What’s on Bedford: 9 – 19 June 2022

The weekend’s almost here, so here we go again with our weekly round-up of what’s hot in Bedford over the next 10 days.

For everything from live music, exhibitions, markets, film, comedy, theatre and more.

Don’t miss your last chance to catch the Archipelago exhibition at The Higgins Bedford, grab tickets to see Cinema Paradiso at Cinema @ 3 St Peters and don’t forget to check out the fabulous Bedford Flea market.


Last chance to see…

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.

Thursday 9 and Friday 10 June 2022

Theate and dance: Catherine of Aragon festival presents Magellan and Elcano: Around the World
St Paul’s church @ 8pm
Tickets £15

As part of the Cathrine of Aragon Festival, events draw their inspiration from the places where Catherine of Aragon lived and died. A strong woman, she united the destinies of two great nations in XVI century, England and Castille and Aragon, now known as Spain.

This exciting performance is brought to Bedford through a collaboration between the University of Bedfordshire and the Ministry of Culture within the Spanish government for the 500th anniversary of the first circumnavigation of the globe. The journey started with the ships leaving from Seville and this is where the play also begins.

Originally written in Spanish, the play has been translated by The Open University. The student actors will be supported by a dancer and musicians from Spain, interpreting music and popular Spanish dance from Andalusia.

Thursday 9 June 2022

Live Music: Irish Music Cruise
John Bunyan Boat, Newnham Steps @ 7.30pm
Tickets: £20

Enjoy a lively musical evening cruise featuring Inis Eire; a Ceilidh band providing amazing music from Ireland as we cruise along Bedford’s Embankment.

A versatile trio of Irish musicians providing high quality classical, folk, pop and ceilidh performances.

Friday 10 June 2022

Live music: Verb T + Strange U + Deema
Bedford Esquires @ 7pm
Tickets: £14

UK hip hop artist, Verb T, touches down in Bedford.

Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 June 2022

Poetry treasure hunt: Poetry Geocache: Poems for a Stranger 
Russell Park

For lovers of poetry and treasure hunts, the Poetry Geocache will take participants on a hunt around Russell Park and Bedford’s Embankment to locate poems.

Saturday 10 June 2022

Dance: Catherine of Aragon Festival presents Carmen vs Carmen
St Paul’s church @ 8pm
Tickets: £24

Inspired by Bizet’s music and Merimée’s novel, Manuel Segovia uses the beauty and richness of Spanish dance to illustrate the mistreatment and gender violence suffered by women. Each character personifies the attributes and collective values of human nature.

Performed by the prestigious Madrid-based dance company, Iberica de Danza, founded in 1993 by Manuel Segovia (Premio Nacional de Danza a la Creación 2001 y Premio Villa de Madrid a la Coreografía 2004) y Violeta Ruiz del Valle. The company secured its acclaimed reputation through years of research, dedication and outstanding performance and brings to life the magic of Spain’s dance heritage.

Friday 10 June 2022

Karaoke: BARRIOKE ft. Shaun Williamson AKA Barry From Eastenders – He’s Back!
Bedford Esquires @ 8pm
Tickets: £15


Probably the single greatest event Esquires has ever booked is returning for round two, following the sold-out show last year.

From the fields of the festivals to the stage at Esquires, Barry from Eastenders (Shaun Williamson) is bringing Barrioke to Bedford!

Shaun will be performing a set of the hottest hits on the planet for you all – Karaoke sing-along style!! There might even be a chance for some of you lucky lot to join him on the stage.

Saturday 11 June 2022

Live music: Organ recital
St Paul’s Church Bedford @ 12 noon
Free entry with a retiring collection

Featuring Ian Runnells, Director of Music at St Paul’s, Bedford

Our series of Saturday lunchtime organ recitals will be held at St Paul’s throughout the year. Why not come along and combine your visit with a light lunch or coffee and cake from our Saturday cafe? Admission is free with a retiring collection.

The Director of Music welcomes enquiries from organists who may wish to perform a Saturday lunchtime recital. Please send a very brief biography to

Saturday 11 June 2022

Classical music: Bedford Choral Society: Gounod’s St. Cecilia Mass
Bedford Corn Exchange @ 7.30pm
Tickets: vary from £6 – £16

The concert will include Gounod’s St. Cecilia Mass and Parry’s Blest Pair of Sirens followed by Sibelius’ King Christian II Suite. The conductor will be Paul Searle-Barnes with Bedford Sinfonia.

Sunday 12 June 2022

Shopping: Bedford Flea, Affordable Art & Local Produce Market
St. Paul’s Square @ 10am

Flea finds

A smorgasbord of stuff, Bedford Flea, Affordable Art and Local Produce market is back!

Sunday 12 June 2022

Art: Urban Sketchcrawl @ Bedford Flea
La Piazza Cafe @ 10.30am
Free to attend

The Bedford chapter of a global group of Urban Sketchers meet up once a month to sketch on location in and around Bedford.  Each meet up, they explore a different place, with the mission to raise the artistic, storytelling and educational value of on-location drawing.

This week their location is Bedord Flea, Affordable Art and Local Produce market at St Paul’s Square.

Sunday 12 June 2022

Family fun: Pop Princesses
Bedford Corn Exchange @ 3pm
Tickets: £17

A magical show where princesses become pop stars!

This is the children’s pop concert with a big difference.

A musical spectacular starring four fabulous fairy tale princesses who just love to sing  and featuring a soundtrack of top pop hits from artists such as Little Mix, Ariana Grande, Taylor Swift, Meghan Trainor, and internet sensation, JoJo Siwa, plus songs from all your favourite films and musicals.

Monday 13 June 2022

Coffee morning: Bedford Borough Parent Carer Forum Cream Tea

Project 229, Bedford Road, Kempston

Free to attend

Bedford Borough Parent Carer Forum are running a Carers Week Celebration Coffee Morning for parent carers of children in Bedford Borough with additional needs, whether they are diagnosed or not.  Come and enjoy a cream tea/cupcake and meet other parent carers and take some time for yourself.  No booking required, just turn up.

Tuesday 14 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 Simon Davies, classical guitar. Free with a retiring collection.

Tuesday 14 – 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!

Wednesday 15 June 2022

Culture: The Higgins Tour
The Higgins Bedford @ 11:30am – 12:30pm
Tickets: £6.35/Concessions £5.10 Booking essential

Take a tour of The Higgins Bedford and explore collections relating to the history of Bedford, as well as the fine and decorative art collections.
Book online at www.thehigginsbedford.org.uk or call the Box Office on 01234 718044

Wednesday 15 June 2022

Spoken Word: 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 welcome)


Wednesday 15 June 2022

Afternoon Tea: Mercure Hotel Afternoon tea Cruise
John Bunyan Boat, Priory Marina @ 2pm
Tickets: £30

Enjoy a relaxing afternoon cruise on the River Great Ouse having Afternoon Tea at the Mercure Bedford Centre Hotel which has fantastic view overlooking the river, before returning by boat to Priory Marina.

A John Bunyan cruise for those who enjoy a relaxing time on the river coupled with a delicious afternoon tea.

Wednesday 15 June 2022

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

Young Salvatore Di Vita (Salvatore Cascio) discovers the perfect escape from life in his war-torn Sicilian village: the Cinema Paradiso movie house, where projectionist Alfredo (Philippe Noiret) instils in the boy a deep love of films.

When Salvatore grows up, falls in love with a beautiful local girl (Agnese Nano) and takes over as the Paradiso’s projectionist, Alfredo must convince Salvatore to leave his small town and pursue his passion for filmmaking.

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

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.

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 Lichtenstein, Lucian Freud and Chila Burman.

Theatre highlights by Paula Walker

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