What’s on Bedford: 11 – 21 January 2024


Your weekly what’s on guide for Bedford and the surrounding area from The Bedford Clanger.

Never miss a thing in Bedford ever again. From theatre to film, live music to art exhibitions, The Bedford Clanger what’s on guide lands every Thursday and is the only guide you need to know what’s on and what’s happening across the Borough for the next 10 days.

The Bedford Clanger’s What’s On Guide is kindly sponsored by The Cellar Bar.

Friday 12 January – 14 February 2024

Exhibition: Puppets and Other People: An Exhibition of artwork by Andrew Dutton and Alison Head
The Main Foyer Gallery at Bedford School @ 7.30pm (opening night)
From Saturday 13 January – 14 February @ Monday to Friday 9.30am – 4pm / Saturday 9am – 12.15pm / Closed Sundays (and Saturday 27 January)
Free entry

Andrew and Alison have been friends and work colleagues for years. During lockdown Andrew’s paintings took a different direction. He and Alison started discussing them as the paintings developed and it became clear that they had more in common artistically than they thought: their paintings each reflect human encounters and stories in different ways. 

Alison’s work is often about connecting or bringing contrasts together, usually people. The catalyst is often something frightening or funny. 

In Andrew’s paintings, the dramas are enacted by puppet figures apparently coming to life, gathering the random detritus of the studio in a bid for life and culture although, essentially, they are both empty and lost.

If you are unable to join us on the opening evening, the exhibition continues in the Main Foyer Gallery until Wednesday 14 February.

Friday 12 January 2024

Live Music: Danny Barton
The Cellar Bar @ 8.30pm / doors open at 6pm until late / Happy Hour 6pm – 9pm
Free Entry

The wonderful Danny Barton returns to The Cellar Bar, playing a mix of acoustic rock and pop crowd pleasers and new material.

Friday 12 January 2024

Live music: NOASIS ‘The Definitive Oasis Tribute Band’ + Guests
Bedford Esquires @ 7.30pm
Tickets: £14

Noasis: grab a ticket while you can

Noasis return to Bedford Esquires for one giant party and a celebration of one of the greatest bands this country has ever produced.

Noasis is the definitive tribute band to Manchester’s five-piece super group Oasis. Since their formation in 2006 and with over 900 performances to date Noasis has justly earned its reputation as the best tribute on the circuit packing out venues up and down the UK.
With an obsessive attention to detail the band recreates the real Oasis experience with amazing energy playing all the classic songs as if they were their own. This is more than a tribute band this is Oasis from a parallel universe.

There are other tributes, there are other venues but when it comes to the sound of Oasis no one does it better than Noasis at Bedford Esquires.

NB: The Saturday show has sold out, so get your tickets while you can.

Saturday 13 January 2024

Creative: Urban Sketch Crawl – the changing faces and facades of Bedford High Street
The Silver Faces, Silver Square/Bedford High Street @ 10.30am – 1pm
Free to attend

Bedford Urban Sketchers in action

This weekend, Bedford’s Urban Sketchers are meeting at Bedford High Street to sketch ‘inside looking out’ from the cafes, retails stores and services in and around Bedford High street. The high street has transformed over the last few years in more ways than one. Much of the redevelopment is thanks to the HSHAZ grant which allowed for the refurbishment of lots of the old facades and shop fronts along the High Street and Silver Street. A huge part of the transformation has been away from national chains and more towards independents due to the change in consumer habits.

One thing is for sure though – we here in Bedford do love a cafe, and there are a plethora of them to choose from to sketch from. From Creams or Sundae’s ice cream parlours, to the new Maison Le Vôtre French bakery and cafe, to the Cat Cafe/Poppins/Coffee with Art/Coffee Republic…haven’t even gone south of Mill street with those options! Tonnes more at the bottom of the high street too.

There’s even the pubs if you so feel inclined! Or, you can be brave and ask the retailers if they wouldn’t mind if you perched in their window front for an hour or so to sketch.

This is a volunteer-led group and is not taught. It’s free to join in on any of the sessions and the event is open to all ages, backgrounds and abilities. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Please bring your own materials.

Saturday 13 January 2024

Walking: North Bedfordshire Ramblers’ weekly walk
Harrold Country Park, MK32 7DS @ 1.30pm

North Bedfordshire Ramblers following a footpath alongside a summer meadow towards a rural church
Joining North Bedfordshire Ramblers is a great way to explore the county and beyond (image: North Bedfordshire Ramblers)

A six-mile circular walk to Odell then to the outskirts of Pavenham, and back to Harrold via Chellington Centre.

Please bring a drink, snack or lunch as there’s always a break during the walk. For more information contact Margaret Sawyer 07780 933729 or check out North Beds Ramblers on social media or on their excellent website.

Saturday 13 January 2023

Theatre: Spring Programme Launch
The Quarry Theatre @ 2pm
Tickets: Free (but book online)

Quarry Theatre
The Quarry Theatre at St. Luke’s

Join the Quarry Theatre team to help launch their 2024 Spring programme. During your visit you can enjoy discounts at the bar, a flash sale on selected events, a presentation about how the theatre came to be and explore areas of the theatre that most people don’t get to see!

The theatre presentation will start at 2.30pm and there is also the chance to meet the artist, Simon Wriggle, who is exhibiting in the gallery space during January. He will be in the building in the afternoon to answer any questions you might have about his beautiful paintings.  Limited spaces so book your free ticket now.

Saturday 13 January 2024

Live music: Backseat Juliet + Moonpark + Female Tsunami + Duzzy Avocado
Bedford Esquires @ 7pm
Tickets: £10

In Room 2 this Saturday, an absolute stalwart of Esquires, Stan, is having an open party, featuring four top quality bands, from Metal to Country.

Tickets are just a tenner on the door.

Saturday 13 January 2024

Live Music:  Double Header – Tess & the Durbervilles & Cameo
The Cellar Bar @ 8.30pm
Free Entry.  Bar opens at 6.00pm, Happy Hour until 9.00pm.  3.00am close.

We are super excited to welcome Tess & The Durbervilles to The Cellar Bar, this four piece band hail from Bedfordshire and are guaranteed to get you dancing throughout the night. With hits from 6 decades, The Beatles to Jessie J, Dusty Springfield to Kings of Leon, Aretha to the Scissor Sisters and Madonna.  You’re guaranteed to be left wanting more, more more!!

Cellar Bar favourite Cameo is back for another solo performance, expect a beautiful voice and some cracking party tunes!  Singing classic rock/pop songs from Dolly Parton to Fleetwood Mac to The Red Hot Chili Peppers and so much in between, be ready for a cracking party night.

Monday 15 January 2024

Board games: Games Night
The Cellar Bar @ 7pm
Free entry

Do you enjoy playing Backgammon, Rummikub, maybe cards or indeed any board game? Not played before? This is the perfect place to start, with people on hand to show you how to play. Do you have a favourite game? Bring it with you and share it with others!

Tuesday 16 January 2024

Live music: Tuesday lunchtime concert
St Paul’s church, St Paul’s Square @ 1pm
Free entry with retiring collection (suggested donation £5)

Christopher Hughes (organ). Free with a retiring collection.

Wednesday 17 January 2024

Live music: Gareth Gates – The Best of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons
Bedford Corn Exchange @ 7.30pm
Tickets: £35

Singer and Celebrity SAS victor, Gareth Gates, joins The Best of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons – guaranteed to leave you saying ‘Oh, What A Night!

This high-pitched celebration pays tribute to the life and career of those four boys from Jersey, who started singing under a street lamp but soon went on to become one of the most recognised groups in history.

Thursday 18 January 2024

Community: Death Café
The Place Theatre @ 7pm
Tickets: Free (reserve a place via website)

The Death Café at The Place Theatre occurs every third Thursday of the month. A Death Café is an informal gathering of people (often strangers) to talk about death over a cup of tea and a piece of cake. The topic of discussion is generated by the group and there is no agenda, objective or prescribed theme. A Death Café is an open, accessible and confidential space for those interested in talking about anything in relation to death.

Friday 19 January 2024

Community: Quiz Night
The Place Theatre @ 7pm
Tickets: £3

Join The Place for their first Quiz Night of 2024 as part of their Raise the Roof fundraiser for essential repairs to the roof and other areas of the building. It will, hopefully, be the first of a series of quiz nights and community members are invited to get a team together for what will be a fun evening!

Entry is £3 per person with teams of up to 6 people. Don’t worry if you can’t get a team together as teams can be made up on the night.

Friday 19 January 2024

Live Music: Mat Roberts
The Cellar Bar @ 8.30pm / doors open at 6pm until / Happy Hour 6pm – 9pm
Free Entry 

Mat Roberts has been a huge supporter of The Cellar Bar from the start, hosting the venue’s open mic night and junior open mic, so they are delighted to welcome him back for a night of musical entertainment. 

Expect a diverse range of music, from pop to rock and anything in between.  He may even take requests!

Friday 19 January 2024

Comedy: Mark Simmons – Quip off the Mark
The Quarry Theatre @ 7.30pm
Tickets: £17

This isn’t your average one-liner show as there is the running theme throughout. This year Mark’s parents have sold the house he grew up in and he has had to collect his box of stuff from the loft. What’s in the box can be discovered in this top-level one-liner show structured in a way you’ve never seen before. 

Mark recently joined Dara O’Brian and Hugh Dennis on BBC2’s Mock The Week as a semi-regular on the show and now brings you his hotly-anticipated show Quip Off The Mark. He’s also been appearing on BT Sport’s DIY pundit and The Rugby’s On.

Friday 19 January 2024

Live music: Ginger plays The Wildhearts – an acoustic evening celebrating the music of The Wildhearts
Bedford Esquires @ 7.30pm
Tickets: £15

The legendary Ginger Wildheart will be making a rare appearance at Esquires on 19 January, exclusively revisiting the back catalogue of The Wildhearts.

Saturday 20 & Sunday 21 January 2024

National Theatre Live: Skylight
The Quarry Theatre @ 7pm on Saturday & 2pm on Sunday
Tickets: £15

On a bitterly cold London evening, schoolteacher Kyra receives an unexpected visit from her former lover. As the evening progresses, the two attempt to rekindle their once passionate relationship only to find themselves locked in a dangerous battle of opposing ideologies and mutual desires.

Starring Carey Mulligan and Bill Nighy and captured live from Wyndham’s Theatre, in London’s West End in 2014.

Saturday 20 January 2024

Theatre: MO@NA presents: From Scratch
The Ent Shed, The Gordon Arms, Castle Road @ 7.30pm
Tickets: £7

Bedford-based theatre company Modern Originals & New Artists (MO&NA, pronounced ‘mona’) is launching its inaugural event, ‘From Scratch’, at the Ent Shed on Castle Road this month.

The event promises to be a celebration of local theatre talent and creativity, featuring new plays and scenes, all all exclusively written, performed, and directed by a pool of over 30 gifted local artists.

Read: “From Scratch” event celebrates local theatre talent and creativity

Saturday 20 January 2024

Classical music: The Silvana Duo
St Andrew’s Church, Kimbolton Road, Bedford, MK40 2PF @ 7.30pm
Tickets: £12 (Accompanied under 18s free)

The Silvana Duo was formed in 2013 whilst Katie Sazanova (Flute) and Hannah Woollacott (Classical Guitar) were studying at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. They have performed both as solo artists and chamber musicians in many highly respected venues, including Dulverton Classical, Benslow Music Trust, The Polish Hearth Member’s Club, Dillington Guitar Festival and Winchester Guitar Festiv

Their programme will include a variety of works from composers including Elgar and Fauré as well as pieces from folk and Celtic traditions – a truly varied programme.

Concerts at St Andrew’s is a not-for-profit enterprise dedicated to bringing international artists, local talent and the rising stars of the future to perform for local audiences at an affordable price for all to enjoy.

Saturday 20 January 2024

Live music: Bootleg Blondie
Bedford Esquires @ 7.30pm
Tickets: £14

CBGB’s comes to Bedford Esquires with the return of ‘Bootleg Blondie’ on the 20 January.

Expect to hear some of the greatest hits across a vast back catalogue inc: Heart of Glass, Dreaming, Union City Blue, The Tide Is High, Rapture, Atomic, Hanging on the Telephone, (I’m Always Touched by Your) Presence Dear, In the Flesh, Rip Her to Shreds, One Way or Another, Picture This, Sunday Girl, Maria, In the Flesh, Denise, Call Me and many more.

Packing out venues up and down the UK they are the only tribute to have actually featured real members of Blondie with both Clem Burke sitting in on the drum stool and Gary Valentine taking over bass duties occasionally. 

The last time the band were in town the show sold out a full 2 months in advance so an early ticket purchase is advised.

Saturday 20 January 2024

Live Music: Double Header – Tiptoe Apollo + Joe Cullen
The Cellar Bar @ 8.30pm / bar opens at 6pm / Happy Hour until 9pm / 3am close
Free entry

Always keen to support new young acts, The Cellar Bar is delighted to welcome back Tiptoe Apollo.  They will be playing classic covers from Arctic Monkeys, Nirvana, The Strokes, The Cure, Foo fighters and much much more. They played at The Dublin Castle as a support act in September 2022 and were asked to go back and headline in November. They are officially the youngest band to ever perform or headlined there.  Not to be missed!

Also on the bill is Joe Cullen, playing everything from covers by Ed Sheeran, The 1975, Oasis, Harry Styles, The Killers, Coldplay to Irish folk music.

Saturday 20 January 2024

Live music: John Otway
Bedford Esquires @

John Otway is an English singer-songwriter who has built a sizeable cult audience through extensive touring, a surreal sense of humour and a self-deprecating underdog persona.

From the age of nine, John Otway knew he wanted to be a pop star. But even at that young age, having listened to his sister’s Beatles and Stones records, he knew he would never be able to do what they do. However, when his sister got the latest Bob Dylan album, he knew there was a place for him and he set about learning how to play guitar.

A visit to a fortune teller would have a profound effect on the young Otway. After gazing into her crystal ball, she confirmed that Otway would indeed be a star and would have success with a blonde-haired musician.

Otway took this prediction very seriously and teamed up with Wild Willy Barrett (the only musician he knew who fitted the fortune teller’s description). In 1972, the pair released their first single. Gypsy/Misty Mountain was a dedication to the fortune teller who had assured Otway that fame and stardom was just around the corner. The single would be the first of a string of flops, but it did capture the attention of The Who’s Pete Townshend who offered to produce a number of tracks for the duo.

Sunday 21 January 2024

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

Acoustopaea play the Rock & Blues Sunday Afternoon Session at Esquires. Free entry.

Every Thursday

Cocktails, Quiz Night & Karaoke
The Cellar Bar from 5.00pm

Pit your wits against The Cellar Bar’s resident quizmaster to see if you can win the jackpot every Thursday from 8pm. £2 per person entry and a maximum of six per team. The winning team will win the jackpot PLUS a round of shots. Followed by Karaoke til close

Every Saturday

Food & drink: Cocktail mixology masterclass
The Cellar Bar @ 3pm / doors open at 12 noon
£30 per person

The Cellar Bar’s resident mixologist, Marley, will explain how to create some outstanding cocktails for your tasting enjoyment. Then, it’s your turn to put what you’ve learned into practice by making (and drinking) three cocktails!

Every Sunday

Live Music: Open Mic Night
The Cellar Bar @ 7.30pm
Free Entry

Guitar, open mic night

Every Sunday, join Mat Roberts for the Cellar Bar’s weekly Open Mic night. An opportunity for new and experienced performers to get up on stage and perform.

So whether you think you are the next Tom Grennan or just want a good night of entertainment, head the to Cellar Bar from 7.30pm.

Until 2024

Exhibition: We Are Ten
The Higgins Bedford, Castle Lane
Free entry

The Higgins begins its 10th birthday celebrations with an exhibition featuring old favourites and rarely seen works from the collection, all chosen by organisations, groups and individuals who have worked with the museum and gallery over the last decade.

The exhibition runs for the next year, with special events planned next month to mark the exact date the museum reopened in 2013. Watch this space for more information.

Until 2024

Exhibition: Edward Bawden – Planes, Trains and Automobiles
The Higgins Bedford @ Tues – Sat: 11am – 5pm/Sun: 2pm – 5pm/Closed Mondays
Free entry

The Titfield Thunderbolt 1952 by Edward Bawden. Image: The Edward Bawden Estate
The Titfield Thunderbolt 1952 by Edward Bawden. Image: The Edward Bawden Estate

Let Edward Bawden transport you in this exhibition celebrating all things travel.

Drawn exclusively from the Higgins Bedford’s Edward Bawden archive, see large linocuts of London’s iconic stations and an array of wonderful vehicles from hot air balloons to jumbo jets and tall ships to cruise liners.

Read: New Edward Bawden ‘trains, planes and automobiles’ exhibition to open this weekend

Theatre highlights by Paula Walker