What’s on Bedford: 24 February – 6 March 2022

The weekend has rolled around again and my word, it’s shaping up to be a good un’. Grab your diary, ignore all calls and get your social life sorted for the next 10 days…

Thursday 24 February 2022

Live music: Bedford Music Club presents Gareth Brynmor John & Wiliam Vann
St Paul’s Church, Bedford @ 7:45pm
Tickets: £18/£5/£2 (on the door, via Ticketsource or contact Keith Jones on (01234) 708109)

­Bedford Music Club’s next concert is a programme of English and American songs on themes of childhood, youth and self-discovery.

The centrepiece is Vaughan Williams’ Songs of Travel framing songs by Herbert Howells, Samuel Barber, Ernest Moeran, Charles Ives, Benjamin Britten, Lisa Lehmann and Richard Rodney Bennett.

Gareth Brynmor Johnson studied at St John’s College Cambridge and the Royal Academy of Music. Winner of the 2013 Kathleen Ferrier Prize, he is active across a range of musical disciplines, from opera to oratorio, via art song.

William Vann is a multiple prize-winning accompanist and recording artist as well as the Artistic Director of Bedford Music Club.­

Thursday 24 February 2022

Live music: Jon Boden
The Place Theatre @ 8pm
Tickets: £26

Jon Boden is best known is the lead singer of the progressive folk juggernaut Bellowhead who sold 250,000 albums, had seven singles playlisted on Radio 2 and sold out hundreds venues including The Royal Albert Hall.

Since Bellowhead split up in 2016 Jon has continued his development as one of the foremost names in English folk music.

Solo Jon performs the self-penned songs of Songs From The FloodplainPainted Lady, Afterglow and Rose In June, material from Bellowhead, Spiers & Boden, and his A Folk Song A Day project in which he recorded 365 folk songs in one year, music from newly released album Last Mile Home (Mar 2021, Hudson Records) and more.

Friday 25 February 2022

Family fun: Circus Spectacular 2022
Bedford Corn Exchange @ 7pm
Tickets: £16.50/£15

This month, The Greatest Show On Earth comes to Bedford, featuring international circus acts, amazing magic and lots of laughs.

Top-class artistes not only bring skill and suspense during their acts, but they will also all be participating in the production numbers and comedy aspects of the show to make one truly unhinged experience.

Every show is unique, culminating in one ‘slosh’ style finale – with the first four rows being provided with rain macs.

Circus Spectacular will have everyone laughing and cheering along in this fantastic circus-style variety show.

Friday 25 February 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 artworks on display in the new Edward Bawden exhibition. Stay to sketch and share your work.

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

Friday 25 February 2022

Comedy: Simon Brodkin: Troublemaker
The Quarry Theatre @ 7.30pm
Tickets: £20

Renowned prankster and creator of the hugely popular Lee Nelson, Simon Brodkin is back in Bedford with his new standup show.

After showering Sepp Blatter with banknotes, upstaging Kanye West at Glastonbury, and handing Theresa May her P45, the critically acclaimed comedian explores why trouble has followed him from primary school through medical school to lockdown homeschool. And what it’s like to be chased by Donald Trump’s bodyguards, how to make the police laugh while they’re arresting you, and what to do when you’re outed as a Jew by the Ku Klux Klan.

Friday 25 February 2022

Theatre: Dry Season
The Place Theatre @
Tickets: Pay what you can

Kat thought they were far too young to worry about menopause; biology thought differently. Now their hormones are going haywire, their diary is full of NHS visits and sleep is a distant memory. Join Kat on a journey featuring anxiety, insomnia, and self-conscious jogging as they explore their changing identity, question societal expectations of age and gender, and do their best to navigate the first chaotic year.

Interweaving music, movement and medical texts with original poetry and animation, Dry Season is a witty, honest and intimate spoken-word theatre show about questioning assumptions and learning to rewrite your story.

Saturday 26 February 2022

LGBTQIA: OUTing the Past Festival
The Higgins Bedford @ 11am – 4pm
Free online event

Hear a range of dynamic speakers as they share the hidden histories and stories of the LGBTQ+ community, celebrating its diversity and raising awareness of the challenges that the community have encountered and continue to face today.

Read: Celebrate LGBTQ+ History Month at the Higgins annual OUTing the Past Festival

There is no need to book in advance, the zoom link will be posted on The Higgins Bedford website closer to the time.

Saturday 26 February 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 February 2022

Live music: The Ronnie Scott’s Story
The Quarry Theatre @ 7.30pm
Tickets: £24

Direct from London’s world-famous jazz club and combining world-class live jazz, narration and rare archive photos and video footage, The Ronnie Scott’s All Stars, led by the club’s musical director, celebrate ‘The Ronnie Scott’s Story’.

Set amongst the dive bars and jazz jook joints of London’s Soho, we hear about the desperate hand-to-mouth finances of the early years and the frequent police raids.

We hear how Ronnie’s became neutral ground within rife gang territory and their scrapes with gangsters including the Krays who were rumoured to have taken Ronnie and Pete “for a little drive”!

Life at Ronnie’s is evocatively re-imagined through tales of the club’s past visitors, from pop stars, film stars and politicians to comedians and royalty, but above all, the musicians…

Mixing classic music from the jazz greats who have performed at Ronnie Scott’s over its incredible 60+ year history, alongside tales of old Soho, miscreant musicians and police raids, this is a unique evening celebrating one of the world’s most famous jazz venues, its music, and history.

Saturday 26 February 2022

Comedy: Jokes and Laffs comedy night
The Place Theatre @ 7.30pm
Tickets: £12.50

An evening filled with laughter and more. Showcasing the very best of established and new comedy talents – both homegrown and international.
Mr Cee: Charming & Conscious, Mr Cee is the ‘Urbane Comedian’. Voted the ‘Best Male Newcomer’ at the Prestigious Black Entertainment Comedy Awards in 2000, he has fine-tuned his topical gags by working as a stand-in on the highly popular BBC TV show ‘Mock The Week’ and his improv skills on BBC’s ‘Fast & Loose’. For 20 years he has produced & curated comedy shows all over the UK including his ‘Come Mek We Larf’ comedy nights at Summerfest to over 1,500 people.
Don Biswas: Don is a super slick gag merchant with a twist: covering left-wing politics as well as his own experiences of dyspraxia and Asperger’s syndrome. As seen on the BBC Asian Network. A fascinating and hilarious voice well worth hearing.
“By the quality of his jokes alone, including a choice one about a corporate gig for the DWP, Biswas is the show’s star turn.” Guardian
Thenjiwe: The lawyer-turned-comedian is one of the most highly recognised and popular South African stand-up comedians on the road today. Thenjiwe first burst into the comedy scene in 2013, beginning her career in London before returning home to South Africa where she is called the first lady of comedy. With six comedy specials and two popular South African sitcoms that she writes, produces and stars in (Judge Thenjiwe Khambule and Meet the Khambules,) it is no surprise that Thenjiwe is the Queen of African Comedy.
President Obonjo: The Original African Dictator-Self proclaimed exiled President performing Comedy in the UK- Malcom Hardee Award Winner 2019 President Obonjo, is an increasingly successful stand-up comedian and who has been performing Comedy for the past 10 years, As the larger-than-life, uber-confident, self-appointed, side-splitting dictator of ‘Lafta Republic’, President Obonjo has quietly been leading a comedy revolution to become the first President to take over the comedy industry by storm.

Saturday 26 February 2022

Dance music: Club Momacoca featuring DJ Spoony + Mark Russell
Bedford Esquires @ 9pm
Tickets: Very limited number of tickets available £20

DJ Spoony and Mark Russell are hosting the Club Momacoca night in February

Club Classics All Night Long, say what?!!!!
DJ Spoony and Mark Russell will be playing back to back all night for a special one-off selection at Club Momacoca’s original home, Esquires.

A very limited number of tickets are available so be quick!

Sunday 27 February 2022

Dance music: Reggae Roast
Herd @ 1pm – 5pm
Booking essential tel: 01234 300193

Sunday Reggae Roast is back at Herd. DJ Paul Miller will be dropping some heavy heavy dubs in the bar, plus Team Herd will be serving up their famous Sunday roast. What’s not to like?

Sunday 27 February 2022

Comedy: Ed Gamble – Electric
Bedford Corn Exchange @ 7.30pm
Tickets: £20 (limited tickets still available)

After a sell-out tour of his house in 2020 (extended into 2021 due to popular demand), Ol’ Broken Pancreas is charged up and ready to flick the switch on another night of attention-seeking (review here).

Co-host of the award-winning mega-hit podcast Off Menu with James Acaster and Taskmaster champion, you’ll have seen and heard Ed on Mock the Week (BBC2), Live At the Apollo (BBC), The Russell Howard Hour (Sky), QI (BBC2), Would I Lie To You (BBC) and Sunday mornings on Radio X alongside Matthew Crosby.

Sunday 27 February 2022

Live music: The Sunday Night Jam Night
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? You could even be an established local act that just wants to get up and play a few covers, just for fun?

The Sunday Night Jam in the bar at Esquires is just the place. Simply introduce yourself to host, Mat Roberts and let him know you’d like to play.

It’s the liveliest Jam in town, there’s never a dull moment, just bring your instruments (full backline is provided).

Monday 28 February 2022

Film: All About My Mother
The Place Theatre @ 8pm
Tickets: Pay what you can (£3 – £15)

Bedford Young Film Programmers present the Oscar-winning Spanish film, All About My Mother in association with Bedford Language Centre.

Directed by Pedro Almodóvar, the film follows Manuela, a single mother, who loses her only son Esteban in a car accident.

She travels to Barcelona to escape reality and search for her ex-lover.

All About My Mother touches on faith, the AIDS crisis, queer identities, existentialism and social stigma.

Monday 28 February 2022

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

A determined young Saudi doctor’s surprise run for office in the local city elections sweeps up her family and community as they struggle to accept their town’s first female candidate.

Tuesday 1 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 Luke Howard, Director of Music at St Swithin’s in Sandy. Cello and piano recitals of Bach, Gabrieli and Gershwin.

Wednesday 2 March 2022

Storytelling: Jackastory
The Place Theatre @ 10.30am
Tickets: Pay What You Can

Listen to members of The Place team read their chosen children’s stories and discover some new favourites of your own. You are welcome to bring your own book suggestions with you too.

Each session runs for forty-five minutes to an hour, with a break for refreshments. This will be a very relaxed event with young, and old, being invited to join the readers on the stage in an intimate and friendly atmosphere, on a mound of comfortable cushions! Jackastory runs twice a month.

(Aimed at 2-5-year olds, but all ages welcome)

Wednesday 2 March 2022

Comedy: Chris Ramsey
Bedford Corn Exchange @ 7.30pm
Tickets: £22

Critically acclaimed comedian Chris Ramsey is hitting the road for his biggest ever stand-up tour in 2022. Having filled venues across the country, “Ramsey has the potential to be a mainstream hit, a cult favourite or almost anything in between” (Sunday Times), so don’t miss your chance to catch him live on stage while you can.

Friday 4 March 2022

Film: Brief Encounter (Dementia-friendly screening)
The Place Theatre @ 3pm and 7pm
Tickets: £5

Widely cited as one of the greatest films of all time, David Lean’s romantic drama is based on a screenplay written by Noel Coward.
Celia Johnson plays the protagonist Laura, a married woman with children, whose conventional life becomes increasingly complicated following a chance meeting at a railway station with a married stranger with whom she subsequently falls in love.
*The 3pm screening will be Dementia-Friendly. Lights will be left on dimly during the screening and you are encouraged to stand up and move around. There will be an interval.

Your ticket includes a hot beverage and biscuits.

Friday 4 March 2022

Live music: The Doors Alive
Bedford Esquires @ 8pm
Tickets: £15

With over 1,000 shows under their belts, The Doors Alive recreate the sound, look, presence and magic of a real 1960s Doors concert, perfectly and effortlessly transporting the audience back in time.

Saturday 5 March 2022

Community: Airship Dreams Community Story Sharing
The Higgins Bedford @ 11:15am – 12:30pm
Free entry but booking is essential tel:01234 718618

Join Lydia Saul, Keeper of Social History at The Higgins Bedford and explore the stories shared in the Airship Dreams Escaping Gravity community curated displays.

Share your own airship objects, photographs and stories with us – either your own, or those shared with you by loved ones or friends over the years. Refreshments (tea & coffee) are available.

Saturday 5 March 2022

Family: Airship Dreaming – a Family Story Workshop
The Higgins Bedford @ 1.30pm – 3pm
Free entry but booking is essential. Book online or call the Box Office on 01234 718044

Using inspiration from the Higgins’ collections, storyteller Jane Lambourne will help you to create your own Airship Dream Story.

Looking at airship artefacts and thinking about the people who designed and built the airships in Cardington, this workshop will help you to dream up some new stories about soaring away in these magnificent flying machines.

Design and make your own storybook cover, then Jane will guide you through seven simple steps to fill the pages of your book with a story. Suitable for ages 6 – 12.

Saturday 5 March 2022

Community: Women in Diversity online coffee morning
Online @ 10.30am
Free but booking essential

Who are the women who have inspired you? You have the opportunity to share your story with at this online coffee morning to celebrate International Women’s Day.

“Tell us who has had that positive effect on your life. Your Mother, Grand-mother, Aunt, children, a celebrity anyone….

“Who is your role model? If you want tell share your story please send a photo to lowdhistory@gmail.com with your name and the name of the person and a short synopsis about them. We will feature them in our Sheroes presentation.”

Free tickets via the eventbrite link.

Saturday 5 March 2022

Live music: The Hawkmen
Bedford Esquires @ 8pm
Tickets: £10

The Hawkmen draw from an array of influences such as rhythm’n’blues, soul, and rock’n’roll which they bring together in a classic, rootsy, hybrid blend.
The band emerged as a full, live act in 2017 following the early successes of soul single and Craig Charles’ favourite, Don’t Judge A Book By Its Cover (Record Kicks, Italy), a northern soul remix of Emma Beatson’s debut single Do It (selected by Craig Charles for the second volume of his Freestyle Records compilation series) and The Hawkmen’s blazing Keep On Working EP (Mocambo, Germany) which yielded another single and was widely played on BBC Radio 2 and Radio 6.
The live video for ‘Baby Tonight’, has gone viral on YouTube and the bands’ live concerts have gone strength to strength.

Saturday 5 March 2022

Live music: REM by Stipe
Quarry Theatre @ 7.30pm
Tickets: £15/£13
The definitive R.E.M. tribute and described by Michael Stipe as “awesome”, R.E.M by Stipe are performing at the Quarry Theatre this week.
R.E.M. remain one of the world’s most enigmatic bands.  With a string of peerless albums and one eye on the underground and one eye on the soaring chorus, it’s safe to say we will never see their like again. 
From The One I Love through to The End of the World and more besides whether it’s playing major festivals or appearing on the One Show, performing for Michael Stipe himself, Stipe are the definitive R.E.M. tribute – a complete band, and encyclopaedic knowledge of the back catalogue. 

The boys from Athens’ legacy is in good hands.

Saturday 5 March 2022

Theatre: StageWrite
The Place Theatre @ 7.30pm
Tickets: Pay what you can (£3 – £10)

Previous StageWrite performers

StageWrite once again brings more fresh-as-a-daisy, brand new theatre to the Place in their 2022 theatre writing showcase.

StageWrite presents performances of two plays over the course of one evening and includes a short Q&A session after each piece to allow the audience to give feedback and the writers to discover more about how their work is received.

The scripts are selected from work that has been submitted by both emerging and experienced writers from all over the UK.

Read: StageWrite returns to put new theatre writers in the spotlight

Saturday 5 March 2022

Dance music: Underneath with Steve Harrington (House FM)
Herd @ 9pm
Tickets: £5

Due to Covid, December’s Underneath party at Herd couldn’t go ahead so they have decided have another crack of the whip and invite their friends and respected DJs Back to the Basement to give Bedford the Christmas party we all deserve.
First up is House FM’s Steve Harrington who has played all over the UK including at the Ministry of Sound for Groove Odyssey and recently opened up 51st State.
Also on the line up is Serge Amos and Herd residents, The Journey Men.

Saturday 5 March 2022

Live music: Hallan
Bedford Esquires @ 8pm
Tickets: £8

Hallan is a Portsmouth-based four-piece who write and rehearse in an 18th-century fortification built into the side of a hill and surrounded by a forest. It’s within these dramatic surroundings that frontman, Conor Clements channels the frustrations, insecurities and events of early adulthood into his lyrics.

With the band drawing influences from the people they cross every day – in the supermarket aisles, on your Facebook feed, next-door neighbours. Hallan observes and commentate on British life via an Orwell-influenced bleak vision of the future and the cut-up style of Burroughs and other beat generations.

Sunday 6 March 2022

Spoken Word: Read Poets Society – Celebrating the Queen’s Jubilee
The Eagle Bookshop @ 7pm
Free entry

An evening of poetry, prose, drama and music to drive out winter woes and pandemic panic – a theme much needed at this time!

On 6 February 1952 Elizabeth became Queen. On 6 March 2022, Swan Theatre Company brings a selection of prose, poetry, drama, fiction and non-fiction to commemorate her Platinum Jubilee.
At 25 she became Queen and Head of the Commonwealth reigning through major political changes so there is no shortage of fascinating material both loyal and critical.

NB The Eagle Bookshop, 16-20 St Peter’s Street, MK40 2NN

Sunday 6 March 2022

Community: Women in Diversity / Sisters in Sound
The Standard @ noon – 5pm
Free entry

A day to celebrate female DJs, curated by Legacy of Windrush Descendants, Stand Up To Racism, Women of Bedford and more.

Chicken or chickpea curry and rice served between 12.30pm and 3.30pm.

Sunday 6 March 2022

Community: International Women’s Day @ Herd
Herd @ noon – 9pm
Free entry

Once again, International Women’s Day is celebrated at Herd with an all-female line-up of DJs, spoken word, singers and artists.

Herd’s legendary roasts will be served throughout the afternoon, or enjoy in the bar.

Sunday 6 March 2022

Family theatre: Messy
The Place Theatre @
Tickets: Pay what you can (£3 – £10)

Meet Daisy. She’s got a messy brain and a messy bedroom.

No matter what she does, “The Mess” just seems to follow her about! Which makes it very difficult to look for stuff. Important stuff. Like Mr Twiggy!

When Daisy is chosen to look after Mr Twiggy the class hamster, Daisy (and the rest of her class) worry she might lose him. So she’s very glad when best friend Beth decides to stay over to lend a hand. In fact, Beth, Daisy and Mr Twiggy are going to have the best weekend ever! But things don’t quite go to plan…

Can Daisy use the adventures of “The Mess” to find Mr Twiggy and prove everyone wrong?

Zoo Co present this magical and visual story complete with original music, puppets, tap dancing and even a trip to the moon! All the while celebrating the stories that explode from “The Mess”.

Performed by a Deaf and hearing cast with Sign Supported English, Messy has been created in partnership with ADHD Foundation and all performances are Relaxed Performances, which means if you need to stand up, sit down, wriggle around, leave or come back in, that’s absolutely fine! There aren’t any loud noises and the lights will stay on in the theatre so it won’t be too dark.

Sunday 6 March 2022

Live music: The Sunday Night Jam Night
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? You could even be an established local act that just wants to get up and play a few covers, just for fun?

The Sunday Night Jam in the bar at Esquires is just the place. Simply introduce yourself to host, Mat Roberts and let him know you’d like to play.

It’s the liveliest Jam in town, there’s never a dull moment, just bring your instruments (full backline is provided).

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.

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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