critically acclaimed 2016 debut album ‘Want It Need It’ (Ignition Records), Baby Strange have toured relentlessly, building an enthusiastically rampant live audience, selling out venues across the UK & sharing stages with the likes of ‘Frank Carter & the Rattlesnakes’, ‘Slaves’, ‘Jamie T’ & ‘Wavves’.


Saturday 6 November 2021

Live music: Henge
Bedford Esquires @ 8pm

Not our words, the words of Henge: WE COME IN THE NAME OF RAVE

WE BRING YOU THE GIFT OF COSMIC DROSS – A KIND OF MUSIC NEW TO YOUR WORLD.

WE HAVE NEWS. PLANET EARTH IS AN EXPERIMENT. YOUR SPECIES WAS SENT CODES FROM SPACE, TO HELP YOU LOVE AND DANCE. BUT YOUR LEADERS GREW SCARED.

THEY HID THE CODES FROM YOU. NOW YOUR CONSCIOUSNESS SHRINKS AND THEY DESTROY YOUR WORLD WITH WEAPONS OF WAR.
RAVELINGS OF EARTH, REBEL!

ABSORB THE MUTATED FREQUENCIES OF COSMIC DROSS.

THERE ARE NO EARTH WORDS TO DESCRIBE THESE SOUNDS. BUT YOU WILL LEARN HOW TO LOVE AND DANCE AGAIN.

THIS IS YOUR FUTURE. PUT DOWN THE WEAPONS.

UNITE. AND COLONISE SPACE


Sunday 7 November 2021

Workshop: Shadow Puppetry
The Place Theatre @ 1pm
Tickets: £3

Shadow Puppetry The Place Theatre

After watching Peculiar Hands’ beautiful performance of Anytime The Wind Can Change on 6 November, join the company’s team of international artists and experienced educators on a bespoke shadow puppetry workshop.

Learn how to make and manipulate your own puppets, tell your own stories with shadows, and make your own shadow performance at home.

This fun and practical one-hour workshop is perfect for young people aged 8-13 who want to get creative with their hands, tell beautiful tales in a unique way, or just want to try something completely new.


Sunday 7 November 2021

Poetry: Read Poets’ Society
Eagle Bookshop, St Peter’s Street @ 7pm

A Hallowe’en Look at Magic and Magicians – from Prospero to Harry Potter, from Dr John Dee to Dynamo, magic has produced some sparkling prose, poetry and drama.


Sunday 7 November 2021

Live music: The A Band play the Sunday Afternoon session (Bruce’s Birthday)
Bedford Esquires @ 4pm – 7.30pm

Bruce Murray, Pete Bonas, Mark Ayles and Richard and Tim Winter are the A Band, one of Bedford’s longest-running bar bands. It’s Bruce, the boss’s birthday, so expect a few special guests…


Sunday 7 November 2021

Live music: The Jack J Hutchinson band
Bedford Esquites @ 7.30pm

The Jack J Hutchinson band return to Bedford Esquires as part of their headline UK tour.

Jack J Hutchinson is pleased to announce his biggest UK headline tour to date. In October 2021 he will play 16 dates in support of his forthcoming studio album ‘The Hammer Falls’, which will be released to coincide with the tour.

“Like most bands, we are desperate to get back on the road,” said JJH.

“The world is in a pretty dark place right now, but hopefully there is some light at the end of the tunnel. We want to put smiles back on the faces of our fans…let’s pull together, get through the next few months, and in October blow the bloody roof off with a tour to remember!”


Sunday 7 November 2021

Live music: The Nightingales // Pete Astor // Kamura // 
Bedford Esquires @ 8:00 pm
Tickets: £10

It’s unusual for an act to hit its peak after four decades. Yet here it is. And here are the Nightingales, as part of the near-sell-out UK tour this year.

The band’s climb to become Britain’s most dazzling live band – shows are played at full energy without the breaks lesser combos need to breathe, drink or chatter – was unexpected, and public awakening to their humour, skill and brilliance demands revision of post-punk history.

The Nightingales emerge as the industrious ant to their peers’ workshy grasshopper personae, appearing victoriously at the finish line to puzzled realisations that they’d ever even been in the race.

The Nightingales have notoriously had a new label for each new album, a fact which might reasonably call for consumer caution, but they are part of nothing resembling a ‘scene’, they speak their own musical language, and while they bust out slogans about being “slightly superior to others of their ilk” . . . the fact is, they have no ilk. One label head proudly claims his rationale for the release of one of their albums as nothing less than “a public service.”

Some of The Nightingales’ historic lack of acclaim stems from a density of ideas, which the band see no need to mine for profit.

John Peel noted, “Their performances will serve to confirm their excellence when we are far enough distanced from the 1980s to look at the period rationally and other, infinitely better known, bands stand revealed as charlatans.”

Not only that, but Stewart Lee has made a documentary about them…


Tuesday 9 November

Live music: Lunchtime concert
St Paul’s Church @ 1pm

Free lunchtime concert in the beautiful and tranquil surroundings of St Paul’s Church in the heart of Bedford featuring Harry Bagnall, Tenor and Paul Searle Barnes, piano.


Tuesday 9 November 2021

Theatre: Bobby and Amy
The Quarry Theatre at 7.30pm
Tickets from £12 available from the website

An award-winning dark comedy about foot-and-mouth disease by double Edinburgh Fringe First Award winner, Emily Jenkins. It’s the late nineties. Take That, Tamagotchis, Dip Dabs, and Pog Swaps.

When 13-year-old Bobby and Amy meet, hundreds of cows dot across the fields and the sun always shines, but when the cows begin to burn, their sleepy Cotswold home is changed forever.

Bobby & Amy is a coming-of-age story exploring friendship, heartache and what happens when our way of life is threatened by those who don’t understand it.


Wednesday 10 November 2021

Live music: Don Broco (SOLD OUT)
Bedford Esquires @ 8pm

Heading home for a sell-out Bedford gig, the mighty Don Broco are hitting up Esquires on Wednesday for a rescheduled show – with all proceeds going to our favourite grassroots venue.

Quite simply one of the biggest artists ever to come out of B-Town, Broco have been tearing up tours all over the world, including a sold-out Ally Pally show on their last tour of the UK.

To have the guys come back and play a show for the venue on their home turf is hugely appreciated and is in association with the #saveourvenues campaign being run by Music Venue Trust.

“We reached out to the band as part of our Crowdfunding initiative,” said Gareth Barber, owner of Bedford Esquires.

“The band, their management and agent have been hugely supportive and have offered to come and play a free show for us, with all proceeds from sales going to help us through the current crisis – we couldn’t be more grateful for their support.”


Wednesday 10 November 2021

Film: The Elephant Man
Cinema @ 3 St Peters, 7pm
Tickets: £12 (members: £9)

This week’s Cinema at 3 St Peter’s offering is The Elepahnt Man starring Anthony Hopkins as Dr. Frederic Treves and John Hurt in a career-defining role as Joseph (John) Merrick.

Born with a congenital disorder, Merrick uses his disfigurement to earn a living as the “Elephant Man.”  Treves brings Merrick into his home, discovering that his rough exterior hides a refined soul, and that Merrick can teach the stodgy British upper class of the time a lesson about dignity.

Merrick becomes the toast of London and charms a caring actress (Anne Bancroft) before his death at 27.


Wednesday 10 November 2021

Concert: Alina Ibragimova performs Beethoven
Bedford Corn Exchange @ 7.30pm
Tickets: £14 — £38

Xian Zhang – conductor
Alina Ibragimova – violin

BEETHOVEN Violin Concerto
SMETANA Ma Vlást (Selections)

Making her return to Bedford, conductor Xian Zhang appears on the Corn Exchange stage for the first time since her acclaimed sold-out concert of Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony in 2019.

On 10 November, she leads the Philharmonia Orchestra in a performance of a piece that ranks among audience favourites across the world.

Smetana’s irresistible optimism makes for the perfect finale to the orchestra’s comeback performance in Bedford – as we too look with optimism to a future of live concerts once more.


Thursday 11 November 2021

Exhibition: Blunt Blades
Higgins Bedford
Higgins House, free entry

Launching this week, and informed by years of research, leading visual artist Arabel Lebrusan explores our complex relationships with knives and their variety of roles in this new display.

The work was conceived after Arabel received three crates of confiscated knives and weapons from Bedfordshire Police in 2013. The display explores whether the meaning of an object can be re-established and transformed to evoke different emotions.

The display features seven new works, delving into the commonly held perception of knives from specialised tools in everyday jobs to status symbols and deadly weapons, and transforming their meanings.

Drawing from a selection of over 40 historic examples of blades from The Higgins Bedford’s collections, the display will be accompanied by a publication of short stories.

Members of the public and amateur writers were invited to pen new histories and narratives for the culturally significant objects, giving a voice to individuals in the community with a story to tell, as well as encouraging them to consider the varied roles of knives.


Thursday 11 November 2021

Live music: Danni Nicholls
Bedford Esquires @ 8pm
Tickets: £10

Bedford’s very own Danni Nicholls heads to Esquires this week for a much-anticipated hometown show.

Danni up on the American roots music of her Anglo-Indian grandmother’s record collection and has been paving her way in the Americana and roots scene for over a decade, building a loyal fan base and much critical praise.

After the complete halt in performing live over the past 16 months, Danni is excitedly returning to play for her hometown crowd.

With three acclaimed studio albums, produced by and featuring some of Nashville’s finest under her belt and the wind still in her sails from three consecutive Americana Music Association UK award nominations plus extensive tours and opening slots with the likes of Shakin’ Stevens The Secret Sisters and Lucinda Williams, Danni, her stunningly powerful, arresting voice and her dynamically poetic songs are ever-building momentum.


Thursday 11 November 2021

Live Music: All That Jazz presents… Sam Braysher
The Place Theatre @ 8pm
Tickets: £10

This month The Place continues the ‘All That Jazz’ concert series with an evening with Alto Saxophonist Sam Braysher.

Sam received international critical acclaim for his debut album, Golden Earrings (Fresh Sound New Talent Records, 2017), a duo recording with NYC pianist Michael Kanan, with the Observer awarding it four stars and a number of jazz journalists selecting it in their ‘Best of 2017’ lists. His latest album sees him joined by a truly world-class rhythm section of Catalan drummer and vibraphonist Jorge Rossy, and double bassist Tom Farmer. Dance Little Lady, Dance Little Man (UNIT Records) released on 22 April 2021.

Sam will be joined by double bassist Asaph Tal and drummer Mark Hale.


Thursday 11 November 2021

Music on Thursdays presents: Ben Goldscheider (French horn) & Huw Watkins (piano)
St Paul’s Church @ 7.45pm
Tickets: £18 (£2 under 18s)

Bedford Music Club hosts sensational new French horn player, Ben Goldscheider and his partner on the piano, Huw Watkins, in a programme that spans the Classical, Romantic and Contemporary periods.

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Friday 12 November 2021

Live music: Mad Dog Mcrea
Bedford Esquires @ 8pm
Tickets: £16.50

Mad Dog Mcrea are back making their third visit to Esquires, smashing out a unique blend  of folk rock, pop, gypsy jazz, bluegrass and ‘shake your ass’ music from self-penned songs of adventure, drinking, love and life, to traditional songs of gypsies, fairies, legless pirates and black flies – Mad Dog never fail to capture their audience with their infectious songs. In constant demand and having played just about every festival and two-bit, jibe-arsed dive in Christendom, Mad Dog Mcrea are, in every sense of the word, a live, band.
Matched with the unshakable dedication of their massive and “loyal-to-the-hilt”, fan base – Mad Dog Mcrea are more than just a very popular, festival act – with five albums under their belts, they are serious and acclaimed recording artists too. During 2019 Mad Dog Mcrea will be in the studio recording a new album.
The famous purple happy bus is fired up and ready for action, and there’s room for you – jump aboard!
Tickets currently on sale from Seetickets and the regular outlets of Mario’s Hair Design, Esquires Bar & Slide Records will be serviced with physical tickets when normal service resumes.


Saturday 13 November 2021

Workshop: Craft and Chat Sessions
The Place Theatre at 2pm and 4pm
Tickets are free and can be booked on the website

An opportunity for a warm drink and a warm conversation whilst honing those arts and crafts skills. The resident designer will be there in case you need inspiration, offering plenty of ideas for what to make and always on hand for a lively discussion.

Mangled Yarn Theatre Company will provide everything you need, including craft materials, hot drinks, and snacks. Email info@mangledyarn.com for more info, or book your place online.

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Saturday 13 November 2021

Theatre: The Death of King Arthur
The Place Theatre at 7.30pm
Tickets: from £8 available from the website

The Death of King Arthur is a new version of a very old story, an interactive twist on the enduringly popular tales of Arthur and his knights. Choose which parts of the story you want to hear: The bit about the sword in the stone? Lancelot & Guinevere? How Arthur dies? Or the other version of how Arthur dies? …or the other other version? Sit back and enjoy or actively take part in the decisions that guide the story. Each show is unique, depending on the audience’s choices… bringing a lost Britain back to life and asking what the old tales can tell us in these complicated times.

Examining British identity, our relationship with Europe and ‘fake news’, The Death of King Arthur explodes the legend we all think we know and asks: What story do you want to believe?

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Sunday 14 November 2021

Workshop: Move & Code
The Place Theatre at 10am – 5pm
Tickets: £5  and more information available from the website

MOVE AND CODE is a one-day workshop that uses movement and physical computing to build and code a light that interacts with movement. The workshop is aimed at school years 6-8.


Sunday 14 November 2021

Community event: Remembrance Day wreath-laying ceremony
Bedford Embankment @ 11am

On Sunday 14 November, the traditional wreath-laying ceremony and march-past will be held at the War Memorial on Bedford Embankment.

The event is a collaboration between Bedford Borough Council and the Royal British Legion.

After the wreaths have been laid, the Parade will march down the Embankment, across the High Street and St Paul’s Square, finishing in Harpur Square.


Until 14 November 2022

Exhibition: The British African Colonial Soldiers of WW2
Basement @ Bunyan, John Bunyan Museum 11am – 4pm
Free entry

An exhibition commemorating the African experience during World War II.


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 archaeological artefacts recovered from an excavation at Warden Abbey.


 

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