What’s on Bedford: 14 – 24 December 2023

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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


Throughout December 2023

Community: Church services in Bedford
Various locations

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

You can find a round-up of services at many of Bedford’s churches at the link here.


Thursday 14 December 2023

Dancing: Planet Swing featuring The Last Chance Ragtime Band
The Dance Hall, Wixams Retirement Village, Bedford Road, Bedford, MK42 6EA @ 8pm
Tickets: £12

Suitable for dancers and music enthusiasts alike! Cashless bar, plenty of seating (night club set up) and a dance floor. Come along at 7.15pm for a 45-minute dance class in Balboa (additional payment), one of the original swing dances.

Book in advance for the dance class, but for the main event, just turn up and have fun, no booking needed.


Thursday 14 December 2023

Live music: The Loveless ft Marc Almond
Bedford Esquires @ 7.30pm
Tickets: £25

Esquies is welcoming back The Loveless to its main stage this December, one of only a handful of intimate dates to launch their brand new album, ‘Meet The Loveless’.

Marc Almond and long-term guitarist/sideman Neal X have recruited Punk icon Iggy Pop’s stupendous rhythm section, Ben Ellis and Mat Hector, to form “The Loveless”.

Drawing material from Marc’s immense back catalogue with nods to T. Rex, Iggy, David Bowie, 60s R&B and Garage Rock, it’s a thunderous return to their primaeval rock roots.


Friday 15 December 2023

Live Music: DOUBLE HEADER – Megapint? & Mat Roberts
The Cellar Bar @ 8.30pm / doors open at 6pm until late / Happy Hour 6pm – 9pm
Free Entry

Kicking things off at this Friday night doubleheader are Megapint?, delivering another incredible performance. Covering everything from Nirvana and Red Hot Chili Peppers to David Bowie and The Beatles, their set will feature versions of well loved classics from contemporary rock to new wave grunge.

Next up is ‘Bedford Musical Royalty’ Mat Roberts to keep the party going past 12am, playing a mix of classic anthems and party tunes, you’ll be dancing into the small hours!


Friday 15 December 2023

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

Set to mark forty years since their formation this year, Spear of Destiny have been making a stir with their punk-influenced power-rock since 1983. Emerging from the wreckage of iconic post-punk band Theatre Of Hate, the original duo — Kirk Brandon and Stan Stammers — named themselves after the weapon used by Roman centurion Longinus as he pierced the body of Jesus as he hung on the cross.

The band released their ninth studio album ‘Morning Star’ in 2003, followed by ‘Loadestone’ and ‘Imperial Prototype’ in 2005 and 2007 respectively.

Now in 2023, the current Spear of Destiny lineup is the longest serving to date, featuring Adrian Portas (New Model Army/Sex Gang Children), Craig Adams (Sisters of Mercy/The Cult/The Mission) and Phil Martini (Jim Jones and the Righteous Mind), as well as Clive Osborne on saxophone and Steve Allen-Jones on keys.


Saturday 16 & Sunday 17 December 2023

Theatre Workshop: Panto Workshop
The Place Theatre @ 10am
Tickets: £40 for both days (inc food)

Join fantastic workshop leaders for this full weekend exploring everything Lewis Carroll. What happens when the weird and wonderful characters from the world of Carroll collide? Let’s find out!

This two-day workshop for young performers aged 10-16 will make sure all participants develop skills in physical theatre, puppetry and movement through the wonderful work of Lewis Carroll. 

Workshop takes place over Saturday & Sunday, but you only need to purchase a single ticket for the Saturday to join on both days. As part of the workshops participants will work together to make their own short scenes. These will be performed before the matinee performance of Alice in Wonderland, at 2pm on Wednesday 20 December.  There will be a morning rehearsal from 11:30am – 1pm on that day.


Saturday 16 December 2023

Walking: North Bedfordshire Ramblers’ Mince Pie walk
Blunham Church MK44 3NQ @ 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

Park and meet near St Edmunds or St James, Park Lane, Blunham followed by a 4.5 mile walk to Great Barford.

Join North Beds Ramblers for mulled wine and mince pies afterwards with tea and coffee (available for a small donation to the Church and also donations appreciated for the use of the Church).

Carol singing optional!

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 16 December 2023

Choral music: Bedford Choral Society: A Ceremony of Carols
Bunyan Meeting Church @ 3pm
Tickets: £8

Christmas Carols Traditional and Modern. Bedford Youth Chorus Directed by Naomi Jones. Conductor : Ian Smith. Piano: Tim Grant-Jones.


Saturday 16 December 2023

Singing: Opus 18 Community Choir Christmas Concert
Priory Methodist Church, Newnham Avenue, Bedford, 2.30pm
Tickets £10 (under 14s £5)

Get in the festive spirit with Opus 18 Community Choir with guests, Biddenham Handbell Ringers.


Saturday 16 December 2023

Live music: Lost in Music
Bedford Corn Exchange @ 7.30pm
Tickets: £27.50

Immerse yourself in the magic of the music of the 1970s and embark on a musical journey straight to the heart of Disco!

Relive some of the greatest songs of all time from artists such as Donna Summer, Gloria Gaynor, Earth, Wind & Fire, Sister Sledge and Chic This show boasts a sensational live band, incredibly talented cast and stunning vocals and is sure to have you dancing in the aisles.

So, come dressed to impress as we celebrate the golden age of Disco.


Saturday 16 December 2023

Live Music: The King Blues + So Good
Bedford Esquires @ 7.30pm
Tickets: £22.50

The King Blues are back and they’re pissed off again, returning to the road with the Weekend Warrior Tour. Expect a full headline set of old classics. Joined by brat-pop viral sensation So Good.


Saturday 16 December 2023

Live Music:  Double Header – Duzzy Avocado & Danny Barton
The Cellar Bar @ 8.30pm / bar opens at 6pm / Happy Hour until 9pm / 3am close
Free Entry

Duzzy Avocado are making a welcome return to The Cellar Bar, combining original songs with some inquisitive covers, thoughtfully dipped in folk and country, with intricate three-part harmonies and vivid violin melodies.

The female four-piece are able to seamlessly fuse classic sounds with a modern twist, encompassing a wide range of influences and styles and keeping the audience hooked from start to finish. Having brought their talents to festivals and high profile shows already in their fledgling career, Duzzy Avocado is bound to become your new favourite band and are almost certainly not one to be missed.

Next up is the wonderful Danny Barton, playing a mix of acoustic crowd pleasers and new material.


Saturday 16 December 2023

Live music: Foo Fighters GB
Bedford Esquires @ 7.30pm
Tickets: £12

Foo Fighters GB

Foo Fighters GB return to Esquires for their annual gig after numerous sold out shows at the venue.

Celebrating the hits of the Foo Fighters in full volume, Foo Fighters GB have quickly established themselves as the UK’s finest and most talked about tribute to the Foo Fighters, the greatest rock band on the planet. Foo Fighters GB have been rocking out festivals and music venues since summer 2015 with their charismatic and adrenaline pumping show!

The resemblance and re-creation of their performance is leaving audiences believing they have seen the Foo Fighters themselves.


Sunday 17 December 2023

Game Play: RPG Youth Club
The Place Theatre @ 10am
Tickets: from £4

Love games, fantasy, stories and play? Want to be the hero (or villain) you’ve always imagined? Want to meet people who share your interests?

A great opportunity for young people to engage in creative problem solving in a fun, welcoming supervised space. Great for developing speaking and listening skills, team building and developing storytelling and creativity.

Dungeons & Dragons, and other Table Top Role Playing Games (TTRPGs) are a great alternative to videogames, challenging young people to work together, teaching English and Maths skills, and helping young people socialise with like-minded young people. A great low-cost hobby, where all necessary equipment will be provided and young people will get hands on learning in how to play these entertaining, player-led, story- based games. No prior experience necessary. Age: 10-18


Sunday 17 December 2023

Live music: U18’s Open Mic
The Cellar Bar @ 5pm until 7pm / bar opens at 4.30pm
Free entry

Whether you sing, play guitar, drums, or any other musical instrument, or are a band already, you are welcome to join the Cellar Bar’s Under 18s open mic session. You just have to be under 18!

It’s a chance for you to perform on a stage in front of an audience with a full pa, drum kit, amps, lighting.

Hosted by none other than Mat Roberts, a legend of the Bedford music scene. Mat 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 5.00pm until 9.00pm on Sundays for Junior Open Mic.


Sunday 17 December 2023

Live music: Who Stung Sting + Duzzy Avocado play the Sunday Afternoon Session
Bedford Esquires @ 5pm
Free entry

A special double header for the legendary Sunday session at Bedford Esquires with Who Stung Sting and Duzzy Avocado.


Monday 18 December 2023

Games Night:  Rummikub & Backgammon  
The Cellar Bar @ 7.00pm
FREE ENTRY

Want to learn a new hobby or find new people to pay Backgammon and Rummikub with? Experienced? Beginner? Not too sure how to play? Don’t worry, there will be people on hand ready to help show you at this friendly get-together.


Tuesday 19 December 2023

Theatre: A Christmas Carol
The Quarry Theatre @ 7.30pm
Tickets: from £13.50

The award-winning Dyad Productions, (A Room of One’s Own, I, Elizabeth, Austen’s Women, Female Gothic) who have toured their sell-out festive show Christmas Gothic since 2015, now bring their magic to Dickens’ classic and perennially relevant ghost story.

It’s Christmas Eve, and the miserly misanthrope, Ebenezer Scrooge, is about to have a ghostly night he’ll never forget. Dickens’ festive, immortal tale of redemption and compassion is brought to life in Dyad’s inimitable style. Draw near for an evening of mistletoe and merriment in the company of Marley, Fezziwig, and Cratchit et al to discover the true meaning of Christmas: tenderness for the past, courage for the present, and hope for the future. Ebenezer lives in us all, and this glorious tale reminds us how not to give in to the Scrooge within. 


Wednesday 20 December 2023

Film: Cinema @ 3 St Peter’s presents – The Holiday
3 St Peter’s Street @ 7pm
Tickets: £12/£10.50/£9/£6

The Holiday (2006) is a charming Christmas rom-com that whisks viewers away on a delightful transatlantic home swap adventure.

The enchanting settings of snowy Surrey and sunny L.A., paired with the sparkling chemistry among the star-studded cast including Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet, Jude Law, and Jack Black, make it a heartwarming watch. With its cosy ambience and whimsical romance, it effortlessly captures the magic of the holiday season, making it a must-see festive film.

The picturesque scenery and feel-good narrative provide a perfect escape, encapsulating the merry spirit of Christmas in a cinematic treat.

(NB: this may or may not have been written by AI)


Wednesday 20 December 2023

Drag karaoke: Fanny Burns’ Christmas special
The Cellar Bar @ 8pm / bar opens at 7pm
Free entry

Festive Fanny Burns is here and ready to entertain. Take part in her new game, Fanny’s Flaps with a rolling cash jackpot of £180 to be won.

Fanny Burns puts her own hilarious spin on karaoke and bingo with a potential cash jackpot of over £100. £2 per card of 6 tickets, meaning 6 chances of winning.  Raffle tickets for Fanny’s Flaps game are just £1.

The Cellar Bar is a safe, inclusive, environment for all of our customers. Free entry, just turn up. This show contains adult humour and swearing and is strictly an over 18s event.


Thursday 21 – Sunday 31 December 2023

Pantomime: Cinderella
Bedford Corn Exchange @ 11am and 3pm (check website for daily timings)
Tickets: £19/£17.50/£16

Traditional fun-filled, family-friendly pantomime in the heart of Bedford town centre.


Thursday 21 December 2023

Children’s comedy: Comedy Club 4 Kids Christmas Cracker
The Quarry Theatre @ 2pm
Tickets: from £8

All the fun of Comedy Club 4 Kids with a Christmas twist.

Expect the finest Christmas Cracker jokes, tinsel tomfoolery, festive funnies and maybe even Santa doing stand-up!

Starring Comedy Club 4 Kids’ regular Ben Van Der Velde hims-elf, Howard Read of ‘Little Howard’ and CBBC fame, and hilarious double-act Shelf – this show will be jam-packed with a whole heap of Christmas Comedy Fun to get you in the mood for the BIG DAY (you know, when the big red jolly guy comes down the chimney).


Thursday 21 December 2023

Dancing: Planet Swing featuring The Untouchables
The Dance Hall, Wixams Retirement Village, Bedford Road, Bedford, MK42 6EA @ 8pm
Tickets: £12

Planet Swing generic dance and event poster (Swingsters)

Suitable for dancers and music enthusiasts alike! Cashless bar, plenty of seating (night club set up) and a dance floor. Come along at 7.15pm for a 45-minute dance class in Balboa (additional payment), one of the original swing dances.

Book in advance for the dance class, but for the main event, just turn up and have fun, no booking needed.


Friday 22 December 2023

Party: The Cellar Bar’s 1 Year Birthday Bash
The Cellar Bar @ 8pm / doors open at 6pm until late
Free entry

Congratulations to the Cellar Bar on their first birthday! To celebrate, their Happy Hour prices will be available all night and Mat Roberts will be playing live with tunes from the 80s, 90s and 00s.

Every person will receive a raffle ticket on arrival for a chance to win a £50 bar tab in their free-to-enter draw with three chances to win at 8pm, 9pm and 10pm.


Friday 22 December 2023

Club night: Boombastic – 80s vs 90s night
Bedford Esquires @ 8.30pm
Tickets: £7

The ever-popular Decades Party comes to Esquires as a Christmas Special celebrating the biggest hits of the 80s and 90s as well the Christmas bangers.

As ever, fancy dress is customary so choose to go festive or dress as your hero from the 80s or 90s.


Saturday 23 December 2023

Walking: North Bedfordshire Ramblers’ weekly walk
Clapham Park MK41 7GE @ 10am
Elstow MK42 9YF @ 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

Two walks in Bedford Borough to choose from this week – the perfect way to relax and unwind in the beautiful Bedfordshire countryside before the Christmas frenzy begins.

At 10am, the Saturday morning walk is a 9.5 mile circular walk around Clapham Park. It begins in Brickhill (parking available on Ashmead Road), walking towards Mowsbury.

The afternoon walk begins at 1.30pm at Elstow and is a six mile circular wallk.

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 23 December 2023

Live music: New Groove Formation + easydread
Bedford Esquires @ 7.30pm
Tickets: £10

Skanxmas is upon us! Two of the finest party bands around, New Groove Formation and Easydread join forces for a very special, one off Xmas party at Bedford Esquires.


Saturday 23 December 2023

Live Music:  Double Header – Black Ridge & Five Five Six
The Cellar Bar @ 8.30pm / bar opens @ 6pm / Happy Hour until 9pm / 3am close
Free Entry. 

Needing no introduction, Five Five Six are back at the Cellar Bar, guaranteeing a fantastic night of legendary rock tunes.

They are supported by Bedford band, Black Ridge, so expect classic rock tunes, delivered with passion and raw talent.


Saturday 23 December 2023

Club night: Yard Act DJ set – Forever Indie Xmas Party
Bedford Esquires @ 9pm
Tickets:

After a whirlwind year, Yard Act are coming back to Esquires to spin some tunes, especially for Christmas.

The traditional ‘Forever Indie’ club night is having a bit of an Xmas party and James and the gang will roll back into town to play some of their favourite tunes, mixed with wall-to-wall indie bangers.


Sunday 24 December 2023

Live music: The A Band play the Sunday Afternoon Session
Bedford Esquires @ 5pm
Free entry

The last Sunday session before Christmas and the final one of the year, featuring the legendary A Band.


Sunday 24 December 2023

Live music:  Xmas Eve Party – Double Header – Lord Baker & Mat Roberts
The Cellar Bar @ 8.30pm / bar opens @ 6pm / Happy Hour until 9pm / 3am close
Free entry

For this Christmas Eve double header, rirst up is the incredible Soul and Ska show that will get you dancing from the first song. Lord Baker really knows how to entertain.

Following that is Bedford Musical Royalty, Mat Roberts, keeping the party going past midnight, playing a mix of classic anthems and party tunes to keep you dancing until the small hours.


Until Saturday 3 January 2024

Festive family fun: WinterWonderland @ Bedford Park
Bedford Park / parking @ Queen Street car park (two hours free every day/all day every Sunday)
Entry: £2

The Ferris Wheel at this year's WinterWonderland in Bedford Park
The Ferris Wheel at this year’s WinterWonderland in Bedford Park

The biggest real ice rink in the county and a 36m high Ferris wheel are just two of the attractions at Bedford’s Winter Wonderland. The festive event is taking place in Bedford Park and hopes to attract local visitors as well as families from further afield for a one-stop Christmas day out.

The 600sqm ice rink is the biggest in Bedfordshire and is fully covered, so skaters can enjoy the ice, whatever the British weather throws at us. In addition, there is a Christmas Tree Maze – featuring 200 festive firs and Santa’s Grotto, plus fairground rides for thrill-seekers and younger children too.

Park at Queen Street Car Park (two hours free every day, free all day every Sunday).


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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