What’s on Bedford: 17 – 27 March 2022

Spring is in the air, so what better way to celebrate than to get out and about to enjoy some of the amazing culture that’s right on our doorstep. Theatre, live music, film, exhibitions, poetry and more…

Last chance to see…

This is the last week to visit the two current exhibitions at the Higgins Bedford before they close on Sunday 20 March. Don’t miss out!

Exhibition: Going to Town – 200 Years of Bedford’s Art
Higgins Bedford Wixamtree Gallery
Free entry but timed tickets must be booked in advance here or by calling the Box Office on 01234 718044 (line open Monday-Friday 11am to 3pm).

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.

Exhibition: Airship Dreams: Escaping Gravity
Higgins Bedford
Free entry but timed tickets must be booked in advance here or by calling the Box Office on 01234 718044 (line open Monday-Friday 11am to 3pm).

Bedfordians looking at the R101 as it passes over Midland Road before setting out on its maiden overseas voyage in 1930

Bedford Creative Arts, The Higgins Bedford, the Airship Heritage Trust and artist Mike Stubbs, have joined forces to create an exhibition celebrating Bedford’s airship heritage.

It brings together new community-sourced displays, presenting the pioneering vision of airship development over the decades.

Visitors will discover community treasures, oral histories, artefacts, screened digital materials, animation, graphic design and young people’s responses to the themes.


Thursday 17 March 2022

Live music: Life of Riley St Patrick’s Day party
Bedford Esquires @ 7.30pm
Tickets: £7 (NHS workers free)

Part of the fabric of Bedford’s live music scene for over 25 years, The Life of Riley make a welcome return to the main stage at Bedford Esquires for a massive ST PATRICK’S DAY PARTY.
As part of the St Patrick’s celebrations and to say a big thank you to those on the front line, the band are very kindly offering 50 tickets FREE to NHS workers. These tickets can be picked up in person in advance from Esquires Bar only, 1 per person on production of an NHS card.

Thursday 17 March 2022

Live music: All That Jazz presents Jessica Bullen
The Place Theatre @ 8pm
Tickets: £10

An evening of contemporary jazz with saxophonist Jessica Bullen.

Jessica Bullen is an up-and-coming saxophonist and composer on London’s vibrant jazz scene. She has performed at a variety of prestigious music events across the UK and Europe, including the EFG London Jazz Festival, Brecon Jazz Festival and Langau Jazz Nights Festival in Switzerland.

Jessica studied at two of the UK’s most esteemed music conservatoires having completed her undergraduate degree at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, and her masters on Jazz performance at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

January 2022 marked the release of her debut EP ‘Flung Out of Space’, which showcased her unique compositional style and extraordinary voice on the soprano saxophone. Expect soaring melodics, rich harmony and strong grooves as Jessica draws on her inspiration from the likes of John Coltrane, Kenny Garrett, Jan Garbarek and Bob Mintzer.

Thursday 17 March 2022

Theatre: Encore NTLive: The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage
The Quarry Theatre @ 7pm
Tickets: from £12

Set twelve years before the epic His Dark Materials trilogy, this gripping adaptation revisits Philip Pullman’s fantastical world in which waters are rising and storms are brewing.

Two young people and their dæmons, with everything at stake, find themselves at the centre of a terrifying manhunt. In their care is a tiny child called Lyra Belacqua, and in that child lies the fate of the future. And as the waters rise around them, powerful adversaries conspire for mastery of Dust: salvation to some, the source of infinite corruption to others.

Eighteen years after his groundbreaking production of His Dark Materials at the National Theatre, director Nicholas Hytner returns to Pullman’s parallel universe. This is an Encore screening of the live broadcast from London’s Bridge Theatre.

Friday 18 March 2022

Culture: Talk & Draw
The Higgins Bedford @ 12:30pm – 4pm
Free Entry (drop-in/no need to book)

Head to the Higgins for free monthly art discussions followed by sketching afternoons in the gallery.

This month enjoy a relaxed and friendly chat about a selection of the objects on display in the Design Gallery. Stay to sketch and share your work.

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

Friday 18 March 2022

Live music: Thomas Benjamin Wild Esq
Bedford Esquires @ 8pm
Tickets: £10

With banjolele in hand, Thomas Benjamin Wild Esq. has been delivering his own brand of musical humour since 2016.

His performances charm audiences with a unique mix of original material, singalong classics and a sharp vintage wardrobe.

After the video for his original song I’ve No More F***s To Give went viral, clocking up over 100 million views, he has been performing at various venues, festivals and cabaret events across the UK.

Thomas’s debut album Awkward Encounters While Walking My Dog, released in 2018, reached number 3 in the Billboard Comedy Albums Chart, and features a collection of original satirical songs about the modern world delivered with good old fashioned style, wit and wisdom. His second album, Pants Drunk is released this month and carries on in the same vein. Expect laughs and plenty of singing along.

Friday 18 March 2022

Theatre: Buzzing
The Place Theatre @ 7.30pm
Tickets: from £10

Fifty, frumpy and full of inhibitions, newly-divorced Julie is searching for the sex life she once had, declaring: “I’m not ready to be put out to pasture yet!”.

Hurling herself into the modern dating scene, Julie shares her experiences with raw humour and engaging honesty, introducing us to the range of characters who help (or hinder) her attempted transition into an empowered woman living her life and having that elusive fun.

But what does it take for Julie to truly become herself, and does she have the inner courage? What is required of any man or woman to live their truest life in a world that wants us to settle for ‘fitting in’? Expect tears, truth and revelations aplenty in this warm and witty solo play which made a sparkling Edinburgh Festival debut in 2019, and now tours in this specially-extended version.

Contains sexual references, recommendation 14+

Friday 18 March 2022

Live music: The Real Thing 2022
Bedford Corn Exchange @ 7.30pm
Tickets: £32.50/£29.50

Your chance to see The Real Thing, featuring original vocalists Chris Amoo and Dave Smith with the backing of a live five-piece band.

Following the release of their ‘best of’ album and a documentary film about their career, this show will see them performing their three million-selling No 1 Hits You To Me Are Everything,  Can’t Get By Without You and Feel The Force.

Friday 18 March 2022

Live music: Paul Draper
Bedford Esquires @ 8pm
Tickets: £15

Cult Leader Tactics – from former Mansun frontman Paul Draper –  is a satire on the genre of self-help manuals.

It details how to get to the top of your chosen profession, or how to get on in life in general and in affairs of the heart, by acting in a Machiavellian manner and employing dirty tricks or ‘Cult Leader Tactics’ to achieve your life goals.

Saturday 19 March 2022

Theatre: Great Expectations
The Place Theatre @ 3.30pm and 7.30pm
Tickets: from £12

The critically-acclaimed Pantaloons proudly present an affectionately anarchic adaptation of Charles Dickens’ captivating coming-of-age chronicle.

Join Pip the orphan on a journey through his eventful life via hilarious turns and tragic twists; filled with escaped convicts, eccentric spinsters, mysterious benefactors and gut-wrenching heartbreak.

The Pantaloons are the “inimitable” (Guardian) and “wholly charming” (Times) touring theatre company bringing a vital sense of “play” back to classical performance.

Sunday 20 March 2022

Live music: Split Whiskers play the Sunday Afternoon Session
Bedford Esquires @ 5pm
Free entry

Split Whiskers are back at Esquires to play the Sunday Afternoon Session.

Monday 21 March 2022

Film: Bedford Film Society presents: Sound of Metal
University of Bedfordshire Theatre @ 7.30pm
Tickets: Free for members/guests £4.50

Riz Ahmed gives a ‘fierce and focused’ performance as Ruben, a heavy-metal drummer whose life is thrown into freefall when he begins to lose his hearing.

Tuesday 22 March 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 Beth Stone and Danny Murphy of Flutes and Frets.

Wednesday 23 March 2022

Culture: Portable Antiquities Scheme
The Higgins Bedford @ 1pm – 3pm
Free but booking essential

BEDFM 2005.17 – A Medieval silver-gilt annular brooch found at Lidlington.

Have you ever found archaeological objects whilst digging in the garden, taking the dog for a walk or metal detecting? Would you like to find out more about them? Matt Fittock, Finds Liaison Officer for the Portable Antiquities Scheme, can help.

The Portable Antiquities Scheme is a nationwide service run by the British Museum. To find out more about the service, please visit finds.org.uk.

Limited timed sessions available. To book, email Matthew.Fittock@stalbans.gov.uk.

Wednesday 23 March 2022

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

You have to make a choice in life: be a gambler or a croupier.

Jack Manfred (Clive Owen) is an aspiring writer who to make ends meet, takes a job as a croupier.

Jack remains an observer, knowing that everything in life is a gamble and that gamblers are born to lose. Inevitably, he gets sucked into the world of the casino which takes its toll on his relationships and the novel he is writing.

Thursday 24 March 2022

Live music: Music on Thursdays presents Phoenix Piano Trio
St Paul’s Church @ 7.45pm
Tickets: £2 – £18

Phoenix Piano Trio is one of today’s leading ensembles, praised for performances with a ‘musical narrative of tremendous, involving depth’.

Beethoven’s Archduke Trio plus music by Haydn and Frances-Hoad
Haydn: Piano Trio in E flat, Hob XV:30
Cheryl Frances-Hoad: The Forgiveness Machine
Beethoven: Piano Trio in B flat, Op.97 (‘Archduke’)

Cheryl Frances-Hoad’s The Forgiveness Machine was commissioned by the Phoenix Piano Trio as part of their Beyond Beethoven Project. Her work is very closely modelled on the second movement of Beethoven’s Archduke Trio and comprises a set of loosely structured variations, many of which are motivically very similar to Beethoven’s.

Tickets are available in advance from Bedford Music Club’s membership secretary, Keith Jones on (01234) 708109, online via Ticketsource, or on the door.

Friday 25 March 2022

Live music: Enola Gay
Bedford Esquires @ 8pm
Tickets: £10

We are excited to welcome Belfast based Irish noise rock/post-punk 4-piece Enola Gay to Esquires in March 2022.

Formed in late 2019, with socially aware vocals and a bed of reverb-soaked buzz-saw guitar layered on top of a driving rhythm that draws as much inspiration from left-field electronica as it does from post-punk heroes of the late 70s / early 80s, Enola Gay have already crafted a unique sound that has drawn widespread acclaim from key industry figures and music fans around the globe, culminating with them being chosen to perform at IMW, ESNS, and SXSW for their 6th, 7th and 8th performances ever.
Quickly following their second single ‘Sofa Surfing’ that lead BBC 6Music’s Steve Lamacq to tout them as one of the next big acts, Enola Gay make their highly anticipated return with the
nosier and heavier track ‘Through Men’s Eyes’.

Tickets are £10 in advance + booking fee from seetickets:

Saturday 26 March 2022

Culture: Tea Party Poetry
The Higgins Bedford @ 2pm – 4pm
Free entry but booking essential

Join in free sessions of writing poetry alongside tea and treats in a small sociable group. Give a voice to your thoughts and emotions inspired by a different theme each session.

No experience is needed to join in. Sessions are suitable for ages 16+.

To book your place, email vicki.blair@bedford.gov.uk or call 01234 276362.

Saturday 26 March 2022

Live music: Bedford Choral Society present Bach B minor Mass
Bedford Corn Exchange @ 7.30pm
Tickets: £6 – £16

Bedford Choral Society returns to the Corn Exchange to perform Bach’s B minor Mass.

“This monumental work is a synthesis of every stylistic and technical contribution the Cantor of Leipzig made to music.”

Saturday 26 March 2022

Live music: The Skinner Brothers + guests
Bedford Esquires @8pm
Tickets: £10

Saturday 26 March 2022

Theatre: The Event
The Quarry Theatre @ 2.30pm and 7.30pm
Tickets: from £12

A man stands on stage in a pool of light and attempts the ultimate magic trick: disappearing while remaining in full sight. 

As he wittily deconstructs the theatrical experience – his part, and ours – inside the theatre and in the real world… are we on our own private stages? Are we a part of what’s happening or merely watching? Apart. 

The Event is a funny and thought-provoking journey through the fourth wall and into the vast unseen territory that lies right before our eyes. A Fringe First winner at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Sunday 27 March 2022

Live music: Lexie Green and the Indigo Blue play the Sunday Afternoon Session
Bedford Esquires @ 5pm
Free entry

Esquires welcomes back Lexie Green and her band for a Sunday Afternoon Session.

Over the past few years Lexie has built up a strong reputation for her live performances, whether performing solo or with her band of friends (Steve, Sam, John and Kat).

Her fun-filled and happy presence shines through, winning over venues and audiences alike.  Loving nothing more than to write and perform great music,  bring a smile, raise an audience to their dancing feet and make you feel like you are a huge part of that moment.

Sunday 27 March 2022

Family entertainment: Super Slam Wrestling 2022
Bedford Corn Ezxchange @ 3pm
Tickets: £10/£15

An afternoon of non-stop action awaits when all of your favourite heroes and villains of All Star Super Slam Wrestling meet in a giant Over the Top Rope – King of The Ring at Bedford Corn Exchange.

It’s every man for himself. Friend against friend and foe against foe. Unlike a Royal Rumble, a King of The Ring match features all the wrestlers in the ring from the beginning. The only way for a wrestler to be eliminated is to be thrown over the top rope onto the floor.

The last man standing in the ring will be crowned the King of The Ring. Anything goes as the wrestlers battle for supremacy. One thing is for sure, it will be sensational!

Sunday 27 March 2022

Live music: Sunday Night Jam
Bedford Esquires @ 8.30pm
Free entry

Have you and your friends just joined a band? Have you got two or three songs together that you’d like to try out in front of a crowd or are you a singer/songwriter/duo that’s just started out?

Or maybe you’re an established local act that just wants to get up and play a few covers, just for fun? Simply introduce yourself to host Mat Roberts and let him know you’d like to play.

It’s the liveliest Jam in town. Bring your instruments but full backline is provided.

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.

Theatre highlights by Paula Walker

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