What’s on Bedford: 31 August – 10 September

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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.

This week’s What’s On Guide is sponsored by Sundown Cinema, who are once again at the Bedford Running Festival with outdoor screenings from 1 – 3 September. See more details on our listing below.


Thursday 31 August 2023

Live music: Planet Swing
Wixams Dance Hall @ 8pm
£12/person, live music from top-quality Swing & Jive Bands Band + DJ from 8-10:30pm.

This week the Last Chance Ragtime Band, is a stomping Lindy Hop Jazz Band playing the best swing music and dedicated to putting jazz on the dance floor.

Taking their inspiration from the New Orleans Jazz Bands of Frenchman Street, they’ll play music from the likes of Jelly Roll Morton, Ella, Benny Goodman, Louis Prima, Louis Armstrong and Hoagy Carmichael.

Free Parking for dance/band attendees. Licenced cashless bar.

Thursday 31 August 2023

Live music: United by Music tour presents Newton Faulkner
Bedford Esquires @ 7:30pm
Tickets: £28

Esquires has teamed up with The National Lottery and Music Venue Trust for a #UnitedByMusic summer show with the brilliant, platinum-selling artist, Newton Faulkner.


Friday 1 – Sunday 3 September 2023

Film: Sundown Cinema at Bedford Running Festival
Russell Park
Tickets: £15/£11/£5.50/£1.50

Sundown Cinema is once again teaming up with the Bedford Running Festival to bring their open-air cinema to Russell Park.

There’s a screening for everyone, from day time family screenings – perfect for the little ones – to an evening screening – perfect for a night under the stars.

This year’s films are:

Friday 1 September: Top Gun @ 8pm
Saturday 2 September: Matilda the Musical @ 10am
Saturday 2 September: Super Mario Bros @ 1.30pm
Sunday 3 September: Encanto @ 11am

All tickets can be booked at TicketSource.


Friday 1 September 2023

Comedy: Ed Byrne: Tragedy Plus Time
The Quarry Theatre @ 7.30pm
Tickets: from £22.50

Attributed to Mark Twain, humour is defined as Tragedy Plus Time. Come and join Ed as he tests that formula by mining the most tragic event in his life for laughs.


Friday 1 September 2023

Live music: Robyn Hitchcock + guests
Bedford Esquires @ 7.30pm
Tickets: £16

Robyn Hitchcock is one of England’s most enduring contemporary singer/songwriters and live performers. A surrealist poet, talented guitarist, cult artist and musician’s musician, Hitchcock is among alternative rock’s father figures and is the closest thing the genre has to a Bob Dylan.

Since founding the art-rock band The Soft Boys in 1976, Robyn has recorded more than 20 albums as well as starred in ‘Storefront Hitchcock’ an in-concert film recorded in New York and directed by Jonathan Demme.

Blending folk and psychedelia with a wry British nihilism, Robyn describes his songs as ‘paintings you can listen to’.


Friday 1 September 2023

Live music: United by Music Tour presents Rhoda Dakar
Bedford Esquires @ 7.30pm
Tickets: £8.50

2-Tone legend, former lead singer with The Bodysnatchers, collaborator with The Specials and The Special AKA, Rhoda Dakar is coming to Bedford as part of the Music Venue Trust’s United By Music tour.


Friday 1 September 2023

Live Music: www.thecellarbarbedford.co.uk
The Cellar Bar @ 8.00pm. Doors open at 6.00pm.
Free entry

The Cellar Bar is super excited to welcome Duzzy Avocado. Combining original songs with some inquisitive covers, thoughtfully dipped in folk and country, with intricate 3-part harmonies and vivid violin melodies.

Duzzy Avocado 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, bound to become your new favourite band and are almost certainly not one to be missed.


Saturday 2 & Sunday 3 September 2023

Sport/family fun: Bedford Run Festival 2023
Russell Park @ all weekend

The Bedford Running Festival is more than just a running event, it’s where running meets festival fun and magical memories (and PBs) are made.

Throughout the weekend there will be epic races as well as food, fun, films and entertainment for the whole family.

When it comes to running, you can choose from the Raring2Go mini-mile, Bedford 5k, Twilight 10k, Bedford half marathon or the Bedford 20. If you’re more into the relaxed, festival vibe, Russell Park will host the UK’s biggest mobile bar, live music, food and drink, outdoor cinema, health and wellbeing zone and a kids’ funfair.


Saturday 2 and Sunday 3 September 2023

Comic Con: NICE Comic Con
Bedford Corn Exchange @ 10am – 5.30pm (Saturday) and 11am – 5pm (Sunday)
Tickets: £26.50/£12.50 (weekend ticket) / £16.50/£6.50 (day ticket)

NICE is the UK’s most relaxed comic convention, run by the team behind the Close Encounters shop on Allhallows.

With visitors congregating from all over the world, come and meet the stars of the comic book world, including over 30 world-renowned artists from Marvel, DC, Image and more.

Read: Annual comic-con brings international artists to Bedford


Saturday 2 September 2023

Theatre: NTLive presents Fleabag
The Quarry Theatre @ 2pm & 7pm
Tickets: £15

Written and performed by Phoebe Waller-Bridge (Fleabag, Killing Eve, Raiders of the Lost Ark) and directed by Vicky Jones, Fleabag is a rip-roaring look at some sort of woman living her sort of life. Following a box-office record-breaking run in cinemas in 2019, the one-woman
show returns to cinemas to the big screen this summer.

Fleabag may seem oversexed, emotionally unfiltered and self-obsessed, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. With family and friendships under strain and a guinea pig café struggling to keep afloat, Fleabag suddenly finds herself with nothing to lose.


Saturday 2 September 2023

Live music: TRANSMISSION – The Sound Of Joy Division + The Velvets
Bedford Esquires @ 7.30pm
Tickets: £12

Devoted to recreating the atmosphere of a live Joy Division gig, Transmission emulates the sound of one of the most inventive, evocative and influential groups of their era.

Joy Division were formed in the late 1970s and dissolved in May 1980 after the suicide of lead singer Ian Curtis. The remaining members went on to form New Order and have achieved much critical and commercial success.

The influence of Joy Division, however, was far-reaching. They were considered the pioneering band of the post-punk movement of the late 1970s and early 1980s. Forty years on you can still relive the dark, cavernous sound of Joy Division through Transmission, the UK’s number one Joy Division tribute act.


Until Saturday 2 September

Opera: Bedfordshire Youth Opera presents: Cinderella (Cendrillon)
University of Bedfordshire theatre, Polhill Avenue @ 7.00pm
Tickets: £20. Under 18: £12

Bedfordshire Youth Opera are excited to announce their 2023 production will be Jules Massenet’s Cinderella (Cendrillon) in English translation. Performed by talented young singers aged between 14 and 26 years.

This opera is based on the classic tale and includes all the usual characters and some of the events: the sisters, the stepmother, the father, Prince Charming, Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother and a grand ball. However, in this tale, after the ball Cinderella and Prince Charming get lost in the woods, and when Cinderella wakes from a deep sleep, she finds herself back at home in bed. Was the whole thing a dream?


Sunday 3 September 2023

Walking: “The Jewel in Bedford’s Crown” 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 90 minutes to two hours in 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 3 September 2023

Outdoors: River Picnic
Queens Bridge, Kempston (what3words: PAINTS.HUMBLE.TUNED) @ 1pm & 4pm
Free to attend, no booking is required

River Great Ouse Swans and Boats Image Bedford Creative Arts (BCA)
Image: Bedford Creative Arts (BCA)

As part of their River/Flow/Connect programme of delivery, Bedford Creative Arts is working with riverside communities to understand their relationship with the River Great Ouse and their communities.

This community picnic will give locals a chance to talk about the river and the BCA’s longer-term sculptural space vision for the future as part of our programme. They have commissioned a local artist to design and build a small sculpture to be the focal point of a community/consultation event for inspiration.

Individuals will be able to talk to the BCA team through creative consultation regarding the river, the impact on the community, the environment and sculpture through a digital and physical survey.


Sunday 3 September 2023

Game Play: Wifi Wars
The Place Theatre @ 2pm & 6pm
Tickets: from £10

WiFi Wars returns with the live comedy game show where you all play along! Log in with your smartphone or tablet and compete in a range of games, puzzles and quizzes to win the show and prizes.

Hosted by comedian Steve McNeil (team captain on UK TV’s hit comedy/gaming show “Dara O’Brian’s Go 8 Bit”) and aided by Guinness-World-Record-Breaking tech whizz, the award-winning Rob Sedgebeer.


Wednesday 6 September 2023

Walking: “Tales of the Tower and the Steeple – a tour of St Paul’s and St Peter’s” guided walk
Bedford Town Centre @ 11am at the gold postbox in St Paul’s Square
Tickets: £3/£1.50

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

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.


Wednesday 6 September 2023

The first of Cinema at 3 St Peters’ ‘LA season’ is the Oscar-winning crime drama, L.A. Confidential.

Three detectives from LAPD investigate multiple homicides. While unearthing the evidence and the suspects, the trail leads to corruption in their own department.


Thursday 31 August 2023

Live music: Planet Swing
Wixams Dance Hall @ 8pm
£12/person, live music from top-quality Swing & Jive Bands Band + DJ from 8-10:30pm.

The Untouchables are champions of raw blues, basing their sound on the swinging soul of the great artists who recorded for Chess Records in the 50s.

When The Untouchables take to the stage you’ll be transported back to the days of rent parties and rumbas when the great blues masters kept them dancing ‘til the early hours.

Expect an intimate show, drawing you into the place where blues, jazz and Latin rhythms meet.


Thursday 7 September 2023

Live music: The Courettes + guests
Bedford Esquires @ 7.30pm
Tickets: £15

The Courettes are an explosive garage rock duo from Denmark and Brazil who blend an exciting concoction of garage, surf, 60s girlie pop and riot grrrl attitude. Composed of the husband-and-wife partnership of vocalist/guitarist Flavia Couri (from Brazil) and drummer/backing vocalist Martin Couri (from Denmark, where they are based).


Friday 8 September 2023

Musical theatre: If they could see me now: the words & music of Dorothy Fields
The Place Theatre @ 7pm
Tickets: £15/£12

After a thirty-five-year hiatus, actress and singer Suzanne Noble, 62, is touring her musical tribute to the legendary lyricist Dorothy Fields. If they could see me now: the words & music of Dorothy Fields is a celebration of her timeless songs, including classic hits like “Hey, Big Spender,” “I Can’t Give You Anything but Love,” and “A Fine Romance.”

Directed by Melinda Hughes and accompanied by seasoned West End musical director Paul Maguire, “Noble brings Fields’ fascinating life story to life with an irresistible earthy charisma. The audience is transported back in time as Noble recounts Fields’ career highlights (and lowlights) and performs some of her most iconic songs.” (Cabaret Scene)

With over 40 years of collaborations with some of the biggest names in music, including Jerome Kern, Jimmy McHugh, and Cy Coleman, Fields is a true legend of the American songbook. This warm and nostalgic musical puts Fields firmly back in the spotlight, where she belongs.

Suzanne Noble’s tribute to Dorothy Fields is more than just a musical performance. It is a heartfelt tribute to one of the most influential lyricists of the 20th century. Fields wrote some of the most memorable songs in American popular music and her words continue to be beloved by audiences around the world.


Friday 8 September 2023

Comedy: Mark Watson – Search
The Quarry Theatre @
Tickets: £20

Mark Watson’s 12-year-old son has just got a phone. His 70-year-old dad has been through the most frightening experience of his life. Both a dad and a kid himself, around the midpoint of his life, the Taskmaster star and multiple award-winner – now also famous as one-third of YouTube cult sensation No More Jockeys – returns. 

He’ll consider the search for meaning that we’re all on, with or without Google. There’ll be a lot of jokes, and a show that’s different every night.


Saturday 9 – Sunday 17 September 2023

Walking: Bedfordshire Festival of Autumn Walks
Throughout Bedfordshire
Free

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

September sees the launch of the Bedfordshire Festival of Autumn Walks.

The Festival, offering over 30 walks, will run over nine days between 9 – 17 September with a plethora of walks to suit all ages and
abilities, from long walks, short walks, well-being and interest walks.

Walks are scheduled in the mornings and afternoons in addition to all-day walks and most do not require booking in advance. “The perfect
way to explore our beautiful little county on foot,” say the organisers.

Read: Explore the county on foot at this year’s Bedfordshire Festival of Autumn Walks


Saturday 9 September 2023

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


Organ Recital by Richard Pilliner (St John the Evangelist, Shirley, Croydon). Free with a retiring collection.


Saturday 9 September 2023

Live music: Lakshya Mohan: StringFEST – Festival of Bowed, Plucked & Hammered Instruments
The Place Theatre @ 7.30pm
Tickets: £17/£15

Lakshya Mohan is considered one of the finest Sitar Maestros of India. He made his UK debut at the Royal Festival Hall in 2022 for the centenary celebrations of Ravi Shankar, performing with Anoushka Shankar, John McLaughlin. He received training from the lineage of Maihar “Gharana” (school) of music, which goes back to the famous musician “Tansen”, who was the most prominent figure of Indian classical music in Mughal courts of India during the 16th century.

Lakshay Mohan has also performed at prestigious venues worldwide, including Symphony Space New York, Berklee College Boston, Central Conservatory of Music China, Abbey Theatre Dublin, to name a few.

Joining Lakshya Mohan is Gurdain Rayatt. Having grown up and trained in a family of tabla players, Gurdain Rayatt is a disciple of maestro Pandit Shankar Ghosh and is a professional tabla player based in London. He has been fortunate enough to have accompanied the leading Indian classical musicians and dancers on the world stage today and has performed in prestigious festivals and venues in both pure classical and cross-cultural bands and music collaboration projects.


Saturday 9th September 2023

Live Music: Last Laugh Lane
The Cellar Bar @ 8.00pm. Doors open at 6.00pm.
Free entry

Last Laugh Lane is playing some of the best 2000s indie tracks at The Cellar Bar.

Expect to hear songs such as; the sports stadium anthem – Seven Nation Army, the g.o.a.t – Mr Brightside, the instantly recognisable – ‘Ruby’ and ‘Sex of Fire’, the head-bangers – ‘When The Sun Goes Down’ and ‘Let’s Dance To Joy Division’, and of course, the song they are named after, ‘Fluorescent Adolescent’.


Sunday 10 September 2023

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

A busy St Paul's Square hosting Bedford Flea market on a sunny September day
A sunny September Saturday in St Paul’s Square at Bedford Flea (image: Bedford Flea)

September’s installment of your one-stop shop for all things flea, art & produce. At Bedford Flea you’ll find a smorgasbord of unique, second-hand goods that fall under antiques, vintage, collectables, bric-a-brac & curiosities. It’s all about the one-offs so if you see something you like, don’t delay!

​​The affordable art section features talented artists with fresh ideas – from photography to glass, intricate oil paintings to contemporary illustration. And, all based within a stone’s throw of Bedford.

From freshly baked bread and cheese, locally brewed cider and distilled gin, to sauces and condiments, cakes and skincare, the local produce section is bursting at the seams. Live music too!


Sunday 10 September 2023

Walking: “The Silent Faces of Bedford” 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 90 minutes to two hours in 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 10 September 2023

Villages: Biddenham Show
St James’ VA Primary School & The Village Hall, Main Road, Biddenham @ Midday
Entry: £2.50 pp/under 12s free

The Biddenham Show is held every year for the benefit of the Village. It retains the charm of a traditional village show, combining classes to enter, stalls, entertainment, food and drink. There is something for everyone, old and young.

Children’s Fancy Dress • Circus Skills Workshop • Human Fruit Machine • Bottle Stall • Fun Dog Show• Bouncy Castle • Tennis Skills • Hot Food Stalls • Candy Floss & Ice Cream • Beer, Cider and Pimms Tent • Teas and Cakes (Village Hall) • Music DJ • Raffle • A variety of Craft and Gift Stalls.


Sunday 10 September 2023

Theatre: Persuasion
The Place Theatre @ 7pm
Tickets: £15

DOT Productions brings its new adaptation of Jane Austen’s Final novel ‘Persuasion’ to The Place Theatre this September.

We follow the story of Anne Elliot who was persuaded by friends and family to end her engagement to Frederick Wentworth. Seven years later over many humorous encounters, they meet again….will they once again be persuaded to stay apart or will love conquer all?

This production is told in DOT’s renowned style and is bound to delight all Austen Fans.


Sunday 10 September 2023

Live music: ANGEL DU$T + POWERPLANT
Bedford Esquires @ 7pm
Tickets: £16

Angel Du$t (ft. members of Turnstile and Trapped Under Ice) head to Esquires this September, with very special guests, Powerplant.

Justice Tripp, vocalist/guitarist for Baltimore, Maryland’s Angel Du$t, has never been one for making rock albums, at least not in the traditional sense. For Tripp, an album is not a singular, rigidly defined work, but rather an ever-evolving experience, a grab bag of creative tricks and treats that’s enjoyable whether its contents are savoured individually or all at once.

The way Tripp sees it, Angel Du$t are neither hardcore nor a supergroup: just a revolving lineup of like-minded peers and ride-or-die friends, making guitar music, rocking the f*ck on forever.


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.


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