What’s on Bedford: 19 – 29 May 2022

We’re heading into the weekend, so here’s our rundown of the best live music, theatre, comedy, film and family fun, right here on our doorstep.


Thursday 19 May – 9 June 2022

Family fun: Town centre Jubilee Trail
Bedford town centre
Free to enter

To celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, 12 crowns will be hidden in various windows around the town centre.

Why not explore the town while following the map to find the crowns?

The trail will run from Thursday 19 May through the long Jubilee weekend and ends on Thursday 9 June.

Maps will be available to download online, or will be available to collect from The Higgins or Central Library.

Thursday 19 May 2022

Live music: The Allergies + Miller Collective
Bedford Esquires @ 8pm
Tickets: £15

Since forming in 2012, The Allergies have made a name for themselves with their take on sample-led beats and breaks.

Over the course of two funk-fuelled albums on Jalapeno Records the dynamic duo of DJ Moneyshot & Rackabeat have stacked up accolades and topped charts along the way.

Their last album, Push On, was a melting pot of vintage licks and modern production. It featured heavily on many end of year roundups when it dropped in 2017, and took the Album of the Year gong on BBC 6 Music, thanks to Craig Charles’ constant championing.

On record, their infectious fusion of hip-hop and rare grooves has won them fans worldwide. And live they recreate that old block party madness on the turntables, cutting up wax like no others with their party-starting DJ sets.

From ram jam stages at Glastonbury festival to rocking the legendary Space in Ibiza, they have one mission – to rock the spot.

Support comes from Bedford’s very own funkateers, the Miller Collective.

Thursday 19 May 2022

Speed dating
3 St Peters @ 7.30pm
Tickets: £25 (members) £30 (non members)

Explore your chemistry with other local singles in a safe, friendly and beautiful venue. An opportunity to make friends or to meet a potential partner.


Friendly and experienced meet up hosts will be on hand, including 3 St Peter’s experienced dating coach, Leah, who has previously run a number of successful dating events in Bedford.

Friday 20 May 2022

Creative: Talk & Draw
Friday 20 May, 12:30pm (Talk) – 4pm
Free entry, no beed to book

Join in this Talk & Draw session and take a look at some of the weird and wonderful objects in the Higgins House, followed by an afternoon of sketching.

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

Friday 20 May 2022

Live music: FastLove – a tribute to George Michael
Bedford Corn Exchange @ 7.30pm
Tickets: £25/£23

Get ready for an unforgettable evening celebrating a global superstar, as he puts the Boom Boom into your heart in the all-new production, Fastlove – A tribute to George Michael.

The show is packed with crowd-pleasing anthems from Wham! classics onwards.

You’ll be getting up (to get down) to all your favourite songs including Careless Whisper, Freedom, Faith, Father Figure, Outside, Jesus To A Child, and many more.

Friday 20 May 2022

Theatre: The Letter of Last Resort and Tales for Star City
The Place theatre @ 7.30pm
Tickets: from £7

The Soviet Union. 1967. The Space Race is at its height. One woman at the centre of it all looks back on her dreams of being part of the great Communist movement during one of the most dramatic decades of the Cold War.

Some time later on the other side of the Iron Curtain, the new Prime Minister is working late into the night when she is interrupted by a request – a letter needs to be written. It can only say one of two things, but its implications could change the face of the earth forever…

This double-bill of short plays explores the brightest and darkest moments of 20th Century history through two tautly written and gripping dramas. It will leave you questioning the nature of power and asking how our political beliefs can really change our lives – and the world.

Friday 20 May 2022

Live music: The HomeGrown with Electric Circus, The Tarrows, Fraser Mackenzie & Moondog
Bedford Esquires @ 7.30pm

The HomeGrown are no strangers to Bedford but this will be their first gig here since before lockdown pt 1.

Electric Circus are an up and coming three-piece based in the North East of England. This will be their Bedford debut.

The Tarrows, formerly The Know are local to Bedford and they rock!

Moondog is a solo artist from Bedford who plays catchy songs whilst tackling serious issues in society.

Friday 20 May 2022

Cabaret: Extravaganza Cabaret featuring Delilah Bon + Attitude
Bedford Esquires @ 7.30pm
Tickets: £12

Delilah Bon is headlining the extravaganza!

Bedford’s leading cabaret and drag act is back – bigger and better and on the Main Stage at Esquires.

Read more here: Bedford’s alternative drag and cabaret show is back

Saturday 21 May 2022

Comedy: Jokes and Laffs
The Place Theatre @ 8pm
Tickets: £12

Travis Jay is among the performers at Jokes and Laffs this month

GMG Promotions presents an evening filled with laughter and more. Showcasing the very best of established and new comedy talents – both homegrown and international, while also making sure to cater for all comedy lovers of all backgrounds.

Saturday 21 May 2022

Children’s Comedy: James Campbell: The Funny Life of …
The Quarry Theatre @ 2.30pm
Tickets: from £8.50

It’s time to stick a banana in each ear and blow your nose without using your hands. No, it isn’t that at all, actually.  It’s actually time to watch James Campbell’s one-man comedy show.

Stand-up comedy is a wonderful art form.  Nothing else allows an artist to interact so wonderfully with their audience.  Some comedians have recently started trying to do this with children.  James Campbell invented the whole thing.

Saturday 21 May 2022

Wellbeing: Saturday Wellbeing
The Higgins Bedford @ 12pm – 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 lacemaking.

Saturday 21 May 2022

Live music: Ceremony #2 – a new music all-dayer
Bedford Esquires from 12.30pm
Tickets: £27.50

Big Joanie are among the acts playing at the festival

This month sees the return of Esquires’ all-day music festival, Ceremony, a multi-room, gender-balanced music festival that aims to highlight diverse and exciting new music.

The joyful Dutch four-piece PIP BLOM, will be headlining the second edition of ‘Ceremony’, having recently sold out London’s Islington Assembly Hall. This is their first time performing in Bedford and the very first time to head up a line up that includes the horn-fuelled sleaze of Brighton’s Opus Kink, the eclecticism of New York’s Babi Ali and the soaring post-punk shoegaze of the hotly tipped Damefrisor.

Also appearing will be Big Joanie, the London based feminist punk band who combine the melodic pop of sixties girl groups with the fury of nineties riot grrrl and have been championed by the likes of Idles & Skunk Anansie. They will be performing at Esquires prior to an appearance at the ‘Meltdown Festival’ at the personal invite of Grace Jones and a UK tour with St Vincent.

Other confirmed acts include Welsh firebrands Panic Shack, who recently stole the show at the BBC 6Music Festival in Cardiff, ‘excited skint Northerners’ Low Hummer and the acerbic Orwellian observations of Portsmouth’s Hallan.

With three stages running throughout the day, including an outdoor stage showcasing some of the best new acts from Bedfordshire and the surrounding Counties, the full lineup can be found on their website.

There will also be authentic street food on-site from Cartina Carnitas and A-Vegetative State, catering for vegans and carnivores and everyone in between.

Saturday 21 May 2022

Theatre: Twelfth Night
The Quarry Theatre Garden @ 7pm
Tickets: £19 [one “under 10” ticket free of charge with each paid ticket]

Join The HandleBards at The Quarry Theatre for a bicycle-powered, laugh-out-loud production of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night.

Duke Orsino is in love with Lady Olivia, but she won’t have anything to do with suitors. Viola is shipwrecked and believes her twin brother Sebastian to be dead. Meanwhile, a bunch of Olivia’s servants plot to make a fool out of her pompous butler, Malvolio. There’s drunkenness, frivolity and cross-dressing a plenty.

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 21 May 2022

Classical music: Bedfordshire Symphony Orchestra
Bedford Corn Exchange @ 7.30pm
Tickets: prices vary

Bedfordshire Symphony Orchestra’s summer concert is an exciting mix of musical masterpieces.

Under the direction of the orchestra’s regular conductor Michael Rose, the concert starts with Wagner’s Overture to Die Meistersinger, followed by Rachmaninov’s Concerto for Piano No. 2, which sees the return of Chinese born British pianist Mengyang Pan as soloist.

The concert concludes with Sibelius Symphony No. 1.

Sunday 22 May 2022

Family fun: Sunday Crafternoon
The 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.

Sunday 22 May 2022

Live music: May Contain Nutz play the Sunday Afternoon Session
Bedford Esquires Until 12 June 2022
Free entry

The Party Rock band from Bedford bow out of the limelight, playing their last ever gig at the Esquires’ Sunday Session.

”It’s been a great ride for the past eight years. A ton of great gigs, lots of parties and a shedload of inflatable guitars but now it’s time to move on.”

Tuesday 24 May – Saturday 28 May 2022

Community Theatre: A Day in there Life of Joe Egg
The Place Theatre @ 7.30pm
Tickets: from £7.50

The Swan Theatre Company returns to The Place Theatre with Peter Nichols’ funny and moving masterpiece, A Day in the Death of Joe Egg, the extraordinary play inspired by the author’s own experience of raising his daughter.

A story about family, it shines a light on parents caring for their disabled daughter, affectionately nicknamed “Joe Egg”, and how they live using wild wry humour to keep the family together.

Hilarious and heartbreaking, this vitally important story will pierce your heart one moment, and fill it with warmth the next.

Tuesday 24 May 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 Bedford Gallery Quire.

Bedford Gallery Quire is a community group of singers and instrumentalists performing three and four-part musical pieces from the West Gallery period, around 1700 to 1850.  

Free with retiring collection.

Wednesday 25 May 2022

Local history: Royal visits to Bedford
Bedford Central Library @ 11.30am
Free entry

Come and listen to an illustrated talk by local historian, Maurice Nicholson.

Wednesday 25 May 2022

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

Enjoy a three-hour relaxing picturesque cruise on the River Great Ouse to Great Barford, departing from Priory Marina at 10am, arriving at Great Barford for lunch at 1.30 pm and return by coach at 3pm back to Priory Marina.

Relax as you cruise along discovering abundant wildlife with kingfishes and herons swopping in front of us and swans serenely gliding by. Enjoy morning coffee and cake or pastry available onboard from the Galley Bar.

Wednesday 25 May 2022

Film: Deliverance
Cinema @ 3 St Peters @ 7pm
Tickets: £9/£10.50/£12

Four city-dwelling friends (Jon Voight, Burt Reynolds, Ned Beatty, Ronny Cox) decide to get away from their jobs, wives and kids for a week of canoeing in rural Georgia.

When the men arrive, they are not welcomed by the backwoods locals, who stalk the vacationers and savagely attack them in the woods.

Reeling from the ambush, the friends attempt to return home but are surrounded by dangerous rapids and pursued by a madman. Soon, their canoe trip turns into a fight for survival.

Wednesday 25 May 2022

Comedy: Milton Jones
Bedford Corn Exchange @ 7.30pm
Tickets: £27.50

One man. One Mission. Is it possible? No, not really.

Him with the shirts off the telly, Milton reveals the truth about being an international spy, before being given a disappointing new identity which forced him to appear on Mock the Week and Live at the Apollo.

But this is also a love story with the twist, or even a really bad sprain.

Just gloriously daft nonsense or is there a deeper meaning? Every man has his price. Sainsbury’s, where good food costs less.

Thursday 26 May 2022

National Theatre Live: Straight Line Crazy
The Quarry Theatre @ 7pm
Tickets: from £12.50

Ralph Fiennes leads the cast in David Hare’s blazing account of the most powerful man in New York, a master manipulator whose legacy changed the city forever.

For forty uninterrupted years, Robert Moses exploited those in office through a mix of charm and intimidation. Motivated at first by a determination to improve the lives of New York City’s workers, he created parks, bridges and 627 miles of expressway to connect the people to the great outdoors.

Faced with resistance by protest groups campaigning for a very different idea of what the city should become, will the weakness of democracy be exposed in the face of his charismatic conviction?

Broadcast live from the Bridge Theatre in London.

Thursday 26 May 2022

Live music: Feet + Bull + Opus Kink
Bedford Esquires @ 8pm
Tickets: £12

When Feet last visited Bedford Esquires there was furious dancing, ill-advised facial hair and a sprained ankle or two. With a sound influenced by The Talking Heads, Britpop and The Happy Mondays, we are contractually banned from describing the Coventry five-piece as ‘wonky pop’, so we will have to make do with calling them one of the best new bands we’ve heard in absolutely ages.
Their trippy debut LP ‘What’s Inside Is More than Just Ham’ (terrible title, great record) was dubbed by the NME as ’one of the most intriguing British Indie albums of the year’ while their upcoming ‘Walking Machine’ EP showcases a grittier side to the band.
Energetic, psychedelic and above all fun, we are delighted that Feet will be returning to Esquires for a headline show.

For fans of Blur, Squid, Sports Team.

Thursday 26 May 2022

Showcase: Brooks 2022 annual hair and beauty show
Bedford Corn Exchange @ 7pm
Tickets: £6

After a two-year hiatus, students from Bedford College will once again return to the Corn Exchange to showcase their end of year designs.

Saturday 28 May 2022

Food & drink: FoodDrunk
Bedford Esquires from midday
Free entry / Silent Disco tickets £5

Woo hoo! FoodDrunk is returning to Bedford Esquires for its sixth edition.
Bedford’s first street food festival began in 2017 and returns bigger and better for 2022, with more bands, DJs and headliners than you can shake a stick at.
The car park will be transformed into a mini food market, festooned with bunting and even getting out a few hay bales for good measure.
With sounds as good as the tastes throughout the day, there will be two indoor rooms of live music, with the Roll Your Own Records crew taking over the outdoor area and a silent disco for kids on the main stage from 2pm – 3.30pm.
All of the street food vendors have 5-star hygiene ratings are accompanied by 15 specialist beers limited to FoodDrunk and not on the Esquires menu.

Entry to the kids Silent Disco is £5 per person (children and adults). Children must be supervised by an adult at all times.

Saturday 28 May 2022

Live music: Do Nothing + Bloody/Bath
Bedford Esquires @ 8pm
Tickets: £12

This Saturday, Nottingham four-piece, DO NOTHING, will make their main stage debut at Esquires.

Their sound is equal parts Roxy-esque art-rock and Ze/Celluloid records no wave.

Support on the night comes Esquires’ favourite new find, BLOODY/BATH. “We’re late to the party as the Northampton band have been going a little while, but they are currently our Spotify repeat – don’t miss em.”

Sunday 29 May 2022

Live music: Total Pop Party
Bedford Corn Exchange @ 3pm
Tickets: £12/£10

The Perfect Party for your little ones. Total Pop Party is brand new and exciting for 2022!

These incredible girls celebrate the modern day pop legends from Little Mix, Ariana Grande, Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, P!NK, Anne Marie, Panic at the Disco, Dua Lipa, Jonas Brothers, Jess Glynne, The Spice Girls, Justin Bieber and so many more.

Incredible Choreography, Brilliantly Entertaining and a Non-Stop Pop Party from Start to Finish. Singing and dancing all the way, Total Pop Party is an excellent introduction for kids who are too young to go to the big concerts but don’t want to miss out on seeing their favourite pop stars!

Come join the girls for the best party in town!

Sunday 29 May 2022

Live music: X-Certs play the Sunday Afternoon Session
Bedford Esquires @ 5pm
Free entry

Herts-based covers band playing new wave/Power pop/mod and punk classics from the 60’s 70’s and 80’s. All songs they love, and it shows.

Until June 2022

Exhibition: Archipelago: Take Part Queen’s Park Community Exhibition
The Higgins Bedford until 12 June 2022
Free entry

Still from the Archipelago film of the Allotted sequence © Caroline Wendling

Still from the Archipelago film of the Allotted sequence © Caroline Wendling
A new exhibition celebrating the vibrancy of Queen’s Park opens at the Higgins Bedford this month.

Using film, embroidery and clay, curated by artist Caroline Wendling the exhibition is a collaboration with residents as part of the Take Part Queen’s Park project.

“Queen’s Park is like an archipelago [a group of islands] – a place where people who each have their own cultures and traditions come together to form one unique, vibrant and unified community,” said Caroline Wendling.

Delivered by Bedford Creative Arts in partnership with The Higgins Bedford and funded by Paul Hamlyn Foundation, The Harpur Trust and housing association bpha.

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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