What’s on Bedford: 16 – 26 June 2022

Roll up, roll up, the weekend is on its way and we are here for it!

Over the next 10 days, check out Bedford’s Vegan Fair (Saturday 18 June), the Armed Forces Day parade (Sunday 26 June) and the inaugural Bedfordshire Gin Festival (Saturday 25 June) as well as the usual smorgasbord of live music, theatre, comedy and film.


Until Saturday 18 June 2022

Community Theatre: The 39 Steps
Sharnbrook Mill Theatre @ 7.30pm
Tickets: from £11

The award-winning Sharnbrook Mill Theatre transports you back to the 1930s, when men smoked pipes, women wore hats and gloves, and nobody is as they seem!

An energetic and manic cast of just nine actors will miraculously transform themselves, and their voices, into hundreds of characters, as you follow them on this fast-paced comedy parody play of the Alfred Hitchcock spy-thriller film, The 39 Steps.

Marvel at their attempts to conquer many accents, be amazed at the train scene, gaze in wonder at a dramatic plane crash, and get ready to clap the fantastic London Palladium performers.

This witty and fast-paced whodunit is packed with non-stop laughs guaranteed to cheer you up… and yes, the handcuffs are real!

Thursday 16 June 2022

Live Music: Jazz Cruise
John Bunyan Boat, Newnham steps @ 7.30pm
Tickets: £23

Enjoy a relaxing evening of jazz as the sun goes down on board the John Bunyan Boat. Let the CoolJazz Collective Trio entertain you as you cruise Bedford’s River Great Ouse along the Embankment.

Friday 17 June 2022

Art and culture: Talk and Draw
The Higgins Bedford @ 12:30pm (Talk) – 4pm
Free Entry, drop in – no need to book

Join in the Higgins’ Talk & Draw session to explore the Bronze Age Archer and some replica
archaeological objects, followed by an afternoon of sketching.

Art materials and portable chairs are provided. No art experience needed to join in.

Friday 17 June 2022

Live music: The Smyths: Strangeways Here We Come
Bedford Esquires @ 8pm
Tickets: £15

‘Stop me if you think you’ve heard this one before…’

The year 2022 will be the 35th anniversary of The Smiths splitting up in a haze of acrimony and recriminations, seemingly never to reform. To mark the occasion, The Smyths will be playing two sets on the evening which will span the band’s entire career, including performing the entirety of their final (and Morrissey & Marr’s favourite) album, ‘Strangeways, Here We Come’.

Saturday 18 June 2022

Vegan: Green Earth Vegan Fair
Harpur Square @ 10am – 7.30pm
Free entry

The next vegan fair, organised by the lovely Green Earth Cafe – is heading to Harpur Square this month.

Expect great quality vegan food, drink and products plus music and dancing. “We’ll have some of our faves from last September plus a bunch more exciting contributors,” said the organisers.

Saturday 18 June 2022

Lifestyle: Saturday Wellbeing
The Higgins Bedford @ 11am – 4:15pm
Free entry, drop in – no need to book

Come along and enjoy some down-time at Saturday Wellbeing with soundbath meditations, tea
party poetry, table-top games and Aragon Lacemakers sharing their skills in Bedfordshire
Visit www.thehigginsbedford.org.uk to find out more.

Saturday 18 June 2022

Relax on the river: Fish and Chip Supper Cruise
John Bunyan Boat, Priory Marina 6pm
Tickets: from £21

 Have a relaxing evening cruise as the sun goes down along, Bedford’s picturesque countryside and the Embankment, to discover Bedford’s unique pyramid!

Navigating the Town lock, and then past the 12th century mound of Bedford Castle before going under the historic Town Bridge as we make our way along to Queens Bridge, enjoying our Fish & Chip supper.

Saturday 18 June 2022

Live music: Reggae Rock Salute
Bedford Corn Exchange @ 8pm / dancing til 2am
Tickets: £20

A star-studded lineup featuring Peter Spence, Tenna Star, Lorenzo Hall, Paulette Tajah and Bedfordshire Reggae Queen, Donna Marie.

Saturday 18 June 2022

Live music: Gangstagrass
Bedford Esquires @ 8pm
Tickets: £15

What do you get when you cross Bluegrass with Gangsta Rap?!
A booking four years in the making, the Pad Presents team first saw a video of Gangstagrass in 2017 and knew that they needed to try and get them to Esquires.
The band have racked up millions of Youtube and Spotify plays, packing out shows and festival tents before covid brought it all to a thudding halt. We shouldn’t need to sell this show to you, just give them a listen!

“Rap and bluegrass together, like a burger with cheese, doesn’t get more American than this folks.”

Saturday 18 June 2022

Live music: Black Doldrums + guests
Bedford Esquires @ 8pm
Tickets: £10

Kevin Gibbard and Sophie Landers produce a dark psych, contemporary form of gothic post-punk under the name Black Doldrums.

Their songs contain hook and lead tribal drums and euphoric guitar textures that frame lyrics about purpose and introspection. The duo have been building up a devout following since their self-released ep on a limited number of cassettes ‘Exit City Lights’ before their first official signing to independent shoegaze label Club AC30 in 2018, releasing two sold out vinyl ep’s in 2018 and 2019, ‘Sad Paradise’ and She ‘Divine’.

In 2020, Black Doldrums collaborated with electronic duo ‘TVL’s Jared Artaud, producing their debut album with grammy award winner Ted Young. In early 2021 Black Doldrums recruited former DMT member Matthew Holt on bass guitar.

Sunday 19 June 2022

Guided walk: The Rise and Fall of Bedford Castle
Meet at the gold letterbox in St Paul’s Square at 11am
Tickets: £3/£1.50. Booking essential.

Join the knowledgeable Bedford Tour Guides for a fascinating insight into the history of Bedford Castle.

The Normans were swift on their arrival in this country to build a castle of great size in Bedford. Discover the castle’s story and why it was demolished.

Sunday 19 June 2022

Relax: Sunday Afternoon Cruise
John Bunyan Boat, Priory Marina @ 1.30pm or Sovereigns Quay @ 2.30pm
Tickets: From £10

Enjoy a relaxing cruise through Bedford’s picturesque countryside and even discover Bedford’s unique pyramid!

Navigate the Town lock, and then see the 12th century mound of Bedford Castle before going under the historic Town Bridge, calling at Sovereigns Quay to pick up additional passengers, before cruise upriver passing the Guru Nanak Gurdwara temple in Queens Park, Kempston Outdoor Centre and on towards Kempston Mill before returning.

Sunday 19 June 2022

Theatre: The Pantaloons present: The War of the Worlds
The Place Theatre @ 3.30pm and 7pm
Tickets: from £12

“No one would have believed in the last years of the nineteenth century that this world was being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than man’s…” H G Wells
And fewer would have believed in the first years of the twenty-first century that H. G. Wells’ science fiction classic would be performed live by just four actors with intelligences lesser than average…

The critically-acclaimed Pantaloons invade the stage in this funny yet faithful new adaptation as they use musical instruments, puppetry and enthusiasm to recreate deadly heat-rays, giant fighting-machines, squidgy tentacled Martians and interplanetary warfare on an epic scale.

Sunday 19 June 2022

Live music: Lost 4 Words Play the Sunday Afternoon Session
Bedford Esquires @ 5pm
Free entry

Join Lost 4 Words for the Sunday Afternoon Session and celebrate guitarist Mike’s birthday!

Sunday 19 June 2022

Live music: The Parrots
Bedford Esquires @ 7.30pm
Tickets: £10

Madrid’s finest, The Parrots, will be gracing Esquires’ main stage this month.
The new album ‘Dos’ is the follow up to the Madrid duo’s (Diego García & Alex de Lucas) acclaimed 2016 debut ‘Los Niños Sin Miedo’ and shows the band taking an evolutionary step that finds them sounding stronger and more realized than ever before, from their original characteristics of stripped-down melodic garage rock to a fresh sonic perspective.
Produced by Tom Furse (The Horrors) and mixed by Claudius Mittendorfer (Parquet Courts, Weezer, Panic! At The Disco, Temples), the Parrots find themselves experimenting with more modern production soundscapes and electronic grooves.

Sunday 19 June 2022

Live music: Ginger Wildheart and the Sinners + Guests
Bedford Esquires @ 7.30pm
Tickets: £20

Ginger Wildheart & The Sinners were formed in August 2019 when Ginger joined forces with Neil Ivison and Nick Lyndon from the band Stone Mountain Sinners.

The lineup was completed with drummer Shane Dixon (Tri-City Fanfare) and the band played their first live shows in November 2019.

The band played to a full tent at last year’s Beautiful Days Festival and released their debut single in May 2022, with the album following in early Autumn.

Monday 20 June 2022

Film: Europa
The Place Theatre @ 7pm
Tickets: £5

Kamal, a young Iraqi man entering Europe on foot through the border between Turkey and Bulgaria, is captured by Bulgarian border police but escapes.

He finds himself searching for a way out of a seemingly interminable forest, an underworld where rules and laws don’t exist, where he is wounded and chased by Bulgarian migrant hunters.

For three days and three nights, Kamal must fight for his life through a journey of survival until a final life-or-death confrontation.

Tuesday 21 June 2022

Craft: The Higgins Knitting & Crochet Group
Higgins Bedford @ 11am – 1pm
Free entry but booking essential

The Higgins knitting and crochet group first began as part of the Refugee Week activities in 2019 and celebrates its three-year anniversary this week.

Join the group to craft blue and yellow sunflowers and hearts as symbols of solidarity with Ukraine. All are welcome and you can join the group in-person or online via Zoom. Please email gemma.hutton@bedford.gov.uk to register your interest and access the zoom link.

Tuesday 21 June 2022

Live music: Lunchtime concerts
St Paul’s Church @ 1pm
Free entry with a retiring collection (suggested £5) in aid of church funds

This week’s lunchtime concert at St Paul’s church, Bedford features Catherine Rose, horn and wind instruments. Free with a retiring collection.

Wednesday 22 June 2022

Relax: Anchor Lunch Cruise
John Bunyan Boat, Priory Marina 10am
Tickets: £39

Enjoy a relaxing three-hour picturesque cruise on the River Great Ouse to Great Barford, departing from Priory Marina at 10.00am, arriving at the Anchor in Great Barford for lunch at 1.30 pm and returning by coach at 3pm back to Priory Marina.

Relax as we cruise along discovering abundant wildlife with kingfishers and herons swopping in front of us and swans gliding by.

Enjoy morning coffee and cake or pastry available onboard from our Galley Bar.

Wednesday 22 June 2022

Film: Monsoon Wedding
Cinema @ St Peters @ 7pm
Tickets: £9/£10.50/£12

A BAFTA-winning film about a father, Lalit Verma, trying to marry off his daughter, Aditi, in the traditional manner.

Aditi is having second thoughts, while her cousin Ayesha Verma, 17, is just beginning to realise she’s attractive to boys, and her other cousin, Ria, has a shocking revelation ready.

Her brother, however, just wants to dance.

Thursday 23 June 2022

Relax: Thursday Afternoon Cruise
John Bunyan Boat, Sovereigns Quay 2.30pm
Tickets: from £10

Enjoy a relaxing cruise under the historic Town Bridge, the Suspension Bridge and the Butterfly Bridge, past Bedford Castle mound and then through the town lock and along the tranquil river to Cardington Lock.

Thursday 23 June 2022

Theatre: Offside
The Place Theatre @ 7.30pm
Tickets: from £12

It is 1892. It is 1992. It is 2022.
Four women from across the centuries live, breathe, and play football. Whilst each of them face very different obstacles, the possibility that the beautiful game will change their lives – and the world – is tantalisingly close.
With punchy storytelling, lyrical poetry and dynamic physicality, Offside places the audiences right on the touchline of the game of a lifetime.

Thursday 23 June 2022

Relax: Motown Cruise
John Bunyan Boat, Newnham Steps 7.30pm
Tickets: £20

Get your dancing shoes on as it is party time on the John Bunyan with their Motown and Soul cruise featuring DJ Keith Stewart.

Boogie the night away to your favourite Motown and Soul tracks on this two-hour cruise.


Friday 24 June 2022

Music: Cilla and the Swinging 60s
The Place Theatre @ 7.30pm
Tickets: from £10

Starring Sandy Smith as Cilla, the show will take you on a rollercoaster journey through many of the greatest pop songs of the 60s including Cilla’s own chart toppers ‘Anyone Who Had A Heart’ “Alfie” and ‘You’re My World’.

Saturday 25 June 2022

Food & drink: Bedfordshire Gin Festival
Russell Park from 12 noon
Tickets: £18/£4.50/family ticket: £39

Bedfordshire Gin Fest will be bringing a host of juniper-based drinks to Russell Park this month for a one-day festival showcasing over 20 distilleries – from local independent companies to well-known favourites.

Read: Bedfordshire’s first Gin Festival promises to serve up something for everyone next summer

And while gin is the star of the show, the family-friendly festival will cater for all food and drink enthusiasts thanks to collaborations with TASTE Bedford and Beerfly – and with street food courtesy of Foxy Wings.

Saturday 25 June 2022

Poetry: All Through the Year
The Place Theatre @ 7pm
Tickets: Pay what you can from £8

An evening of poetry, based on the seasons. The Bedford Poetry Company will revive a pre-pandemic idea, with the added spur of fund-raising for Ukraine refugees.

Verse by local writers and mostly a selection of more established pieces, All Through the Year includes Christmas/Easter, St George/David/Andrew/Patrick, birthdays.

Seven or so readers will read 25-30 pieces, with some music.

Saturday 25 June 2022

Culture: Body & Soul Study Day
Higgins Bedford @ 11am – 4pm
Tickets £20 booking essential

Edvard Munch (1863–1944), Woman with a Brooch (Madonna), 1903 © The Trustees of the Cecil Higgins Art Gallery

Explore the themes of the Body & Soul exhibition in a guided tour and a series of talks with curators and a guest speaker.
Enjoy a tour and a history of the collection with Keeper of Fine and Decorative Art Victoria Partridge and a talk from Professor Christiana Payne as she discusses ‘Remarkable Women’.

Dr Mary O’Neill will share the competing notions of ‘femininity’ represented in the artworks on display, followed by a talk in honour of Refugee Week from Charlotte Grant, Senior Lecturer in English at NCH and granddaughter of the artist Martin Bloch.

Dr Grant will discuss the pioneering women of the Bloch family, including her grandmother Charlotte whose portrait is on display in the exhibition.

Saturday 25 June 2022

Relax: Tea and Cake Cruise
John Bunyan Boat, Priory Marina, 2pm
Tickets: from £15

While away an afternoon with family and friends as you cruise along the River Great Ouse from Priory Marina to the Embankment and return.

Your trip takes you through tranquil countryside with swans and herons passing by and through Bedford Town’s Lock onto the Upper River where we will cruise along the Embankment before returning to Priory Marina.

Enjoy a delicious slice of locally made cake with endless tea or coffee.

Saturday 25 June 2022

Live music: Cockney Rejects + Feckin Ejits + On The Huh
Bedford Esquires @ 7pm

Cockney Rejects live at Esquires.

Saturday 25 June 2022

Live music: The Magic of Motown
Bedford Corn Exchange @ 7.30pm
Tickets: £29/£27

Music fans are invited to the biggest party of the year as the unstoppable Magic of Motown show steams into town!

Seen by over a million people, it’s no surprise that the show is one of the biggest success stories in British theatre history, even performing for Her Majesty the Queen, as special guests at the Royal Variety Performance.

Prepare yourself for 40 back-to-back classic Motown hits, glittering costume changes, dazzling dance moves and outstanding musicianship in this explosive concert experience.

Celebrate the sound of a generation as the timeless music of Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder, The Temptations, The Supremes, The Four Tops, Martha Reeves, Jackson 5, Smokey Robinson and more, are sensationally recreated for you by an exceptionally talented cast and band.

This breath-taking concert spectacular takes you on a musical journey through all your favourite songs, including: Ain’t No Mountain, Signed Sealed Delivered, Grapevine, Get Ready, Dancing In The Streets, My Girl, Blame It On The Boogie, Uptight, Endless Love, My Cherie Amor, All Night Long, Heatwave and many, many more.

Sunday 26 June 2022

Community: Armed Forces Day parade
From De Parys Avenue @ 10.30am and onto Merchants Yard at Riverside Bedford

Armed Forces and Veterans Day will be marked in Bedford on Sunday 26 June, starting with a parade from De Parys Avenue at 10:30am and convening in Merchant Yard at Riverside Bedford.

There will be information stalls from the Poppy Appeal and SAAFA and live entertainment in Harpur Square, featuring a swing band, singer-comedian Adam Hoffman, and 40’s-themed singer May Blossom.

Sunday 26 June 2022

Guided walk: Bedford In World War II
Meet at the gold letterbox in St Paul’s Square at 11am
Tickets: £3/£1.50. Booking essential.

One of tour guides’ most popular walks, revealing the secrets and mysteries of life in Bedford during World War II.

What famous people were here and why? What was meant by the BBC during the War when announcing a programme from “Somewhere In England”? And why has Bedford been called “the Spy Capital of the World”?

Sunday 26 June 2022

Craft: Sunday Crafternoon
Higgins Bedford @ 2pm – 4pm
Free Entry, drop in, no need to book

Enjoy an afternoon of free family creative crafts. Explore amazing art and fascinating artefacts around the museum and art gallery, then use your imagination and a range of media and materials to get arty.

Suitable for under 12s and children must be accompanied by an adult. Drop in anytime during the afternoon.

Please be aware that places are limited and there may be a wait to start.

Until January 2023

Exhibition: Edward Bawden: Artist Plantsman
Higgins Bedford
Free entry but timed tickets required

Every day, influential British artist and designer, Edward Bawden, would spend an hour in his garden at his home in Great Bardfield before starting work in his art studio. Plants and gardens were one of the most prominent and constant subjects of not only his work but also his life.

Drawn exclusively from the Edward Bawden archive, explore Bawden’s lifelong love of plants and gardens through a wide range of his work, including early wallpaper designs, well-known prints, advertising campaigns and private commissions.

From the grand gardens of Carthage and the botanical gardens at Kew, to Bawden’s own gardens at his parent’s home in Braintree and his beloved one-acre plot in Great Bardfield, discover Bawden’s passion for plants and gardens across decades of his work, featuring pieces that have never before been on public display.

Until October 2022

Exhibition: Body & Soul
The Higgins Bedford
Free entry

Edvard Munch (1863–1944), Woman with a Brooch (Madonna), 1903 © The Trustees of the Cecil Higgins Art Gallery

A new exhibition exploring how women have been represented in art over the past two centuries, opens at The Higgins Bedford on 2 April.

Read: Body & Soul: Higgins’ new exhibition explores the representation of women in art

Highlights in the Body & Soul exhibition – all drawn from the Cecil Higgins Art Gallery Collection – include artworks by Edgar Degas, Edvard Munch, Dora Carrington, Stanley Spencer, Henri Matisse, Gwen John, Roy Litchenstein, Lucian Freud and Chila Burman.

Theatre highlights by Paula Walker

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