What’s on Bedford: 25 January – 4 February 2024

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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.


Thursday 25 January 2024

Theatre: The Government Inspector
The Quarry Theatre @ 4.30pm & 7pm
Tickets: £14.50/£12.50

Splendid Productions proudly presents a new creative adaptation of ‘The Government Inspector’, an 1836 comedy written by Ukrainian playwright Nickolai Gogol.

The play is a satirical prod at power, privilege, corruption and classism set in a small provincial town whose public servants – including the untrustworthy Mayor – are told they are to be assessed by an anonymous official: The Government Inspector.

At the same time, an idiotic aristocratic stranger arrives in town, setting the stage for an escalating masterclass in political farce.

In Splendid’s adaptation, a highly skilled cast of three will populate an entire town of panicking officials, dismayed citizens and feckless fantasists in a fast-paced, one-hour performance which asks: if absolute power corrupts absolutely, what happens when you only have a tiny bit of power? 


Thursday 25 January 2024

Live music: Jazz Jam at 3 St Peter’s 
3 St Peter’s @ 7.30pm
Members: free / non-members: £7.50

In keeping with the impromptu spirit of jazz, you don’t want to always plan so a group of talented local Jazz musicians have launched a Jazz jam at 3 St Peter’s.  Come and enjoy the sounds of our house band, Eclipse Jazz, and perhaps join them for an improvised jamming session!

The band line up consists of: Paul Taverner – Sax, Geoff Stear – Bass, Jeff Willets – Drums and Martin Tucker – Piano.


Thursday 25 January 2024

Live music: Deadletter
Bedford Esquires @ 7.30pm
Tickets: £15

One of the hottest new bands in the country, DEADLETTER are returning to Esquires, having opened Ceremony in blistering fashion in 2023.

A whirlwind of saxophones, cowbells, razor sharp lyrics and LCD Soundsystem influenced art-punk, the London/North Yorkshire six-piece have been heavily championed by Steve Lamacq and 6 Music. It’s likely you’ve already heard their brilliant single ’The Snitching Hour’, which borrowed the bassline from The Jam’s ’Start’ and turned it into something gloriously danceable.


Friday 26 January 2024

Live music: The Ronnie Scott’s All Stars present – ‘The Ronnie Scott’s Story’
The Quarry Theatre @ 7.30pk
Tickets: £25

Direct from London’s world-famous jazz club and combining world class live jazz,

narration and rare archive photos and video footage, The Ronnie Scott’s All Stars

return to the Quarry Theatre with a brand new programme of music celebrating ‘The

Ronnie Scott’s Story’. Mixing classic music from the jazz greats who have performed at Ronnie Scott’s over its incredible 60+ year history, alongside tales of old Soho, miscreant musicians and police raids, this is a unique evening celebrating one of the world’s most famous jazz venues, its music, and history.


Friday 26 January 2024

Live Music: 9 Times Lucky
The Cellar Bar @ 8.30pm / Doors open at 6pm / Happy Hour 6pm – 9pm
Free Entry 

9 Times Lucky play their debut session at The Cellar Bar this month, playing songs from the rock n roll era to the present day.


Friday 26 January 2024

DJ set: Forever Indie Night – Yard Act DJ set
Bedford Esquires @ 9pm
Tickets: £10

Yard Act are coming back to Esquires to spin some tunes for us! The ‘Forever Indie’ club night is having a bit of a belated Christmas party this, when James and the gang roll back into town for a rescheduled DJ set to play some of their favourite tunes, mixed with wall to wall indie bangers. We expect this one to sell out, so grab a ticket early to guarantee entry.


Saturday 27 January 2024

Walking: North Bedfordshire Ramblers’ weekly walk
Riseley Primary School MK44 1DR @ 10 am and 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

This week’s walks can be enjoyed either as a morning or afternoon circular walk or as an all-day ‘figure of eight’ walk.

At 10am the 5.5 mile walk heads east of Riseley to Swineshead Church returning to Riseley.

After the lunch break the group will walk to Melchbourne at 1pm, with views of Melchbourne House through Coppice Wood. This is a distance of 5.8 miles.

The terrain could be muddy so please dress accordingly.


Saturday 27 January 2024

Dance music: Shiva ‘Goes Indoors’
Bedford Esquires @ 4pm – 11pm
Tickets: £18.95 plus booking fee

Shiva Events, the team behind the hugely successful festival, FlitFest, are bringing their all-day party to Esquires for the very first time. Headlined by DJ S.K.T and SAYA, expect the finest in House and Tech.

Also on the lineup are Aaron James B2B Mo Y No, Carly C, Connor Mac, Ned & Bo and Robbie Garooba.


Saturday 27 January 2024

Live music: The Quireboys + guests
Bedford Esquires @ 7.30pm
Tickets: £10

Bedford legends, The Quireboys return to Esquires for their now annual January show to celebrate Griff’s birthday. Happy birthday!


Saturday 27 January 2024

Live Music: Double Header – V8 + Frogz
The Cellar Bar @ 8.30pm / bar opens @ 6pm / Happy Hour until 9pm / 3am close
Free Entry.  Bar opens at 6.00pm, Happy Hour until 9.00pm.  3.00am close.

V8 are a well-established band who have now been rockin’ the nation for over two decades with headline appearances at the BMF, MAG, Perverts in Leather, Cowpat Napton Festival, and a multitude of other venues. Prepare to be entertained with epic metal covers – this will be loud!

Frogz are a three-piece rock/punk/grunge band, fronted by Will Day.  Playing covers and original songs, their nfluences include Nirvana, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, Social Distortion, Johnny Cash and much more.


Sunday 28 January 2024

National Theatre Live: Dear England
The Quarry Theatre @ 2pm
Tickets: £15

Joseph Fiennes (The Handmaid’s Tale) plays Gareth Southgate in James Graham’s (Sherwood) gripping Dear England, an incredible examination of nation and game.

The country that gave the world football has since delivered a painful pattern of loss. Why can’t England’s men win at their own game?

With the worst track record for penalties in the world, Gareth Southgate knows he needs to open his mind and face up to the years of hurt, to take team and country back to the promised land.

Filmed live on stage at the National Theatre, Rupert Goold (Judy) directs this spectacular new play.


Sunday 28th January 2024

Live music: Soul on Sunday
The Cellar Bar @ 3pm / bar opens at 3pm
Free entry

Head to the Cellar Bar for an afternoon of Northern Soul and Motown classics with DJ Stevo at the helm.

What better way to spend a Sunday afternoon?


Sunday 28 January 2024

Live music: Fran Pegg & band play the Sunday Afternoon Session
Bedford Esquires @ 5pm
Free entry

Fran and her band will be playing the Sunday Afternoon Session at Esquires this week.


Sunday 28 January 2024

Theatre: Bedford Drama Company presents – Radio Plays
The Place Theatre @ 7.30pm
Tickets: £10/£8

Three original radio plays written by Richard Moon based on the Sherlock Holmes novels by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle will be rehearsed and performed in a day at The Place Theatre. 


Monday 29 January 2024

Film: Bedford Film Society presents – Utama
The University of Bedford, Polhill Avenue @ 7.30pm
Tickets: £69/annual membership, £5/day guest

An elderly Quechua couple live a tranquil life in the arid Bolivian highlands. While Virginio takes their small herd of llamas out to graze, Sisa keeps house and walks for miles with other local women to fetch precious water.

When an uncommonly long drought threatens everything they know, they must decide whether to stay and maintain their traditional way of life or admit defeat and move in with family members in the city.


Tuesday 30 January 2024

Art & Culture lecture: The Arts Society North Bedfordshire presents – John Stevens: Imperial Calcutta:Art and Architecture How Calcutta played a major role in shaping the arts and culture of modern India
The Addison Centre, Kempston @ 10.45am / 11am start
Tickets: NBAS members – free / guests £10

Calcutta was the second city of the British Empire and a hub of cultural and artistic production throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. This lecture provides an overview of the arts (poetry, theatre, literature, song) and architecture of this extraordinary city, which was India’s capital until 1911.

At the epicentre of the ‘Bengal renaissance’, Calcutta played a central role in shaping the arts and culture of modern India, as a huge variety of artists sought to interpret India’s classical heritage in new ways, and to combine this heritage with Western cultural forms. This lecture examines how Calcutta’s arts and architecture were affected by British rule, and explores the fascinating ways in which Indian artists viewed the British in India. 

Dr. John Stevens is a Research Associate at SOAS, University of London, and a member of academic staff at the SOAS South Asia Institute.  His PhD in History is from University College London. He teaches British Imperial history, Indian history and Bengali language, and is a regular visitor to India and Bangladesh.


Tuesday 30 January 2024

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

Giulia Tonioli (piano). Free with a retiring collection.


Tuesday 30 January 2024

Art: The Circus of Illustration’s Drink and Draw – January Blues
The Park pub, Kimbolton Road @ 7.30pm
Free (£2 donation appreciated)

Beat the January blues by attending drink & draw!
Challenge yourself to work in monotone, creating blue characters, typography or whatever you like! How does colour affect your design choices? We’ll provide a whole load of ideas to get you inspired, along with a whole load of blue materials to use!

Any skill level, free to attend, no need to book, just turn up. Equipment and resources are provided in a no-pressure, relaxed atmosphere to chat, drink and doodle.

Drink and Draw is for all grown ups!
– Chat with new people who like creative stuff
– Do some no-pressure doodling and get inspiration from others.
– Equipment provided
– All abilities welcome
– No membership, no signing up


Tuesday 30 January 2024

Live music: Independent Venue Week presents – CVC + guests
Bedford Esquires @ 7.30pm
Tickets: £12

The Roar Club and Pad Presents have joined forces to welcome CVC a.k.a Church Village Collective to Esquires for the first time. Hailing from a small Welsh town north of Cardiff called, wait for it…. Church Village… this six-piece serves up a heady mix of psych-pop.

Their buoyant 11-track debut is made for outdoor stages at sundown. Or a sticky-floored indie disco in the mid-2000s if you were a Zutons fan. Following in the great tradition of Welsh psychedelia, CVC are unashamedly more polished and searching for acclaim beyond the valleys. We’re looking forward to their handlebar moustaches gracing Esquires.


Wednesday 31 January 2024

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

Embark on a thrilling cinematic adventure with the original “Mission: Impossible” (1996). Directed by Brian De Palma, this iconic film introduces us to Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt, an operative of the Impossible Missions Force (IMF). When Hunt is framed for the deaths of his espionage team, he must embark on a perilous quest to uncover the real traitor and clear his name.

This action-packed spy thriller is renowned for its heart-pounding action sequences, innovative special effects, and gripping plot twists. The film masterfully blends suspense with high-stakes espionage, set against a backdrop of international intrigue. Cruise’s portrayal of Ethan Hunt offers a mix of intensity and charisma, setting the stage for one of cinema’s most enduring action heroes.


Wednesday 31 January 2024

Classical music: Philharmonia presents: Santtu conducts Berlioz and Mahler
Bedford Corn Exchange @ 7.30pm
Tickets: £15 – £40

Santtu-Matias Rouvali – conductor, Julia Bullock – singer

At times folk-like and joyful, at times restless, Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 reflects his philosophy that “a symphony must be like the world, it must contain everything”. The work ends with a serene soprano solo describing the music of the angels – a child’s vision of heaven.

Julia Bullock is acclaimed as a performer who “communicates… as if she were singing right from her soul” (Opera News), and she brings that expressivity to Berlioz’s exquisite Nuits d’été. These six songs take us on a journey through burgeoning hope, love and loss and, in the final song, a renewed sense of anticipation at what the future might hold.


Wednesday 31 January 2024

Live music: Circa Waves (rescheduled date)
Bedford Esquires @ 7.30pm

Circa Waves head to Esquires for a very intimate show. More used to headlining festivals than small venues, this special run of dates will see a portion of the profits donated to local foodbanks in each town they are touring through, with Bedford Foodbank supported on this date.

The band recently released new album Never Going Under to high praise across press and radio and have a summer of big festival stages to look forward to. Recognising their position in being able to help charities close to their hearts however, they made the decision to bring Never Going Under to intimate venues in eight UK towns and cities for the benefit of a foodbank in each area, at a time when donations are needed more than ever.


Wednesday 31 January 2024

Comedy Night: Simon Says Comedy
The Cellar Bar @ 8pm / doors open at 7pm
Tickets: £10 on the door for 4 fabulous acts / £8 in advance.

The Cellar Bar’s 2024 comedy season kicks off with another four outstanding comics: Adam Vincent, Dylan Dodds, Adam Bromley and Sol Bernstein, all hosted by Mr Sparkly Boots himself Simon Hall!

Tickets are non-refundable and you will be asked to show your ticket with QR code on the door.  Only people with a valid ticket will be allowed entry to the venue.


Thursday 1 February 2024

Live music: Musicians’ showcase hosted by Michael Green
3 St Peter’s @ 7.30pm
Members: free entry / non-members: £3

Local Bedford musician and singer-songwriter Michael Green hosts 3 St Peter’s musicians showcase, featuring eight talented hand-picked musicians. 


Thursday 1 February 2024

Live Music: FUSION – A combination of Bandeoke, Karaoke and Open Mic
The Cellar Bar @ 8.30pm / doors open @ 6pm / Happy Hour 6pm – 9pm
Free entry

The Cellar Bar’s FUSION night has something for everyone: a full karaoke setup with over 50,000 songs, sing with your friends or go solo, or why not sing with their house band, no backing tracks but the reassurance of having the words in front of you.

Finally, Bedford’s local musicians are welcome to come along for a jam session. This really is a night for all, a FUSION of musical style and experience.


Thursday 1 February 2024

Quiz: Esquires Monthly Music Quiz
Bedford Esquires @ 8pm
£2 per person / max six people per team

It’s the first monthly music quiz of the year at Esquires. Featuring music from the 50’s to the present, it’s £2 per person to enter with teams of up to a maximum of six people.

Cash prize for the winning team.


Friday 2 February 2024

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

Lack of Faith are a four-piece acoustic covers band playing lively original and covers music from the 70’s to the present day, from Pink Floyd to P!nk.


Friday 2 February 2024

Live music: Chappaqua Wrestling + Guests
Bedford Esquires @ 7.30pm
Tickets: £12

Chappaqua Wrestling have been championed by BBC Radio 1 and Radio 6 DJs including Annie Mac, Phil Taggart, Steve Lamacq, and Radcliffe & Maconie. Support from BBC’s Huw Stephens and Jack Saunders saw the band being invited to play sessions at Abbey Road and Maida Vale Studios. They come to Bedford off the back of their debut album.

For fans of: Wunderhorse, The Lathams, DMA’s, The Goa Express


Saturday 3 February 2024

Comedy: Bumper Blyton: The Improvised Adventure
The Quarry Theatre @ 7.30pm
Tickets: from £16.50

A riotous improvised parody chock full of puns and innuendo, in the style of the Nation’s favourite author, Enid Blyton. Come and delight in lashings of ginger beer, grab a cheeky tongue sandwich or wrap your lips around a nice spotted dick! 

Cast yourself back to your childhood in a show that’s spontaneous and utterly unique every time, with this satirical take on childhood favourite books like The Famous Five and Mallory Towers.  A cast of the UK’s best-known and Award Winning improvisers (as seen in:
Austentatious, Showstoppers! and TV’s Doctor Who) invent a hilarious improvised adventure live on the hoof based on audience suggestions.

It’s Enid Blyton…for grown-ups!


Saturday 3 February 2024

Live Music: Five Five Six – Hugo’s birthday bash
The Cellar Bar @ 8.30pm / bar opens at 6.pm / Happy Hour until 9pm / 3am close
Free Entry

After a sell-out New Year’s Eve performance the Cellar Bar welcomes back Five Five Six for another celebration – Hugo’s Birthday!

A full night of Five Five Six rocking out to some legendary tunes as well as welcoming some guest friends to the stage. If you thought that new year was good this promises to be immense.


Sunday 4 February 2024

Discussion: Book Club
3 St Peter’s @ 4pm – 6pm
Members: free / non-members: £2.50

Join this lovely group of people for the 3 St Peter’s next book club discussion. Each month they discuss one book from the BBC’s Top 100 Books You Need to Read Before You Die (the last one was Jane Eyre).

A great way to make new friends and link up with like-minded people. This session the group will discuss Origins by Dan Brown and Wide Sargasso Sea as an optional extra.


Sunday 4 February 2024

Live music: Devil’s Mojo play the Sunday Afternoon Session
Bedford Esquires @ 5pm
Free entry

Devil’s Mojo return to the Sunday Afternoon Session, playing two sets of rock and pop covers.


Sunday 4 February 2024

Poetry: Read Poets Society – Spring 2024
The Eagle Bookshop @ 7pm
Tickets: Free but please book via The Place Theatre website


Join the Swan Poetry Society for their monthly reading of poems reflecting the season. Listen to poetry and prose about memory and from memory. This monthly event takes place at The Eagle Bookshop in St Peter’s Street


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


Don’t forget, you can pick up a copy of the February edition of the Bedford Clanger from all good independent retailers, cafes, theatres, museums, restaurants, pubs and more.


Theatre highlights by Paula Walker