What’s on Bedford: 30 March – 9 April 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.


Thursday 30 March 2023

Theatre: NTLive presents The Life of Pi
The Quarry Theatre @ 7pm
Tickets: from £12.50

Puppetry, magic and storytelling combine in a unique, Olivier Award-winning stage adaptation of the best-selling novel.

After a cargo ship sinks in the middle of the vast Pacific Ocean, a 16-year-old boy named Pi is stranded on a lifeboat with four other survivors – a hyena, a zebra, an orangutan and a Royal Bengal tiger. Time is against them, nature is harsh, who will survive?

Filmed live in London’s West End and featuring state-of-the-art visuals, the epic journey of endurance and hope is bought to life in a breath-taking new way.


Thursday 30 March 2023

Live music: Jazz Jam
3 St Peter’s, Bedford, MK40 2PN @ 7pm
Free for member’s and their guests/£7.50 for non-members.

In keeping with the impromptu spirit of the genre, a group of talented local jazz musicians have launched a Jazz Jam at 3 St Peter’s.

Come and enjoy the sounds of their 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.


Friday 31 March – 10 April 2023

Family fun: Free Easter trail
Bedford town centre
Free

Are you ready to go on an egg hunt? BedfordBID hosts this year’s Easter Trail which features 12 locations across the town centre. Collect your trail map from Creams Cafe (High Street) Aconchego Portuguese (Church Arcade) Bedford Central Library or Sundaes Gelato (Silver Square)

Hunt for eggs hiding in the windows of the numbered locations on the map. Kiddies can draw the image they find onto their trail map.

When all the eggs have been discovered around town, head back to Creams Cafe on the High Street where little ones will receive a sticker and a FREE! Easter-themed ice cream treat for every completed trail map.

For more info and the option to download your own map to print out at home, visit lovebedford.co.uk/Easter.php.


Friday 31 March 2023

Live music: The Blow Monkeys
Bedford Esquries @ 7pm
Tickets: £20/£25

With hits like Digging Your Scene and It Doesn’t Have To Be This Way, The Blow Monkeys epitomised the glamour of mid-80s pop at its most graceful and sophisticated.

In the band’s frontman Robert Howard (aka Dr. Robert), they possessed a tall, charismatic singer who was both camera-friendly and clever, who appeared to be just as much at ease on the catwalk that is pop’s conveyer belt as he was penning witty, incisive songs.

While quite clearly Robert’s band, though, the Blow Monkeys are also gifted three immensely talented musicians in bassist Mick Anker, saxophonist Neville Henry and drummer Crispin ‘The Pump’ Taylor.

The Blow Monkeys openly criticised the policies of the 1980’s Conservative government, railing against social injustices and adopting an openly left-of-centre stance on issues of the day. From openly endorsing the gay community Digging Your Scene to an outright attack on Margaret Thatcher Celebrate (The Day After You) – a duet with the late, great Curtis Mayfield, The Blow Monkeys were always the thinking person’s pop group.


Friday 31 March 2023

Live Music: Roxze
The Cellar Bar @ 8.30pm
Free Entry

Roxze performs an evening of soulful hits at the Cellar Bar on Bedford High Street.


Friday 31 March 2023

Live music: Mista Trick Collective
Bedford Esquires @ 8pm
Tickets: £12 – £15

Mista Trick Collective is a high-energy seven-piece swing & bass band at the forefront of the scene across the UK and Europe.

This musical fusion is in a league of its own, taking swing & bass to the next level. Mixing vintage, vaudeville vibes with distinctly down and dirty drum & bass, the resulting sound is like the lovechild of a wartime knees-up in an underground rave!


Saturday 1 April – Sunday 16 April 2023

Family crafts: Free Easter crafts
Bedford Borough libraries – Bedford Central, Bromham, Kempston, Putnoe, Wootton
Free

From Saturday 1 to Sunday 16 April, families are invited to visit Bedford Borough Libraries for free fun craft activities. Bedford Central, Bromham, Kempston, Putnoe, and Wootton libraries all have activities planned.

Crafts include making Easter bunting, Easter wreaths, and butterfly bracelets. There will also be Lego clubs in all the libraries.

Bedford Central Library also has a special Easter Story Time on Wednesday 5 April 11:30am – 12:00pm.


Saturday 1 April 2023

Walk: North Bedfordshire Ramblers’ weekly walk
Great Denham Park & Ride MK40 4FA @ 1.30pm
Free

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)

Seven-mile walk. South to Kempston Mill, Church Lane to Church End then Bunyan Trail to Hanger Wood. Through Bromham, down to Biddenham and Great Denham.

For more information contact Margaret Sawyer 07780 933729.


Saturday 1 April 2023

Exhibition: Linen and Lace
Panacea Museum @ 11am – 5pm (Thursday – Sunday)
Free entry

A temporary exhibition featuring Panacea Society home textiles, needlework and many items never displayed before. This is in collaboration with an exhibition at The Higgins Bedford.


Saturday 1 April 2023

Drag: Extravaganza Bedford featuring Crystal from Ru Paul’s Drag Race
Bedford Esquires @ 7pm
Tickets: £14

Bedford’s best drag, burlesque and performance art show is back for another outing at Esquires and their special guest is Crystal, as seen on RuPaul’s Drag Race UK.

The night features a full cabaret show starring: Ginger Snaps, Edgar Allen Hoe, Bootsy Bonafontè plus the legendary Extravaganza ‘best dressed’ competition. If you impress the judges you’ll win a prize.
Special meet and greet ‘Crystal’ tickets available (7pm – 8pm) including a posed photograph and a chance to meet and chat to the Drag Race star.
LGBTQ safe space.

Saturday 1 April 2023

Live Music: The Mojo Slide
The Cellar Bar @ 8.30pm
Free Entry

Formed in late 2011, The Mojo Slide is a group of musicians united in their passion for blues-inspired alternative music.

Hailing from Cambridge and St Neots they write all their own music and play a mixture of classic rock ‘n’ roll, blues/rock and blues rooted alternative.


Sunday 2 April to Monday 3 April 2023

Children’s Theatre: Wind in the Willows
The Quarry Theatre @ 5pm (2 April) & 2pm ( 3 April)
Tickets: from £10

From the peaceful pleasures of Ratty’s beloved river bank to the fearful frights and wicked weasels of the Wild Wood, join Mole and Ratty on their marvellous adventures, along with gruff old Badger and magnificent Mr.Toad.

A beautiful new adaptation of Kenneth Grahame’s much loved classic by award winning theatre company Box Tale Soup, featuring wonderful puppetry, innovative theatre and a charming original score.
Age guidance: 4+


Sunday 2 April 2023

Easter: Holy Week – Palm Sunday
St Paul’s Church, St Paul’s Square

St Pauls Church
St Paul’s Church is in the heart of Bedford town centre

Holy Week begins at St Paul’s Church with the Palm Sunday Procession from St Mary’s Gardens at 9.55am followed by the Eucharist at 10.15am

Passiontide Readings and Music @ 5.30pm.


Sunday 2 April 2023

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

Mat Roberts hosts the Cellar Bar’s regular Sunday Open Mic Night.


Sunday 2 April 2023

Poetry: Read Poets Society – Spring 2023
The Eagle Bookshop @ 7pm
Tickets: Free but please book via The Place Theatre website

Join the Read Poets Society for their monthly poetry reading of poems reflecting the season. This monthly event takes place at The Eagle Bookshop in St Peter’s Street.


Monday 3 – Easter Sunday 2023

Easter: Holy Week
St Paul’s Church, St Paul’s Square

St Pauls Church
St Paul’s Church is in the heart of Bedford town centre

Devotionals @ 7.30pm
Monday 3 April, Tuesday 4 April, Wednesday 5 April

Maundy Thursday 6 April
Eucharist, Washing of Feet & Vigil to Midnight@ 7.30pm

Good Friday 7 April
Liturgy of the Cross @ 1.30pm

Holy Saturday 8 April
Confessions in Trinity Chapel @ 10am
Lighting of the Easter Fire, Paschal Vigil and Eucharist @ 8.00pm

Easter Day Sunday 9 April
Choral Eucharist @ 10.15am


Monday 3 April – Thursday 6 April 2023

Theatre workshop: Time to Travel
The Place Theatre @ 10am
Tickets: £30 for all sessions

Who doesn’t want to time travel and discover about our past…or future world! For young people in School Years 5, 6, 7 and 8. (nine-13yrs).

Using different texts and scripts, the Standing In The Wings tutors will take students on a journey to discover ways to create art using physical theatre skills along with developing other key skills.

Taking place over four days, there will be a showcase presentation to parents/guardians on the final day. Wraparound care is available Monday to Wednesday 8.30am – 5.30pm with the workshops taking place 10am – 5pm with pre/post-event chill-out sessions with adult supervision.

Thursday will run 10am – 7pm with workshops taking place 12pm – 6pm (pre-event chill out 10-12 and showcase 6-7pm).


Monday 3 April 2023

Film: Bedford Film Society presents – Hit the Road
Main Theatre, University of Bedfordshire, Polhilll Avenue @ 7.30pm
Tickets: Special offer half-season membership £35/day membership £5/free parking

Described as ‘masterful’, this award-winning Iranian film follows a middle-aged couple and their two sons as they embark on a road trip across the countryside.

Over the course of their journey, they bond over memories of the past, grapple with fears of the unknown and fuss over their sick dog.


Tuesday 4 April 2023

On the water: EyeSpy Cruise
John Bunyan Boat, Priory Marina @ 12pm, 1.45pm & 3pm
Tickets: Adult £7.00 Child £4.50

The John Bunyan Community Boat on the River Great Ouse with Bedford's Castle Mound in the background
The John Bunyan Community Boat

Keep the kids busy this Easter holiday with the John Bunyan Family EyeSpy cruises – the perfect way to relax on a cruise through the countryside and enjoy the wildlife on the Great River Ouse.

Included in the child cruise ticket is the John Bunyan community boat I-SPY card.


Wednesday 5 April 2023

Film: Cinema @ 3 St Peter’s presents – Monty Python’s Life of Brian
3 St Peter’s Street @ 7pm
Tickets: £12/£10.50/£9/£6

A young man, Brian, who was born one stable down and on the same night as Jesus, becomes intrigued by a young rebel, Judith.

To try and impress her, Brian joins the independence movement against the Romans, the People’s Front of Judea. However, in an attempt to hide from the Romans, he relays some of the teachings he heard from Jesus, which ends up spurring a crowd to believe he is the Messiah. While trying to get rid of his followers and reunite with Judith, he embarks on several misadventures because he’s not the Messiah, he’s a very naughty boy.


Wednesday 5 April 2023

Comedy: Jesterlarf Comedy Club – Fringe
Bedford Esquires @ 8pm
Tickets: £13.75

This month’s edition of the Club’s residency at Esquires is called “Comedy Connoisseurs” and it cooks up a taste of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival with a show packed with stand-up, cabaret and left-field surreal…strap yourself in for an entertaining night of jokes, shock, gutter filth, maybe utter bemusement and an avalanche of top quality funny performers.

Host of the show is the delightful, glamorous and endearing potty-mouth Queen of side-splitting stand up filth Ninia Benjamin who’ll be accompanied by Jeff Innocent (UK Comedian of the Year 2021) who is simply one of the best acts in the country and has been for the last ten years plus with his original, unique and razor sharp wit which is unrivalled and like Alan Bennett writing an episode of Minder…with a pathological dislike of Crocs and rascists despite looking like winner of Butlins Holiday Camp ‘Most Rascist Looking Baby 1957”

There will be song and cabaret from Frank Sanazi and Tom Mones and left-field surrealism and silliness from Dan Lees (winner of Edinburgh Fringe Comic Originality Award).

Footnote: remember just because an act has been on TV doesn’t mean they are that funny…Piers Morgan is on TV all the time.


Wednesday 5 April 2023

Comedy: Simon Munnery Guest Headliner + 3 acts
The Cellar Bar @ 7.30pm
£10.00 includes a drink. Limited availability.

Host Simon Hall welcomes guests to an eclectic evening of stand-up, featuring the hilarious Dan Jones and Kimberly Policella, the musical stylings of Clayton Harrison and on top of that, special-guest headliner Simon Munnery, as seen on Have I got News for You, Mock the Week and Live at the Apollo.

This is a ticketed event – £10 per person, including a drink on arrival. Over 18s only.


Thursday 6 April 2023

Quiz: Esquire’s monthly Music Quiz
Bedford Esquires @ 8.30pm
£2/person – teams of up to six people

Hosted by Pete Burridge, Esquires’ legendary music quiz features music from the 1950’s to the present day.

Teams of up to six people compete for a cash prize.

The first round starts at 8.30pm, early arrival advised as this event gets very busy.


Thursday 6 April 2023

Live music: ABBA tribute – Waterloo Duo
3 St Peter’s, Bedford, MK402PN @ 7.30pm
Tickets: £7.50/member and £12.50/non-member

“Thank you for the music!”  Waterloo Duo is back again and what better way to kick off the Bank Holiday weekend than with an Abba party?
The talented tribute duo will be singing and dancing their way through Abba’s iconic back catalogue. Voulez-Vous be there! Seats won’t be reserved so come early to guarantee a table.

Optional dress code: ABBA inspired retro.


Friday 7 April 2023

Family fun: Dinosaur Adventure Live
Bedford Corn Exchange @ 2pm and 4.30pm
Tickets: £14

The Greatest Prehistoric Show on Earth has been 65 million years in the making… Are you ready for the adventure?

Join the intrepid Dinosaur Adventurers as they journey to a world of living, breathing, life-like Dinosaurs.

Walk through the Jurassic era on an unforgettable interactive experience as you are introduced to some of the most incredible species ever to have lived on Earth. Feel the excitement of meeting real life-like Dinosaurs face-to-face and hearing the tremendous roar of a T-Rex.

Learn their history and even feed them but watch out – you could be on the menu.


Friday 7 April 2023

Live music: Guns 2 Roses – the ultimate Guns n’Roses tribute band
Bedford Esquires @ 7.30pm
Tickets: £12

If you’re a GN’R fan then this is the night for you. One of the only tribute bands to have actually played live on stage with four members of Guns N’Roses themselves.


Friday 7 April 2023

Live music: Danni Nicholls Band
Bedford Esquires @ 7pm
Tickets: £10
Now fully recovered from Covid, Danni hits up Esquires for this rescheduled show.
Having recently relocated to Nashville, award-nominated singer/songwriter and Bedford native Danni Nicholls returns for a hometown show with a full band.
With songs to make you move, weep and smile there’s something for everyone…her powerful self-penned songs span the Americana spectrum.

With comparisons to artists such as Linda Ronstadt, Brandi Carlile and Roseanne Cash, Danni’s vibrant, captivating performances are all but guaranteed to melt your heart into the soles of your (cowboy) boots. Her passionate delivery, captivating voice, mesmerising guitar skills and charmingly engaging between-song banter compel you to fall under her spell.


Friday 7 April 2023

Live music: Frenzy + single launch
The Cellar Bar @ 8.30pm
Free Entry

Describing themselves as a cross between Jilted John, the B52’s and Bob Dylan, Frenzy promise to deliver anight to remember. They are also launching their first single, so join them to help celebrate.


Friday 7 April 2023

Dance music: Give Me Garage presents The Artful Dodger + DJ Sean Harvey
Bedford Corn Exchange @ 9pm
Tickets: £20

The Artful Dodger DJ and MC Alistair  take centre stage for the headline set with UK Garage Legend MC KIE performing alongside Bedford’s very own UKG rising star DJ Sean Harvey.

Sidewinder and Flex FM’s Twista and Dappz will also be bringing their unique and energetic vibes with a host of special guests to be announced leading up to the show.

There’s nothing like a good old skank out to some quality UK Garage with your friends and loved ones and with state-of-the-art sound and lighting production, this event is sure to make its mark on the ravers in attendance.


Saturday 8 April 2023

Easter activities: Easter bonnet-making workshop
The Panacea Museum @11am- 4pm
Free entry

Bookable activity sessions, creating themed hats inspired by the ladies of the Panacea


Saturday 8 April 2023

North Bedfordshire Ramblers’ weekly walk
Cranfield Church MK43 0DR @ 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)

Six-mile walk. Walking through the countryside around Cranfield. For more information contact Margaret Sawyer 07780 933729.


Saturday 8 April 2023

Theatre: Yippee Ki Yay
The Quarry Theatre @ 7.30pm
Tickets:from £13.50

The acclaimed retelling of the classic film Die Hard from Richard Marsh – Fringe First-winner, London poetry slam champion, BBC Audio Drama Best Scripted Comedy Drama award-winner and New York cop (one of these is untrue).

This joyfully funny show heads out on tour following rave reviews for its premiere at the Edinburgh Fringe, which also won it a London transfer.

When gunmen seize an LA skyscraper, off-duty policeman John McClane is the hostages’ only hope. This uplifting action romp (and unauthorised parody) pays affectionate tribute to the iconic 80s festive fan favourite. Essential viewing for Hans Gruber superfans and newcomers alike.


Saturday 8 April 2023

Live Music: Triple Header – Black Ridge/Crossroader/DJ Funk
The Cellar Bar @ 7.00pm. Special late licence until 2AM.
Free Entry

What better way to celebrate the Easter weekend than a triple header? Kicking off the night is Black Ridge, a teenage band with talent beyond their years who will have you in the party mood in no time.

Cambridge rock band, Crossroader – featuring Cellar Bar regular Mr Hugo St Ledger on drums – already have nine studio releases and countless live performances under their belts. They’re followed by DJ Funk taking things through til close.


Saturday 8 April 2023

Live music: The Bluetones – acoustic
Bedford Esquires @ 7.30pm
Tickets: £20

The Bluetones’ frontman Mark Morriss and his partner in crime Adam Devlin are taking their ‘Bluetones Acoustic’ show back out on the road this spring and will be making a ‘Slight Return’ to Bedford Esquires on Saturday 8 April.

The band, formed in 1993, had an impressive run of hit singles throughout the late 90’s/early 00’s, including ’Bluetonic’, ‘Slight Return’, ‘Marblehead Johnson’, ‘Solomon Bites The Worm’, ‘If’ and ‘Keep the Fires Burning’. They scored thirteen Top 40 singles and three Top 10 albums in the UK charts before a hiatus in 2010.

Returning in 2015 with a run sell out shows the band continue to tour to packed houses up and down the UK.  This is a unique chance to hear the classics stripped back with shows at more intimate venues the band don’t usually play.


Saturday 8 April 2023

Live music: ABBA Forever
Bedford Corn Exchange @ 7.30pm
Tickets: £22.50/£12.50

Non-stop choreography, sunning visuals, top cluss musicianship and the unforgettable music – Forever ABBA is one of the UK’s leading tribute shows, captivating audiences from the opening refrain to the final sing-along chorus of this two-hour spectacular.


Saturday 8 April 2023

Live music: Joe Bygraves
Bedford Esquires @ 8pm
Tickets: £8

Local singer-songwriter Joe Bygraves returns to Esquires for his first headline show. With his guitar-driven pop anthems, Joe has been making waves in the music industry in the last few years, supporting Paloma Faith, Ronan Keating, Frank Turner and Jools Holland to name a few.

Joe has become a regular on the local festival scene with several appearances at Bedford Park Proms.

With now over 230k Spotify streams, Joe is back for 2023 with a bang….and some brand new music – which has already featured on BBC Introducing.


Sunday 9 April 2023

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

The Workshop Boys – formed by original members of Los Marbles and Cuttin’ Out and one of Bedford’s most popular bar bands – are welcomed back to Esquires for the Sunday Afternoon Session.


Sunday 9 April 2023

Wildlife: Gordon Buchanan – 30 Years in the Wild
Bedford Corn Exchange @ 7.30pm
Tickets: £25/£22

After a sell-out tour last year, Gordon Buchanan is going back on tour.

One of the most prominent wildlife presenters and filmmakers working today, Gordon’s journey is a remarkable story to tell. Having produced some of the most popular wildlife programmes on the BBC, we have been able to see his incredible passion for the animal kingdom and the unique ability he has for presenting such hidden animal worlds to an audience.

Gordon will be taking a look back at his incredible 30 years working both behind and in front of the camera. This will be a rare opportunity to discover what has driven his career and what are his most favourite wildlife encounters.


Until April 2023

Art and culture: Changing Times: A century of modern British art
The Higgins Bedford
Free entry

Some of the most well-loved British artists of the 20th and 21st centuries feature in a new exhibition at the Higgins Bedford on Castle Lane this autumn.

From Eric Ravilious, Edward Bawden and Paul Nash to Elisabeth Frink, David Hockney and Lucian Freud, the exhibition brings together some of the biggest names in British art, and explores its history since the 20th century.

Changing Times: A Century of Modern British Art is the first large-scale exhibition since the post-pandemic reopening of The Higgins Bedford.

Read more: David Hockney and Lucian Freud shine in new Higgins autumn exhibition


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