What’s on Bedford: 27 January – 6 February 2022

Happy Thursday everyone! The weekend is just around the corner and there are plenty of things to see and do in Bedford over the next 10 days. From live music to theatre, comedy to culture, here’s our pick of the best of Bedford.


Thursday 27 January 2022

Live music: BILK + Mask + The Tarrows
Bedford Esquires @ 7.30pm
Tickets: £8

The Pad Presents are be bringing the brilliant BILK back to Esquires as part of their 2022 tour.

Reflecting on the highs and lows of British youth culture today, Bilk are three musicians creating a unique angsty blend of indie, rap and punk from the suburbs of Essex, UK.

Their raucous live shows are becoming a thing of cult legend amongst a new generation of music fans, resulting in chaos at venues across the UK and now overseas

Support comes from two of Bedford’s fastest rising bands, Mask and The Tarrows.

Friday 28 January 2022

Drop-in workshop: Talk & Draw
The Higgins Bedford @ 12.30pm – 4pm
Free entry

Spend an afternoon at The Higgins Bedford for a relaxed and friendly chat about a selection of the artworks on display in the ‘Going to Town – 200 Years of Bedford’s Art’ exhibition, followed by an afternoon of sketching.

Art materials and portable chairs are provided. No art experience needed and no need to book.

Friday 28 January 2022

Live music: Lipstick on Your Collar
Bedford Corn Exchange @ 7.30pm
Tickets: £20

Step back in time to the golden era of pop music where the jukebox roared and feet didn’t touch the floor. Get your dancing shoes at the ready, grab a milkshake and relax – you are in for an evening of back to back hits from the 1950s and 60s!

Running from the birth of Rock n’ Roll through to the Beat Group sounds of the British Invasion and beyond, the evening is packed with over forty hits from the likes of

This two-hour feel-good show is performed by a full live band featuring songs by Connie Francies, Brenda Lee, Buddy Holly, The Beatles, The Ronnettes, Cliff Richard, Cilla Black, Dusty Springfield and many more.

Friday 28 January 2022

Live music: James Bay (SOLD OUT)
Bedford Esquires

BRIT award-winning Grammy-nominated chart-topper, James Bay, plays a sold-out intimate solo show at Esquires this week as part of his Independent Venue Week tour.

Saturday 29 January 2022

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.

Saturday 29 January 2022

Family Theatre: News News News
The Place Theatre @ 6pm and streamed live on YouTube
Tickets: Pay what you can

Head to the Place Theatre for a unique perspective on local news thanks to a collaborative project between pupils at Priory Primary School and artists Andy Field and Beckie Darlington.

News News News is a television news show made by children for adults, recorded in front of a studio audience and broadcast live on the internet.

Children from Priory Primary School will present bulletins from Bedford, offering a distinctive look at what’s going on right here and right now.

At a time when there is more news than there has ever been and yet our trust in journalists is at an all-time low, what is the purpose of news and how does it shape the way we see the world around us? And how might children teach us to look again at the places we live and the stories that we tell about them.

This project is presented and supported by Bedford Creative Arts, in partnership with The Place Bedford. Supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.

Saturday 29 January 2022

Live music: Bedford Sinfonia
Bedford Corn Exchange @ 7.3opm
Tickets: £16/£15/£6

The Bedford Sinfonia, conducted by Ian Smith, is delighted to present an exciting programme for its first concert at the Corn Exchange in nearly two years.

The orchestra is thrilled to welcome 18-year-old oboist Jessica Ellis, a rising star who has already won numerous prizes and studies with the Junior Royal Academy of Music. Jessica will perform Vaughan Williams’ Concerto for Oboe in A Minor.

The concert will open with Richard Strauss’ Symphony for Winds (‘Happy Workshop’), and close with Elgar’s dynamic and exciting Introduction and Allegro for strings.

Saturday 29 January 2022

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

As a prelude to this year’s Independent Venue Week, Madrid’s finest, The Parrots are coming to the main stage at Esquires this month.

Saturday 29 January 2022

Live music: The Quireboys and guests
Bedford Esquires @
Tickets: £18

Bedford legends, The Quireboys finally make their return to Esquires’ main stage

Special guests to be confirmed.

Sunday 30 January 2022

Theatre: The Rule of Three
The Place Theatre @ 7.30pm
Tickets: £12/£10

Bedford Drama Company present three Agatha Christie tales of mystery and murder, performed “radio-style” live on stage.

“If you came to our sold-out Agatha Christie Radio Plays performance in January 2020 you won’t want to miss this, and if you didn’t you still won’t want to miss this!”

Monday 31 January 2022

Film: A Passage to India
The Place Theatre @ 8pm
Tickets: £5

David Lean, the director of “Doctor Zhivago”, “Lawrence of Arabia” and “The Bridge On The River Kwai”, invites you on…”A Passage To India”.

Set during the period of growing influence of the Indian independence movement in the British Raj, the story begins with the arrival in India of a British woman, Miss Adela Quested, who is joining her fiancé, a city magistrate named Ronny Heaslop.

She and Ronny’s mother, Mrs. Moore, befriend an Indian doctor, Aziz H. Ahmed.

Tuesday 1 February 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 the Phoenix Choir.

Wednesday 2 February 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!

Aimed at 2-5-year olds, but all ages are welcome.

Wednesday 2 February 2022

Live music: Hamish Hawk
Bedford Esquires @ 8pm
Tickets: £10

Scottish singer/songwriter Hamish Hawk will be making his debut at Esquires on Wednesday as part of this year’s Independent Venue Week.

With The Skinny naming Hamish Hawk’s 2021 album ‘Heavy Elevator’ the best Scottish album of the year (beating off competition from Mogwai, Chvrches and Teenage Fanclub), Hamish now finds himself regularly touted as the ‘next big thing’.

With erudite lyrics and songs that sound like The Cure, The Divine Comedy or The Smiths at their most playful, the team at Esquires HQ are firmly of the opinion that recent single ‘The Mauritian Badminton Doubles Champion, 1973’ is one of the best things they have heard in absolutely yonks.

You’ve undoubtedly heard him on 6Music over the past 12 months, now is your chance to catch him in a small venue before the inevitable meteoric rise to arenas and stadiums.

Thursday 3 February 2022

Culture: Museum reopens
Panacea Museum @ 10am – 4pm
Free entry

The Panacea Museum reopens this week after its Winter break. This fascinating museum tells the story of the Panacea Society – a remarkable religious community formed in the early twentieth century.

For 90 years, members of the society quietly lived, worked and worshipped God in their community.

Although they took care to reveal little about themselves to outsiders, the society’s name became familiar to many people beyond Bedford through their national advertising campaign to open ‘Joanna Southcott’s Box’ a curious cultural icon of inter-war Britain.

During the 1920s and 1930s the community grew to more than 70 resident members living in and around Albany Road in Bedford, with about 2,000 members living elsewhere across the world. Over 130,000 people applied to receive the Society’s method of healing through water – its ‘panacea’ to cure all illnesses.

The museum has a small café which serves tea, coffee, soft drinks and a selection of cakes and snacks.

Museum opening times are 10am- 4pm, Thursday to Saturday.

Thursday 3 February 2022

Live music: Joe & The Shitboys
Bedford Esquires @ 8pm
Tickets: £7

What a name. What a band.

Bisexual vegans, Joe & The Shitboys, punch with brief and catchy shitpunk songs. They were formed with the intention of calling out homophobic and misogynistic behaviour in the conservative Faroe Islands and elsewhere generally.

The shows are full of energy, with the barrage of songs, such as “Drugs R’4 Kidz”, “Life Is Great You Suck” and “If You Believe in Eating Meat, Start With Your Dog”, being broken up by the flamboyant frontman, Joe, roasting the audience.

“The band are truly causing mayhem and we’re so here for it.” – The Line of Best Fit

“Chaotic” – Dork

“A hurricane of thunderous drums, grumbling bass and, of course, a storm of profanities” – Gigwise

Friday 4 February 2022

Dance: The Beautiful Game
The Place Theatre @ 7.30pm
Tickets: Pay What You Can from £8

Some love it, others loathe it, but we can’t avoid it – it’s everywhere! A laugh-out-loud look at our undying obsession with football, celebrating everything from weird match-day rituals to ridiculous armchair punditry.

The Beautiful Game explores the highs and lows of football fandom – it may even attempt to explain the offside rule.

Four women deliver a knockout performance in this ballsy, high-energy show which is brimming with nostalgia and set to a backdrop of chant-along hits and a buzzing soundtrack.

Friday 4 February 2022

Live music: Anti Nowhere League + Bleach Boys + Jonny & the Mental Breakdowns
Bedford Esquires @8pm
Tickets: £15

To kick off a series of punk-related shows on the first Friday of every month, Anti Nowhere League are back at Esquires.

The band will be playing classic tracks including ‘So What’ (was covered by Metallica), Streets Of London, We Are The League, For You, Animal and more.

Support comes from Hitchin’s Bleach Boys and MK’s Jonny & the Mental Breakdowns.

Friday 4 February 2022

Live music: Pompoko
Bedford Esquires @ 8pm
Tickets: £12

You don’t expect one of the most exciting art-punk-rock bands on the planet to hail from, errr Norway, but Pom Poko are exactly that.

Now on their second album, Cheater on the uber-cool Bella Union label, this is band we have been trying (unsuccessfully until now) to book for almost 3 years!

They come to Bedford Esquires as part of Independent Venue Week. Don’t miss them!

Saturday 5 February 2022

Theatre: Great Expectations with Gerald Dickens
Sharnbrook Mill Theatre @ 7.30pm
Tickets: £16 in aid of the Cool Down Appeal, to fund the air conditioning  in the theatre

The award-winning Sharnbrook Mill Theatre is proud to announce that the great, great, grandson of Charles Dickens will be returning to its stage to perform one of Dickens’ classic novels. Professional actor, Gerald Dickens, will present his own adaptation of Great Expectations, taking on all the roles, in a vocal and physical tour-de-force.

Saturday 5 February 2022

Comedy: Comedy Club 4 Kids
Quarry Theatre @ 2pm
Tickets: £10/£8/*children £5 (suitable for 6yrs+)

Since 2005, the Comedy Club 4 Kids has been getting the best stand-ups and sketch acts from the international circuit to do their thing for an audience of children and their families… but without the rude bits!

It’s just like a normal comedy club, but it’s on in the day, kids are allowed in, and thus there is a higher than usual chance of heckles like “why is that your face!?”

Confirmed acts for the February show are Howard Read, Joe Wells and Otiz Cannelloni.*Babes in arms don’t need to buy a ticket for this show

Saturday 5 February 2022

Live music: Opus Kink
Bedford Esquires @ 8pm
Tickets: £8.50

Opus Kink were formed in Brighton in the late 2010s through a desire to marry together the members’ collective musical inspirations including (take a deep breath) punk, jazz, garage rock, art rock, European folk, country, blues, Latin and African music among others.

Over the music, they weave a surreal narrative world of modern fables, hymns, vivid imagery and gothic storytelling.

With a focus on a raw, darkly theatrical live show and prioritising experimentation in the studio, the band – whose notoriety has grown largely by word of mouth – stay creatively unpredictable and continue to elude category.

Saturday 5 February 2022

Live music: Leave the Capital 2022 tour
Bedford Esquires @ 8pm
Tickets: £6

Luna Rosa

Project: Leave The Capital has been on a mission to ignite the home fires and keep them burning, having successfully crowdfunded a four-track vinyl EP with four of the finest emerging artists.

They’re now hitting the road on an eight-date UK Tour, including a night during Independent Venue Week at Esquires, Bedford.

This has been a truly collaborative project so the bands will share the honour to headline the venues across the tour.

In alphabetical order, Project: Leave The Capital brings you:
JW Paris weaves a sonic palette that will stick in your head and have earned plaudits from Chris Hawkins & Steve Lamacq from 6Music.

Luna Rosa will sear your ears with raw and frenzied tones from post-punk DNA with gripping guitars, pounding basslines and primal beats.

Sean Grant & The Wolfgang left Fierce Panda Records, went soul searching and has returned from deep introspection to release new material with an open mind connecting the dots through observation of patterns.

The Seven Sentinels helmed by the inimitable Bombshell, a battle-scarred MC, The Seven Sentinels are a grime-tinged force to be reckoned with.

Sunday 6 February 2022

Spoken Word: Read Poets Society – Reasons to be Cheerful
The Eagle Bookshop @ 7pm

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

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

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.

Theatre highlights by Paula Walker


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