What’s on Bedford: 1 – 11 December 2022


Here’s your essential guide to what’s on in Bedford over the next 10 days – including festive fun, music of all genres, film, theatre, dance and culture.


Until Sunday 4 December 2022

Family fun: Bedford Christmas Tree Festival
St Paul’s Church @ 10am – 5pm (10am – 4pm on Sunday)
Entry: £3 / under 16s free

The magic of musical theatre will be celebrated at this year’s Bedford Christmas Tree Festival as, once again, the annual event will feature over 60 decorated trees within St Paul’s church.

Each tree is decorated by a different school, charity, business or community organisation and the fund-raising event regularly attracts over 4,000 visitors. In 2021, Bedford Christmas Tree Festival raised over £13,000 shared by Bedford Hospital Charity & Friends and St Paul’s church.

Check out the fabulous trees – including Lemon & Ginger’s Joseph and his Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat tree (pictured).

Thursday 1 December 2022

Dance: Red Cuthbert Mummers Play
The Kent Arms @ 8pm
The Burnaby Arms @ 8.30pm
The Wellington Arms @ 9pm

2022 sees the return of the Red Cuthbert Mummers Play!

This traditional tale of good versus evil has been updated for post-pandemic times and takes to the ‘stage’ of local pubs tonight.

Thursday 1 December 2022

Live music: The ELO Show
Bedford Corn Exchange @ 7.30pm
Tickets: £22/£20

The ELO Show – The World’s greatest tribute to the music and genius of Jeff Lynne & ELO

Internationally acclaimed musician Brian Cummins brings his brand-new show celebrating the music of Jeff Lynne and E.L.O. with a band of amazing musicians including a female string section this will be a fabulous night of hit after hit from such a vast back catalogue.

The ELO SHOW has a stunning lightshow and 3D video screens very similar to Jeff’s current backdrop.

Expect songs like, ‘Evil Woman’, Don’t bring me down’, ‘Telephone Line’, ‘Sweet Talkin Woman’, ‘Turn to stone’, ‘Wild west Hero’, ‘The Diary of Horace Wimp’ and of course the legendary ‘Mr. Blue Sky’ plus many more with a surprise or two.

Thursday 1 December 2022

Live music: RATS + guests
Bedford Esquires @ 7.30pm
Tickets: £9

Liverpool’s finest new export RATS make a welcome debut at Esquires.

A scruffy blast of direct and anthemic indie that’s as infectious as it is heartfelt.

Friday 2 December 2022

Classical music: Bedford Christmas Tree Festival Concert
St Paul’s Church @
Tickets: £17.50

Bedford Christmas Tree Festival

The annual Festival Concert features the Woburn Piano Trio performing pieces by Mendelssohn, Vivaldi and Beethoven in addition to Christmas favourites.

Tickets are £17.50 and concert-goers will be treated to a truly memorable evening, enjoying the beautiful trees at night in the majestic setting of St Paul’s. Tickets can be purchased here and the price includes a glass of wine.

Money raised will go towards funding much-needed equipment for Bedford Hospital and supporting projects including the Primrose Car Service taking patients to and from Addenbrookes Hospital for radiotherapy, and travelling in comfort.

Friday 2 December 2022

Live music: 80s Live!
Bedford Corn Exchange @ 7.30pm
Tickets: £25

Whether you were born in the 80s, were lucky enough to hear these sounds from your very own Sony Walkman or you’ve had a Stranger Things glimpse of 80s life, once you’ve seen 80s Live, you’ll want to relive it again and again.

Blending pop and soft rock, the show includes hits such as Living on a Prayer, The Final Countdown, Don’t You Want Me Baby, Relax, Never Gonna Give You Up, It’s Raining Men, Rio, Tainted Love and so much more.

Move aside Doc, we don’t need The DeLorean to create our time machine…

Saturday 3 December 2022

Shopping: Small Business Saturday
Bedford town centre

Jane Hutcheson of Hay Lane Flowers with the magnificent four-metre festive wreath

Celebrate Bedford’s small and independent businesses as part of the nationwide Small Business Saturday event.

Bedford town centre will be a hive of activity, including an enormous festival ‘floral flash’ at the Silver Faces – perfect for that Insta selfie – plus Love Bedford will be giving out goody bags featuring £5 Love Bedford vouchers in Harpur Square.

Saturday 3 December 2022

Craft: It’s a wrap – sustainable gift wrapping
IMPAKT Interiors Shop, Edwardian Arcade @ 11.30am

Learn how to wrap your gifts in a more sustainable way that has bags of style! This workshop provides an introduction on how to fold and knot pieces of fabric to beautifully present your presents. Materials provided and we will also cover recycling and alternative wrapping ideas.

Saturday 3 December 2022

IMPAKT Interiors Store, Edwardian Arcade @ 2pm
£10 / £8
Feel proud putting your own handmade decorations on the tree this year! Made from fabric, these are easy for the whole family to make, and will make a big impact, as well as help you avoid buying more plastic baubles.

Saturday 3 December 2022

Live music: UK SUBS
Bedford Esquires @ 7pm
Tickets: £18

The UK SUBS return to Bedford with support from local legends The Tendons and special guests, Special Duties.

Sunday 4 December 2022

Dance: Red Cuthbert Morris
St Paul’s Church @ 1pm and then throughout Bedford town centre
On Sunday 4 December they will be dancing their mix of traditional and contemporary dances at St Paul’s Christmas Tree Festival at 1pm. This will followed by spots in the town centre until mid-afternoon.
All events are free and you can also follow Red Cuthbert on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or at redcuthbert.uk

New dancers and musicians are always welcome.

Sunday 4 December 2022

Dance music: Roll Your Own Records
Herd, St Cuthbert’s Street @ midday
Free entry

The ROYR crew are back at their spiritual home at Herd for a Sunday session. Collectors and selectors of all styles and abilities will be playing their favourite tunes. The perfect soundtrack to a Herd Sunday roast.

Sunday 4 December 2022

Live music: Vintage Stuff play the Sunday Afternoon Session
Bedford Esquires @ 5pm
Free entry

The return of the Bedford boy band who refuse to grow up.

Vintage Stuff return for their last Sunday afternoon session of the year.

Sunday 4 December 2022

Dance: Crown Ballet present Sleeping Beauty
Bedford Corn Exchange @ 2pm
Tickets: £24

Sleeping Beauty is the classic story of love and innocence, mystery and magic set to Tchaikovsky’s sublime score, presented by Crown Ballet from Moldova in their UK debut.

Stunning choreography, sumptuous costumes and wonderful sets form the fantasy world in which the Lilac Fairy struggles against the evil Carabosse.

There are no scores more successful in supporting the full range of ballet than those by Tchaikovsky with highlights including the Famous ‘Rose Adagio’ when Princess Aurora is introduced to four princes.

Sunday 4 December 2022

Live music: Jam Box
Bedford Esquires @ 7.30pm
Free entry

Esquires’ open mic night has changed from its weekly outing to once a month, forever to be known as JAM BOX!

In addition to the usual open mic, they will be showcasing a new band or artist each month. These 20-30 minute sets are aimed at road-testing new talent to give them further support opportunities with touring bands.

If you would like to be considered for these slots, please message Mat Roberts directly via Facebook here.

Jam Box takes place on the first Sunday of each month and is a free entry event. If you would like to play on the night, just turn up and introduce yourself to the host, Mat at the start of the night.

Sunday 4 December 2022

Dance: Crown Ballet present The Nutcracker
Bedford Corn Exchange @ 7.30pm
Tickets: £24

Crown Ballet company from Moldova bring their production of The Nutcracker – the eternal seasonal favourite – to Bedford Corn Exchange. A charming and kindly fairy tale, The Nutcracker is one of the jewels of Tchaikovsky’s repertoire.

Prepare to enter a magical new world – the story of Marie, a sad little girl, whose godfather, Drosselmeier, gives her a Nutcracker doll as a present on Christmas Eve. In her lively imagination it turns into a prince and the magic starts…

This timeless ballet is the perfect family outing in the run-up to Christmas and an ideal introduction to audiences of any age to the magic that is classical ballet.

Wednesday 7 December 2022

Live music: Steve Mason
Bedford Esquires @ 7.30pm
Tickets: £20

After years of trying to book him, Esquires is thrilled to have finally secured a show from Steve Mason.

The former frontman of The Beta Band, King Biscuit Time and Black Affair and now a successful solo artist is undertaking his first tour in over a year.
With four classic albums as a solo artist including ‘Boys Outside’ ‘Monkey Minds in the Devil’s Time’, ’Meet The Humans’ & ’About the Light’ and a vast back catalogue from his former bands to draw from this should be a great show from an artist that usually plays bigger venues than Esquires.

Wednesday 7 December 2022

Film: Cinema @ 3 St Peter’s presents In The Heat of the Night
3 St Peter’s Street @ 7pm
Tickets: £12/£10.50/£9/£6

African-American Philadelphia police detective Virgil Tibbs (Sidney Poitier) is arrested on suspicion of murder by Bill Gillespie (Rod Steiger), the racist police chief of tiny Sparta, Mississippi. After Tibbs proves not only his own innocence but that of another man, he joins forces with Gillespie to track down the real killer.

Their investigation takes them through every social level of the town, with Tibbs making enemies as well as unlikely friends as he hunts for the truth.

Friday 9 December 2022

Theatre: The Greatest Magician
The Quarry Theatre @ 7.30pm
Tickets: from £18

A dazzling new magic show – presented by the magician most famous for jamming the BBC switchboards after he correctly predicted the lottery. This astonishing, enigmatic, five star rated magic show will leave you aching from
laughter and dizzy in disbelief.

Directed by the late Paul Daniels, this mind-blowing magic show comes to the stage for the first time – you’ll be transported to a jaw-dropping world of light-hearted hilarity, wonderment, and mystery.

Friday 9 December 2022

Live music: Spear of Destiny
Bedford Esquires @ 7.30pm
Tickets: £20

Kirk Brandon returns to Bedford with Spear of Destiny, fresh from a UK tour which saw a sell-out show at the 100 Club and a packed-out arena at Rebellion in Blackpool.

Spear Of Destiny first appeared on the scene back in 1983 fronted by Kirk Brandon after the break up of his previous band, Theatre Of Hate. Kirk and co are back with a new album ‘Ghost Population’ to coincide with the dates.

Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 December 2022

Shopping: Bedford Makers’ Christmas Fair
Harpur Suite and Harpur Square
Free entry

On Saturday 10 & Sunday 11 December, the council and BedfordBID will host the Christmas Town Market featuring local artists and makers with festive cheer provided by local bands and choirs.

The annual Christmas Maker’s Market will take place in the Harpur Suite and Harpur Square, featuring unique products made by some of Bedford’s best artists, designers and makers.

An exciting addition to this year’s run-up to Christmas will be free train rides between Silver Street Square and Midland Road on the Love Bedford Express. Gumble’s Amusements will once again be returning to offer free rides for children and Santa’s Grotto will be taking place in the Harpur Centre.

Saturday 10 December 2022

Theatre: Yippee Ki Yay
The Quarry Theatre @ 2.30pm
Tickets: from £13

Acclaimed retelling of the classic film Die Hard from Richard Marsh – Fringe First-winner, London poetry slam champion, BBC Audio Drama Best Scripted Comedy Drama award-winner and New York cop (one of these is untrue). This joyfully funny show heads out on tour following rave reviews for its premiere at the Edinburgh Fringe, which also won it a London transfer.

When gunmen seize an LA skyscraper, off-duty policeman John McClane is the hostages’ only hope. This uplifting action romp (and unauthorised parody) pays affectionate tribute to the iconic 80s festive fan favourite. Essential viewing for Hans Gruber superfans and newcomers alike.

Saturday 10 December 2022

Live music: East 17 – Stay Another Day Tour
Bedford Corn Exchange @

The now legendary EAST 17 embark on their first ever National theatre Tour which promises to be the Christmas must-see show in 2022.

Achievements include 18 top 20 singles and 4 top 10 album with worldwide record sales in excess of 18 Million Units. They are one of the most influential acts of their generation mixing up hip hop, RnB and pop into their own style with special guests S CLUB ALL STARS featuring Bradley and Tina from S CLUB and Stacey from S CLUB JUNIORS plus Blazin’ Squad.

Saturday 10 December 2022

Theatre: A Warning to the Curious
The Quarry Theatre @ 7.30pm
Tickets: from £12

R James first wrote his ghost stories to perform to friends in Kings College Cambridge in the year leading up to World War One. Now, over a century after their first publication, Nunkie Theatre Company have brought two of the eeriest and most entertaining back to life in this gripping, candlelit one-man show.

Lost Hearts was among the first stories the author wrote and it offers one of his most memorable villains, the predatory scholar Mr Abney. It is paired here with perhaps James’s most poignant and personal work: A Warning to the Curious, in which a young archaeologist is haunted and hunted by the guardian of an ancient treasure.

The English seaside has never looked so menacing.

Performer Robert Lloyd Parry has been touring several shows based on the works of M R James round the country for a decade and he appeared as the author in Mark Gatiss’s acclaimed BBC Documentary: “M R James: Ghost Writer.”

Saturday 10 December

Live music: Henry and the Bleeders + Surfin WomBatz + GraveYard Rats + DJ Razor Smith
Bedford Esquires @ 7pm
Tickets: £8

Henry and the Bleeders return to Esquires to play their first show after three long years.

Fantastic support comes from their label mates and KlubFoot legends Surfin Wombatz, Graveyard Rats and DJ Razor Smith.

Saturday 10 December 2022

Live music: The Devout Depeche Mode tribute
Bedford Esquires @ 8pm
Tickets: £15

The Devout return to Bedford Esquires, ready to please the audience with classic Depeche Mode tracks,
programmed to delight all those who come along.

They are fans entertaining fans with the very best in track reproduction, stagecraft and visual effects. Start off the festive period right by celebrating these icons of electronic music.

Festive church services

Christmas at St Paul’s church, Bedford (image: Facebook)

You can find details about festive services at Bedford town centre churches here.

Until April 2023

Art and culture: Changing Times: A century of modern British art
The Higgins Bedford
Free entry

Some of the most well-loved British artists of the 20th and 21st centuries feature in a new exhibition at the Higgins Bedford on Castle Lane this autumn.

From Eric Ravilious, Edward Bawden and Paul Nash to Elisabeth Frink, David Hockney and Lucian Freud, the exhibition brings together some of the biggest names in British art, and explores its history since the 20th century.

Changing Times: A Century of Modern British Art is the first large-scale exhibition since the post-pandemic reopening of The Higgins Bedford.

Read more: David Hockney and Lucian Freud shine in new Higgins autumn exhibition

Theatre highlights by Paula Walker