What’s on Bedford: 3 – 13 August 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.

Until Sunday 6 August 2023

Photography: A Journey Through Two Cultures
POP Bedford, 5 Midland Road from 10am
Free entry

An exhibition of photographs of Nritham Dance Academy by Cliff Harvey and Vaughan Dean from Bedford Camera Club.

Described as a ‘photographic record of the extraordinary dedication shown by British-born children of Asian descent; embracing classical Indian story-telling through dance while growing up in a Western cuture.’

The exhibition is supported by Bedford Camera Club, Nritham Dance Academy, Pride of Place Bedford, Bedford Creative Arts and Bedford Borough Council.

Thursday 3 August 2023

Documentary: Modern Girl
POP Bedford, 5 Midland Road @ 6.30pm
Tickets: £3

Modern Girl is a short documentary about female emancipation within a family and its surrounding community. Running time 28 mins.

Grace Hall presents her short documentary, Modern Girl, as part of Pride of Place Bedford’s six-week programme of events produced by local artists, creatives and community groups.

Grace was born in the Midlands and lived in London for 10 years before moving to Bedford last year; she hopes this is the first of many events in which she can creatively engage with her community and share her work.

The evening will be an informal viewing of the film, with an opportunity to ask Grace any questions about the film afterwards. Doors will open at 6.30pm; please feel free to BYOB – there will be nibbles available, as well as bottle openers and glasses.

Please note, the venue is wheelchair accessible, however the only toilet in the space is upstairs on the second floor which is accessed via stairs. POP Bedford is making partner arrangements with other local businesses for those that need an accessible toilet, but please be aware that there is not one directly on the premises.

Friday 4 August & Sunday 6 August 2023

Art workshop: ‘Hometown Birds’ with artists-in-residence, Anne-Marie Abbate and Sara Turner
POP Bedford, 5 Midland Road @

You are invited to join Pride of Place Bedfor’s first joint artists in residence, Anne-Marie Abbate and Sara Turner for their new project ‘Hometown Birds’

More than 100 languages are spoken in Bedford, making it a truly multicultural town shaped by migration. ‘Hometown Birds’ is based on the migratory patterns of birds along with the incredible skills of homing pigeons, to reflect, in a light-hearted, positive, and accessible way the incredible multicultural nature of Bedford town.

Anne-Marie (a visual artist) and Sara (a performance artist) will lead two friendly and inviting creative workshops accessible to all ages and abilities.

Please come along and decorate a homing pigeon in the colours of your cultural heritage using paper and fabric collage, all materials will be provided, all you need to bring are the stories of how you and/or your family settled in Bedford. This will result in the first stage of an installation of collaged pigeons which contain clues to the cultural roots of the maker. 

Sessions can be pre-booked on eventbrite or just turn up. If a large group, please book to avoid disappointment. Works can also be made at home for those with access difficulties,

Ages 5+

Friday 4 August 2023

Theatre: Retake, Remake
The Place Theatre @ 7.30pm
Tickets: from £10

Retake, Remake is The Lawnmowers learning-disabled led Theatre Ensemble’s empowering new show.

Retake Remake sashays through a soundscape of songs, recorded voices and snippets of films such as Forrest Gump and I Am Sam. The show supports the Ensemble to explore blockbuster films which portray people with learning disabilities using actors without learning disabilities.

Sometimes fun and sometimes profoundly moving, the actors question Hollywood’s star-defining practice.

Clanger what's on banner

Friday 4 August 2023

Live Music: Tiptoe Apollo
The Cellar Bar @ 8.30pm / bar opens at 6pm
Free Entry

Always keen to support new young acts, The Cellar Bar is delighted to welcome Tiptoe Apollo for their Bedford debut.  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!

Friday 4 August 2023

Live music: The Fillers – The official Killers tribute band
Bedford Esquires @ 7.30pm
Tickets: £14

The Fillers are the world’s first and best tribute to The Killers. They formed in late 2006 in the small town of Fabulous Bury St. Edmunds, much like the Killers’ hometown of slightly-more-fabulous-Las Vegas.

Having interacted with the Killers themselves at close quarters the Fillers capture an unrivalled sound, look and feel of the Vegas quartet, performing tracks from Hot Fuss, Sam’s Town, Sawdust, Day & Age, Battleborn, Wonderful Wonderful, Imploding The Mirage and Pressure Machine.

Having been lauded by The Killers themselves, The Fillers have an unrivalled attention to detail. From ALL of the various fully functioning keyboard stands used by Brandon Flowers to the same instruments including vintage Fender Starcasters, custom built Hiwatt amps, Craviotto Drums and Nord Keyboards, the band has THE authentic Killers look and sound.

Saturday 5 August 2023

Family fun: Mini Artists’ with Little Dinosaur Studio
POP Bedford, 5 Midland Road @ 10am – 11am
£6 per child, £4 per sibling. Under 12 months free

Space for your children to be creative in our town centre pop-up POP Bedford

A calm and creative space for you and your children to tinker with different art materials. Explore painting, collaging, colouring and play dough.

Have a cup of tea and chat with other families and let someone else worry about cleaning the paint pallets! Booking essential.

Saturday 5 August 2023

Walk: North Bedfordshire Ramblers afternoon countryside walk
Turvey, MK43 8EW @ 1.30pm

A moderate 6.75 mile walk in countryside and woodland.

Saturday 5 August 2023

Live Music: Samantha Hughes
The Cellar Bar @ 8.30pm / bar opens at 6pm
Free Entry

Samantha Hughes is a British champion mandolin and banjo player and has previously performed at both Twinwood Festival and the Festival of Vintage.

Samantha’s set will be part acoustic so you are in for a treat as she plays a selection of rock n roll, country, 50s/60s and blues, sharing some good old-fashioned music from years gone by.

Sunday 6 August 2023

Culture: Museum for a Day
Harpur Suite, MK40 1LE @ 10am – 4pm
Free entry

Museum for a Day. Image: Desiree Bashi
Museum for a Day. Image: Desiree Bashi

A unique museum will be popping up at the Harpur Suite this Sunday (6 August), giving ordinary Bedfordians the chance to share their extraordinary stories through cherished objects.

Organised by Desiree Bashi, the Museum for a Day celebrates the rich tapestry of experiences within our community with the aim of creating a greater sense of unity and understanding.

From 10am until 4pm, the Harpur Suite will be transformed into an immersive space filled with the heartfelt stories and treasured possessions of Bedfordians.

Vistors will have the opportunity to explore the display of pictures of donated objects alongside their accompanying narratives. From family photographs to treasured heirlooms, each object will serve as a gateway to an individual’s cherished memories and significant moments.

Find out more here: Visit Bedford’s unique ‘Museum for a Day’ this Sunday

Sunday 6 August 2023

Environment: Climate & Green Coffee Morning
POP Bedford, 5 Midland Road @ 10am
Free entry

Join Friends of the Earth Bedford for a Climate Coffee Morning on Sunday 6 August from 10am-12pm at Pride Of Place Bedford (based in the old Virgin Media unit next to B&M in town).

Do come and join in the conversation, even if you just want to listen to what others are saying.

There is no set discussion and anyone can contribute. You are free to pop in/out as you wish throughout the morning.

Sunday 6 August 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.

Sunday 6 August 2023

Live music: Music in the Meadows
Mill Meadows, Bedford Embankment @ 3pm

Music in the Meadows
Music in the Meadows (photo taken pre-Covid)

Mill Meadowns’ bandstand concerts return this Sunday with the Rushden Mission Band playing the first of this season’s Music in the Meadows series.

At 3pm on every Sunday in August, come rain or shine, there will be a performance in the bandstand on the Embankment in Bedford.

So, gather your family, pack a picnic, pull up a deckchair and enjoy some traditional entertainment.

Monday 7 to Friday 11 August 2023

Theatre workshop: Hot in Here
The Place Theatre @ 10am
Tickets: £10

This week-long workshop for young people explores the joys & challenges of creating theatre for outdoor space. Working with the participants to develop & devise a brand new piece of performance, informed by their own voices, and exploring climate change, sustainability & the future of the planet.

Taking place over five days, there will be a showcase presentation to parents/guardians on the final day.  For 10-15 year olds.

Tuesday 8 August 2023

On the water: EyeSpy Cruise
John Bunyan Boat, Sovereigns Quay @ 12pm, 1.45pm & 3pm
Tickets: £7 adult/£4.50 child (plus booking fee)

Gran and granddaughter enjoying the Eye Spy Cruise on the John Bunyan Community Boat.

Keep the kids busy this summer holiday with the John Bunyan Family EyeSpy cruises. While you relax, the boat will cruise by Bedford’s landmarks along the Embankment amid the river wildlife. ncluded in the child cruise ticket is the John Bunyan community boat I-SPY card so you can tick off the landmarks that you spot.

Tuesday 8 August 2023

Creative workshop: Pack Your Bag
The Higgins Bedford, Castle Lane @ 11.15am, 12.45pm and 2.15pm
£5 per child (use promotional code HIGGINS30 to avoid any transaction fee)

Create a fascinating suitcase and decide what to pack for a fantastic journey in this collage activity with local artist and paper sculptor Jacqui Saunders-Love.

Wednesday 9 August 2023

Spoken word: Speak Up, Speak Out
POP Bedford, 5 Midland Road @ 7.30pm
Free to attend

Abbi Jinks is a local writer, performance poet and spoken word artist and she is passionate about helping others to use their voice to share their words and be seen and be heard.

This is a two-part session with a poetry performance workshop first, followed by an open mic where participants can share their words. This is a safe space to try out new skills for getting on the stage and speaking out your own words.

Abbi’s skills and experience in presenting, performing and coaching will all come together in this evening session to encourage and inspire people to use their voice to ‘Speak up and Speak out’.

This is for any creative who wants to practice speaking up and sharing their work. Abbi will also be hosting an online writing workshop in preparation for this event. (Date tbc)

Thursday 10 August 2023

Family fun: Seed Bombs and Herby Play-dough Workshop
POP Bedford, 5 Midland Road @ 10am – noon
Pay what you can

The Good Life Garden’s ‘create and explore’ sessions at Pride of Place Bedford give families the chance to spend time together.

At this family-friendly event, come and get creative using mother nature’s resources and create wildflower seed bombs and herby playdough.  

All ages welcome (baby toys also provided). Pay what you can! Everybody is welcome.

Thursday 10 August 2023

Family fun: Family takeover
POP Bedford @ 10am – 5pm
Free to attend

As part of the Pride of Place Bedford ‘Artist takeover’ week, the whole space will turn into a shared artist studio environment, and on 10 August the doors will be thrown open to children (and their adults).

Children are free to explore their creative side and unleash their inner artist. Choose from a mountain of materials to paint, draw, glue, collage and make art together in the town centre studio. 

This session will be led by local artists Anne-Marie Abbate and Fiona Wilson.

Drop in anytime during opening hours:  10am – 5pm. 

This session will be running alongside A Good Life Garden’s Herby playdough workshop in the morning.  

Thursday 10 August 2023

Workshop: Bootsy’s Burlesque Feel-Good Workshop
POP Bedford, 5 Midland Road @ 6.30pm
Tickets: £9

Bootsy leads this fun and empowering session, where you will learn the showgirl basics of shimmies, bumps, grinds and more! No need for dance experience; the focus here is enjoyment and celebration.

Burlesque artist Bootsy Bonafonte is the good-time rebel showgirl. A force to be reckoned with, she serves up plenty of old Hollywood glamour with rock and roll. Her repertoire includes classic and neo-burlesque, and her performances create a contagious sense of the fantastical. A regular with House of Burlesque, 100 Watt Club and other production houses throughout London and the U.K., she is a delight that audiences love.

Please wear comfortable (and fabulous if you so choose) clothing, and bring some water with you. Option to wear heels for the session, just make sure you can move/walk comfortably in them.

Friday 11 August 2023

Live music: The Urban Voodoo Machine + guests
Bedford Esquires @ 7.30pm
Tickets: £15

Sprawling London collective The Urban Voodoo Machine will be bringing their Bourbon soaked gypsy blues bopʼnʼstroll to Bedford Esquires this August as they celebrate their 20th year as a band! The show follows the release of their fifth studio album ʻ$nake Oi£ Engin€’ – released in November 2022.

“Quite possibly the best show you’ll ever see!”- Classic Rock

“A great mix of Preservation Hall jazz, Eastern European folk and rock’n’roll” – Rock & Reel

Friday 11 August 2023

Live music: Joe Cullen
The Cellar Bar @ 8.30pm (bar open from 6pm)
Free entry

Playing covers by Ed Sheeran, The 1975, Oasis, Harry Styles, The Killers and Coldplay, you won’t want to miss Joe at the Cellar Bar.

Saturday 12 August 2023

Workshop: Brave 2023 – Youth Theatre for All
The Place Theatre @ various times according to age group
Tickets: free

The Place Youth Theatre meets weekly to develop the skills of creative young people, tell stories, and make new friends.

They’re looking for creative young people to become the first participants in a brand new Youth Theatre, so if you want to use your imagination to explore the world, you can audition to take part in our weekly workshops.

Sessions will cover all kinds of storytelling from stage to screen, inside performance spaces to outdoor performance, and for audiences of 1 to crowds of 100s. You don’t have to be experienced, you just need to be interested and excited about developing your skills as a performer, director, designer, technician, writer… and if you want to bring your own creative skills to the mix with other creative young people BRAVE could be just what you’re looking for.

Saturday 12 August 2023

7.5 mile circular walk through Pictshill Estate and Stevington.

Saturday 12 August 2023

Theatre: Pandora’s Box
The Place Theatre Outdoors @ 6pm
Tickets: from £10

Ever wondered what’s in the box? The one on the top shelf? Why is it there? Why were you told not to look it in? Could it really be so bad? 

With a plethora of costume changes, a pantheon of Gods and a prohibited peek into a pithos, The Last Baguette Theatre Company retell the preposterous and problematic story of Pandora.

A gallop through Greek mythology featuring goofy gods, hilarious heroines & daft deities. Join the Baguettes as they lift the lid on this classic myth with physical comedy, visual storytelling, live music, un-Apollo-getically bad puns and lo-fi special effects.

A show for anyone aged 6 to 126 who’s ever asked why.

Sunday 13 August 2023

Shopping: Bedford Flea, Affordable Art and Local Produce Market
St Paul’s Square @ 10am

It’s August, which means it’s the fifth instalment of Bedford’s most vibrant market…

You probably know the drill by now, BUT, the Local Produce section will still have the best of Bedford and beyond; locally grown flowers, fresh bread, chutneys & jams, hot sauces, cakes & bakes, wooden kitchen boards, artisan food and drink including authentic biltong and nut butters, local cider, gin and rum, plus body care, candles & home fragrance!

The Affordable Art section will be filled with 12 different artists, from painters to illustrators, abstracts to printmakers.

And the Flea section is FULL of the best antiques, vintage, collectables, clothing, records and all the treasures you never knew you needed!

Feeling peckish after all that shopping?! This month’s food offerings inlclude Pete and Pam the Pizza Van of Fold Me Close, serving delicious Neapolitan-style pizzas, and Adam from A Vegetative State who’ll be bringing you a fully vegan menu.

Need to slake your thirst? Franki’s Aperitivo Bar in their cool van Dina will be serving an array of hot and cold drinks, cocktails and mocktails and boozy iced coffees too.

AND of course, there’s the ‘Seeing Eye Music Stage’ where you can enjoy free live music whilst you browse.

Sunday 13 August 2023

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

Hometown tourist
Castle Mound

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 13 August 2023

Open garden: Howbury Hall garden opening
Renhold @ 2pm – 5pm
Tickets £6 (in aid of The Friends of St Paul’s Church, Bedford).
Children under 12 Free. Entry via front drive off the A4280/St Neots Rd.

A late Victorian garden with mature trees, sweeping lawns and herbaceous borders. The large walled garden is run as a cut flower business in one half and to growing a variety of vegetables in the other half. There are also fruit trees. Tea and cakes also available.

Sunday 13 August 2023

Live music: Music in the Meadows
Mill Meadows, Bedford Embankment @ 3pm

May Blossom Vintage Songbird returns to Mill Meadowns’ bandstand this Sunday, so, gather your family, pack a picnic, pull up a deckchair and enjoy some traditional entertainment.

Sunday 13 August 2023

Community: Introduction to Bedford Radio
POP Bedford, 5 Midland Road @ 6 – 7pm
Free to attend

Bedford Radio is the local radio station for Bedford, currently online and launching on DAB soon.

Come and meet some of the team and find out all about the station and their vision for a local radio station for Bedford.

Open to anyone who might want to support the station, listen to the station, get involved as a volunteer on-air presenting, off-air producing, behind the scenes or if you just want to find out more about life running a radio station.  

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

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

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