What’s on Bedford: 12 – 22 October 2023


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.

With thanks to the Cellar Bar, Bedford for sponsoring our What’s On Guide.

Until October 2023

Heritage: Culture Roots Sound System Museum
The Higgins Bedford
Free entry

The Cultural Roots Museum will be open for business at the Higgins Bedford until next Autumn. Image: Bedford Borough Council

The Cultural Roots Sound System Museum – a remarkable showcase of reggae music history, sound system culture, the contribution of the town’s Caribbean community and the evolution of technology – has opened at the Higgins Bedford.

The exhibition launched on Saturday 7 October after a ‘pop up’ version appeared at Pride of Place Bedford on Midland Road in July.

Over the years, as sound Systems came and went, Cultural Roots stood the test of time. Ever-evolving, today Cultural Roots is the first Sound system ever to have lights emanating from its speakers on such a scale and its legacy culminated in a groundbreaking achievement: being the first reggae sound system ever to grace the stage at the O2 Arena in London.

Now, residents of Bedford Borough and visitors from further afield, have the opportunity to witness this journey first-hand at The Higgins Bedford.

Read: The Cultural Roots Sound System Museum begins one-year residency at the Higgins Bedford

Thursday 12 October 2023

Comedy: Pete Firmin: TrikTok
The Quarry Theatre @ 7.30pm
Tickets: from £18

With over 175 million online views and countless TV appearances under his belt, Pete is firmly established as the UK’s top comedy magician. 

You may have seen him on ITV1’s Tonight at the London Palladium and The Next Great Magician, BBC1’s The Magicians, The John Bishop Show and The Sarah Millican Television Programme, or caught one of his massively popular viral videos on social media.

Pete is an award-winning performer who is not to be missed live. Expect an evening of jaw-dropping magic and laugh-out-loud comedy. TrikTok takes Pete’s magic from the small screen to the stage and gives audiences a chance to see his critically acclaimed magical skills in the flesh.

Thursday 12 October 2023

Comedy: Castle Comedy
The Gordon Arms @ 7.30pm
Tickets: £12

Castle Comedy is back at the Gordon Arms and as ever, there is a stellar line-up featuring a classic mixed bill of TV names and rising stars.

Josh Pugh – English Comedian of the Year winner and star of Mock The Week, Comedy Central Live, Rosie Jones’s Disability Comedy Extravaganza and Dave’s Hypothetical.

Josh has amassed over five million views on his Twitter videos and regularly headlines the biggest clubs in the country. He has just
recorded Live at the Apollo and is heading on a national tour next year.
Alex Kealey – mixes smart political material with self-deprecation and incisive observations. He has been featured in The Times’ Top Jokes of the Edinburgh Fringe. 
Katie Price – a fast-rising comedian who reached the finals of the LGBTQ Comedian of the Year award.

Thursday 12 October 2023

Live music: Ferocious Dog
Bedford Esquires @ 7.30pm
Tickets: £20

After some legendary gigs in the past at the venueFerocious Dog makes a welcome return to headline Esquires as part of their AW2023 Tour.

Ferocious Dog are a six-piece band performing a vibrant vein of Celtic-folk-infused punk rock, comfortably slotting in between Billy Bragg and The Levellers.

However, like The Levellers and New Model Army (also listed as an influence), Ferocious Dog have a broad spectrum of influences, tied together by the band’s left-leaning convictions and a shared desire to communicate through music.

Friday 13 October 2023

Live music: Tess & The Dubervilles
The Cellar Bar @ 8.30pm/bar opens at 6.00pm for ‘Happy 2 1/2 Hours’
Free entry

Tess & The Durbervilles make their debut at The Cellar Bar this weekend. This four-piece band hails from Bedfordshire and they’re guaranteed to get you dancing throughout the night.

With hits from six decades the band covers 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!!

Friday 13 October 2023

Live music: HENGE + Dogshow
Bedford Esquires @ 7.30pm
Tickets: £15

Attention Humans! This is HENGE.

We are not from this world.

We bring you music from distant planets.

We offer this gift for the edification of humankind… so that eventually your species may put an end to war and set up new homes in space.

Extra-terrestrial joymongers – HENGE – have been delighting audiences in the UK and Europe since they landed on Planet Earth seven years ago. Their scintillating live performances earned them ‘Best Live Act’ at the Independent Festival Awards and they have since cemented their reputation with two acclaimed albums, numerous tours and regular main-stage festival appearances.

Their music escapes definition but occupies a space between rave and prog-rock that nobody knew existed. It is energetic, subversive and invigoratingly playful, jovially going ‘where no one has gone before’. Ultimately, HENGE are spreading a message of hope which leaves audiences feeling amused and uplifted in equal measures.

Saturday 14 October 2023

Live music: William the Conquerer + guests
Bedford Esquires @ 7.30pm
Tickets: £13.50

William The Conqueror’s fourth album finds the indie-rock trio firing on all cylinders as frontman Ruarri Joseph confronts the thin line between creativity and madness, inspired by compassion for the real-life angels of the world.

Produced by the band in a playground of vintage gear and mixed by Barny Barnicott (Arctic Monkeys, Sam Fender, Kasabian), the resulting album’s ten tracks marry earworm tunes with insistent, imperious, soaring rock shapes, punctuated by chorus hooks that are simultaneously nuanced and anthemic.

Joseph’s compelling semi-spoken vocals and swamp-blues-Seattle-scuzz guitars are propelled by the rhythm section of Naomi Holmes (bass) and Harry Harding (drums) as Excuse Me While I Vanish delivers an effortlessly winning blend of melody and ensemble dynamics, the most accomplished and undeniable William The Conqueror album to date.

William The Conqueror’s live performances have drawn wildly enthusiastic comparisons to Kings of Leon, Nirvana, Buffalo Tom and The Marshall Tucker Band.

Saturday 14 October 2023

Walking: North Bedfordshire Ramblers’ weekly walks
Priory Park MK41 9DJ @ 10am
Swineshead MK44 2AA @ 1.30pm

Ramblers of all abilities are sure to find a walk to suit at the Bedfordshire Festival of Autumn Walks. Image: North BedfordshireRamblers
Ramblers of all abilities are sure to find a walk to suit at the Bedfordshire Festival of Autumn Walks. Image: North BedfordshireRamblers

There are two North Beds Ramblers walks taking place this week.

The morning walk is a circular 10-miler beginning at Priory Country Park and heading out along the Great River Ouse to Willington. At Cople, there will be a lunch stop at Water End (6 mile mark) followed by a walk to the lovely village of Cardington, historic houses and church. You can see the memorial to those who perished on the R101 airship.

The afternoon walk begins in Swinshead and is 5.5 miles to Upper Dean and back.

Saturday 14 October 2023

Live music: Saturday organ recital
St Paul’s church, St Paul’s Square @ noon
Free entry with retiring collection (suggested donation £5)

Featuring an organ recital by Stephen King, organist from Brentwood Cathedral.

Saturday 14 October 2023

Workshop/Talk: Ultimate Dinosaurs
The Quarry Theatre @ 2.30pm
Tickets: from £15 Use the promo Code DINO at the checkout to get a 20% discount on all tickets for this show

Dinosaurs is the hit sold-out stage show starring dinosaur aficionado Dr Ben Garrod. Get ready to go on an exciting pre-historic adventure as Ben talks you through the deadliest predators that ever roamed the planet.  Yes, dinosaurs such as Tyrannosaurus rex, Allosaurus and Spinosaurus would have walked or swam right where you are now!

Pitting the knowledge of unwitting parents against their all-knowing kids, Dr Ben presents an interactive, educational and highly entertaining show using film footage from the BBC’s ‘Planet Dinosaur’.  So come and test your knowledge against Dr Ben in this hit ,live, interactive show which is bigger and better than ever.

Age guidance: It’s aimed primarily at key stage 1 and 2 (ages 5-12) but suitable for all ages.

Saturday 14 October 2023

Dancing: The Cotton Club presents Grandma’s Wooden Leg
Cotton End Village Hall, MK45 3AN @ 7.30pm til 11.30pm
Tickets: £15

Join the Swingsters for a swinging Sixties party night featuring the star-studded line-up of Grandma’s Wooden Leg featuring the talents of Karl Green (Herman’s Hermits – “I’m Into Something Good”, “There’s A Kind Of Hush”), Alan Warner (The Foundations – “Build Me Up Buttercup”, ” Baby Now That I’ve Found You”), Roger “Snifs” Nicholas (Gidea Park/The Foundations – “Beach Boy Gold”, “Seasons Of Gold”). Mark Forton (Edison Lighthouse – “Love Grows Where My Rosemary Goes”, “It’s Up To You Petula”) and Terry Jackson (Backbeat).

Saturday 14 October 2023

Live music: Extra Mile + The Stalkers
The Cellar Bar @ 8.30pm.  Bar opens at 6pm for ‘Happy 2 1/2 Hours’
Free entry

After a very long absence, Chris Hepworth and his band Extra Mile return to The Cellar Bar. When they played back in February, they rocked the place, they will be playing a set of Rock and Indie covers, alongside some surprising classics, promising an evening of sing-along classics and foot-to-the-floor rock tunes.

Extra Mile will be supported by Stalkers, making their Cellar Bar debut. This five-piece rock band has brought youthful energy and new rock to the scene since they formed in July.

Sunday 15 October 2023

Walking: “Bedford’s Movers & Shakers – a Bromham Road walk” guided walk
Bedford Town Centre @ 11am at the gold postbox in St Paul’s Square
Tickets: £3/£1.50

Join the Association of Bedford Tour Guides for one of their fascinating weekly walks. Each walk is of 90 minutes to two hours duration and covers a distance of one or two miles. Most walks are suitable for people who are less mobile.

Children of all ages are most welcome on all of our walks but those aged 12 and under must be accompanied by an adult. Each walk costs £3.00 per adult or £1.50 for children over 8. All walks must be pre-booked.

Sunday 15 October 2023

Live music: Thr3e play the Sunday Afternoon Session
Bedford Esquires @ 5pm
Free entry

Firmly rooted in 60’s/70’s British Blues, but with influences ranging from old blues to the more recent, Thr3e make a welcome return to the Esquires Sunday Session.

Sunday 15 October 2023

Live music: Junior Open Mic
The Cellar Bar @ 5pm/bar opens at 4.30pm
Free entry

The Cellar Bar has had some great young musicians perform in its unique underground entertainment venue, so they figured why not offer a dedicated junior open mic session to under 18s.

Whether you sing, play guitar, drums, or any other musical instrument, or are a band already, you are welcome! It’s a chance for you to perform on a stage in front of an audience with a full PA, drum kit, amps and lighting.

Hosted by none other than Mat Roberts, a legend of the Bedford music scene, he will be on hand to offer support and advice, as well as doing a few jam sessions of his own.

Under 18’s are welcome in the bar from 5pm until 9pm on Sundays.

Sunday 15 October 2023

Circus: Cirque – the greatest show
Bedford Corn Exchange @ 5pm
Tickets: £29

Escape the ordinary and enter the world of the extraordinary!

Escape with us for a night like no other, where we take you into a world where musical theatre meets jaw-dropping circus spectacular.

Showstoppers from everyone’s favourite West End and Broadway hits combine with breathtaking, amazing aerialists, incredible contortionists, and thrilling trapeze artistes.

This award-winning, smash-hit circus musical is fun for all the family featuring songs from The Greatest Showman to Moulin Rouge, Hairspray to Rocketman the Musical.

Roll up, roll up and book your seats now for an unforgettable night out truly like no other.

Tuesday 17 October 2023

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

James Carrabino and Sofia Medina (piano duet). Free with a retiring collection

Tuesday 17 October 2023

Theatre: The Ragged Trousered Philanthropist
The Place Theatre @ 7.30pm
Tickets: from £12

Neil Gore presents a one-person version of the classic novel by Robert Tressell featuring projection, political conjuring tricks, live music and song.

Meet the famous characters and enjoy the scenes, speeches and songs, featuring the Great Money Trick as its centrepiece. 

This enduring and absorbing classic story of a year in the life of a group of Edwardian painters and decorators is brought to life by Neil Gore using his extensive knowledge of the book and the play, having performed it in many versions over forty years. 

Wednesday 18 and Thursday 19 October 2023

Theatre Workshop: Playable Performance for Teachers and Youth Theatre Leaders
The Place Theatre @ 7pm on Wednesday and 1.30pm on Thursday
Tickets: £20

Join award-winning interactive theatre makers Kill The Cat for a workshop on how to create interactive theatre that gives audiences genuine choice and agency. 

Kill The Cat uses interactivity as a tool to make politically and socially engaged interactive experiences that inspire debate, discussion & change.  They also use it because they want their audiences to be able to enjoy an unashamedly fun night out
at the same time. This workshop will let you explore new ways of engaging your audiences.

Wednesday 18 October 2023

Drag bingo and karaoke: Fanny Burns (Drag Queen)
The Cellar Bar @ 8.00pm.  Bar opens at 7.00pm.
Free entry

She’s back and ready to entertain – this time with a new game, Fanny’s Flaps!

Guaranteed to be a very funny evening, Fanny Burns brings her own hilarious spin on karaoke and bingo. The Cellar Bar is a safe, inclusive, environment for all its customers. This show contains adult humour and swearing and is strictly an over 18’s event.

Wednesday 18 October 2023

Theatre: Splinter
The Place Theatre @ 7.30pm
Tickets: from £12

Maggie is an impulsive free spirit and would like to stay that way, so when she meets Jac, she struggles to fulfil Jac’s need for a stable relationship. But after she loses her job, Maggie and Jac must face the fact that an early onset Dementia diagnosis is going to change the shape of both of their lives forever. 

But Maggie has never needed anybody before and the relationship starts to fracture as both try to hold on. Maggie and Jac are an ordinary couple. Maggie and Jac were an ordinary couple. But Maggie is forgetting things and she can’t help wondering if that is ordinary after all. 

Splinter is about love and memory and what happens when you start to lose both. 

Thursday 19 October 2023

Comedy: Pink and Sassy Comedy
The White Horse, Newnham Ave, MK41 9PX @ 8pm/doors open 7pm
Tickets: £8 (call The White Horse at 01234 409 306 to book)

Introducing Pink and Sassy Comedy Night featuring four up-and-coming comedians, each making a name for themselves on the UK comedy circuit.

A winning lineup hosted by Texan-born/Bedford-residing stand-up comedian, Kimberly Policella. Arrive early for our signature cocktail, The Pink & Sassy! Limited tickets remain.

Thursday 19 October 2023

Theatre: Done to Death by Jove
The Quarry Theatre @ 7.30pm
Tickets: from £13.50

A cast of six brings a group of suspects and sleuths together to discover whodunnit, and how…

Except… four of the actors are stuck by the side of the motorway in the van, and only those two knights of the Theatre – Sir Gavin and Sir Nicholas – have managed to get to the venue… but ‘the show must go on’…

Holmes and Watson, Poirot and Miss Marple join forces in a whirlwind of fast costume changes and misdirected acting hiccups.

Even the set’s gone missing!

Friday 20 October 2023

Live music: Absolute Bowie
Bedford Esquires @ 7.30pm
Tickets: £16

Now in their 17th year, Absolute Bowie makes a welcome return to Bedford for their fourth visit, and they might just blow your mind…

With an electrifying performance from our main Starman, and theatrical mid-set costume ch-ch-ch-anges, Absolute Bowie will take you on a musical journey through the greatest hits of David Bowie with their huge stage show.

“A lovingly crafted Bowie show” says NME, and “an unmissable tribute act” hails the Times, the band will leave you wanting more from the most genuine David Bowie tribute out there. Is it any wonder when you are too cool to fool.

Featuring the incredible vocals of John O’Neill as David Bowie, with our very own Ronno, Andy Marr on guitar, Sam Gino on bass, Varo Sisti on keyboards, Alex Riccardi on drums and, when possible, Fiona Asbury on saxophone, the band perform with incredible musicianship and attention to detail.

Prepare to be taken from A to Z (Absolute Beginners to Ziggy!) with Stations to Station in between.

Friday 20 October 2023

Theatre: Bond! – An Unauthorised Parody
The Quarry Theatre @ 7.30pm
Tickets: from £13.50

Bond is back – unfit, older but still wisecracking… and someone’s out to get him! On the 70th anniversary of the first 007 novel, and following tours in UK, USA, Russia & Australia, Gavin Robertson focuses his attention on the Bond phenomenon, in his latest cartoon-style adventure – exploding every cliché in the book(s)… solo!

In which Bond meets his greatest arch-villain yet – author Ian Fleming himself, courtesy of a time-machine, and featuring the smallest car chase (n)ever seen!  Minimum props, maximum effect!

Friday 20 October 2023

Live music: Cameo
The Cellar Bar @ 8.30pm/bar opens at 6pm
Free entry

Cellar Bar favourite Cameo is back for another solo performance.

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.

Saturday 21 and Sunday 22 October 2023

Game Play: Let’s Talk: An Immersive Theatre Experience
The Place Theatre @ various times
Tickets: £12

Have you ever sat opposite someone on a bus quietly, both on your phones and not saying a word? Perhaps you glance up for a second and smile at each other. What would happen if one of you said ‘Hello’? 

Let the experiments begin! 

Let’s Talk will take you on an immersive adventure unlike any other. Fun, thought-provoking, and full of surprises; join our crack team of scientists through six HIGHLY SCIENTIFIC* experiments as we attempt to decipher the key to connection and what
it means to be human. 

Part interactive performance, part social experiment. Rediscover your inner child as you dive through lasers, paint a masterpiece and slay a dragon.

*(Full disclosure, for legal reasons, this is in no way scientific but it will get us all talking again… probably).

Saturday 21 October 2023

Classical Music: Bedfordshire Orchestral Society – Bedford Sinfonia
St Paul’s Church @ 7.30pm
Tickets: £12/£10/£5

Bedfordshire Orchestral Society
Guest Conductor: Ian Smith

Bedford Sinfonia

Järnefelt: Praeludium and Berceuse
Maxwell Davies: An Orkney Wedding, with Sunrise

Wirén: Serenade for Strings
Mendelssohn: Symphony No. 3 (The Scottish)

Saturday 21 October 2023

Live music: FastLove – George Michael Tribute
Bedford Corn Exchange @ 7.30pm
Tickets: £30/£28

Direct from London’s West End, Fastlove is the world’s favourite George Michael celebration.

Playing all the hits, from Wham! right through George’s glittering career, including, Wake Me Up, Too Funky, Father Figure, Freedom 90, Faith, Knew You Were Waiting, Careless Whisper and many more.

Saturday 21 October 2023

Live music: Swiftogeddon – the Taylor Swift Club Night
Bedford Esquires @ 11pm
Tickets: £7 – £9 (over 18s only)

A night dedicated to worshipping at the altar of Taylor Swift: non-stop Swifty all night: deep cuts, extended mixes, fan favourites and all the hits.

Do you have a Blank Space in your diary? Then this night is Taylor-made for you! Join fellow fans in a celebration of the genius of the Swift – because she’ll never go out of Style.

Sunday 22 October 2023

Walking: “The Life and Times of John Bunyan” guided walk
Bedford Town Centre @ 11am at the gold postbox in St Paul’s Square
Tickets: £3/£1.50

Join the Association of Bedford Tour Guides for one of their fascinating weekly walks. Each walk is of 90 minutes to two hours duration and covers a distance of one or two miles. Most walks are suitable for people who are less mobile.

Children of all ages are most welcome on all of our walks but those aged 12 and under must be accompanied by an adult. Each walk costs £3.00 per adult or £1.50 for children over 8. All walks must be pre-booked.

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 7 January 2024

Exhibition: Quilla Constance – Teasing Out Contingencies
The Higgins Bedford until January 2024
Free entry

Don’t miss your chance to see eight new large-scale paintings and a costume installation by Bedford artist Quilla Constance (also known as QC) at The Higgins Bedford until 7 January 2024.

As British society becomes increasingly polarised, this exhibition seeks to cross social borders, confront stereotyping, and challenge gender, racial and class inequalities.

QC states “Teasing Out Contingencies seeks to create exciting new narratives to explore: what is British society now and where are we going?” – These are timely questions as we emerge from the Covid 19 pandemic, and as we re-examine our relationship with the British monarchy in the wake of the Queen’s passing and the Coronation of King Charles III.

Read more here: Don’t miss the Teasing Out Contingencies exhibition at The Higgins Bedford

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

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