What’s on Bedord: 10 – 20 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 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

Thursday 10 August 2023

Family fun: Seed Bombs and Herby Play-dough Workshop
POP Bedford, 5 Midland Road @ 10am – midday
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 @
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

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

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

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

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.  

Monday 14 August 2023

Live music: United By Music tour presents – Hamish Hawk + Redolent
Bedford Esquires @ 8pm
Tickets: £14

This year just got a whole lot bigger for all things Hamish Hawk – including a gig at Esquires as part of the United By Music tour by the Music Venue Trust.

Tuesday 15 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 15 August 2023

Family crafts: Peg Passengers 
The Higgins Bedford @ 11.15am, 12.45pm and 2.15pm
Tickets: £5 per child (Use promotional code HIGGINS30 to avoid any transaction fee)

Get imaginative and create interesting passengers to ride in the trains, planes automobiles in this peg doll activity with local artist and creative producer Ross Bolwell- Williams.

Wednesday 16 – Sunday 20 August 2023

Exhibition: This is Bedford
POP Bedford @ 5 Midland Road
Free entry

For its final week, Pride of Place Bedford is celebrating with a grand finale exhibition showcasing the work produced by its artists-in-residence and members of the Bedford community that have participated in the venue’s workshops.

From Wednesday to Sunday, 20 August, make sure you head to 5 Midland Road for the last hurrah, celebrating the incredible creative community in Bedford.

Full details to be released shortly.

Wednesday 16 – Saturday 19 August 2023

Musical theatre: Soho Cinders
Bedfordshire University theatre 
Ticket price: £18.50/£17.50

The Bedford Marianettes are very excited to announce that first up in August we have the ‘Stiles and Drewe’ (Mary Poppins) modern day classic – SOHO CINDERS. This will be performed in our new venue – The University Theatre, Bedford.

‘Celebrating London’s most colourful district and mixing politics, sex-scandals and true love, Soho Cinders is a deliciously naughty musical update of the Cinderella story with an infectious score that you’ll be humming long past the stroke of midnight!

Friday 18 August 2023

Live music: THE 900 – The Tony Hawk Pro Skater Covers Band + Guests
Bedford Esquires @ 7.30pm
Tickets: £12

Picture this… It’s August 1999, people are getting excited about Red and Blue Pills, Star Wars have embarked on the first of their many prequel films, frosted tips & Sea Monkeys are all the rage and the Dalek-esque tones of dial-up fill the airwaves and landlines… But none of that is important because Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater has just entered the world of video games with a Soundtrack that we simply weren’t ready for!

The 900 are the UK’s first and only Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater cover band. Formed by their mutual understanding that no other soundtrack could ever top THPS, The 900 gives you a reason for your back to hurt in the morning. With the approval of the Birdman himself, they’re ready to kickflip into every big banger from THPS1 to American Wasteland.

So roll back the years, get in the pit and come thrash around to some of the best Punk Rock and Ska tracks from Tony Hawk’s legendary series featuring tracks from the likes of Rage Against The Machine, Nirvana, Dead Kennedys, Black Flag, Misfits, Adolescents, Agent Orange, Goldfinger, Motorhead, Suicidal Tendencies, Papa Roach, Queens of the Stone Age, Swingin’ Utters, Zebrahead, Kiss and many more.

Friday 18 August 2023

Live music: The Bloodstreams + City Parking + GoGo Loco
Bedford Esquires @ 8pm
Tickets: £10

The Bloodstreams: Four undead purveyors of alternative rock and upbeat melancholia. You will always find us in the graveyard at parties.

City Parking: Pulsating, rhythmic, speak/singing, think Baxter Dury meets Dry Cleaning. In a storm.

GoGo Loco: Garage rockabilly foot-stomping devilment.

Saturday 19 August 2023

Creative: Drawing Bedford Together – High Street drawing day
Harpur Square @ 11.30am – 3pm
Free to attend

Join the Circus of Illustration for a BIG DRAW in Bedford town centre.

All are welcome to pop along to say hello to the team of local illustrators, grab a pen and have a doodle on our big high street drawing. And it’s completely free.

This event will also celebrate the launch of the Circus of Illustration’s new zine, Drawing Bedford Together, featuring artworks by local artists on the subject of Bedford High Street. Anyone who joins in can have a copy of this beautiful book for free.

This event is part of and funded by the High Street Heritage Action Zone.

Read: Drawing together to celebrate Bedford’s historic High Street

Saturday 19 August 2023

Walk: North Bedfordshire Ramblers afternoon countryside walk
Souldrop MK44 1HE @ 1.30pm

7.5 mile moderate walk towards Santa Pod and along Forty Foot Lane. Passing over Sharnbrook Tunnel then picking up the Three Shires Way.

Saturday 19 August 2023

Music: Twilight Date Night: Candlelight Piano Concert
The Place Theatre @ 7pm & 9pm
Tickets: from £16.96

Twilight Date Night is a romantic and elegant opportunity to dress up and go out with your friends or that special someone, bringing all the magic of a big city production without the long drive and travel costs to well-deserving smaller towns.

This is more than just a concert.  Listen as International pianist Stephen Guy Daltry takes you on an enchanting journey of love, mischief and betrayal.

Saturday 19 August 2023

Dance music: Norman Jay MBE + Mark Russell & Friends (rescheduled date)
Bedford Esquires @ 8pm
Tickets: £20

Norman Jay MBE is unquestionably one of the most respected and popular DJs in the world today. Born in Notting Hill, Jay played his first gig aged eight at a 10th birthday party. Influenced by his father’s record collection of blue beat, ska and jazz, by the late 1970s he was considered an emerging authority on contemporary Afro-American music including funk, disco, soul and jazz fusion.

Jay originally coined the term, and subsequently fostered the emerging ‘Rare Groove’ scene, filling the airwaves and many warehouse parties under his Shake and Fingerpop guises, with the best in 70s & 80s grooves and nascent house cuts. Pushing the boundaries of the UK’s emerging club culture he went on to co-found the first ‘Paradise Garage’ style club in Britain – ‘High On Hope’, and, alongside kindred spirit Gilles Peterson, Norman established the Talkin’ Loud label, spearheading the Acid Jazz scene.

Throughout the late 80s and 90s, Jay continued to build a reputation as one of the world’s most popular DJs, packing clubs to the rafters wherever he played, taking the underground sounds of rare groove and house firmly into the mainstream. The turn of the century saw Norman Jay assume the role of elder statesman, receiving an MBE from the Queen for services to deejaying and music.

Listening to feedback from recent events the doors will open at the earlier time 8pm with DJ Mark Russell and friends firing up the sound-system and Norman’s set will take place from 10pm – midnight for those that need to employ a babysitter or don’t want to be out to the small hours.

Saturday 19 August 2023

Live music: MÖRDERSTEIN ‘The Ultimate RAMMSTEIN Tribute’
Bedford Esquires @ 7.30pm
Tickets: £10

Yorkshire-based rockers MÖRDERSTEIN are the ultimate tribute to German Industrial Metal Gods Rammstein and return by public demand to play Bedford Esquires again this summer.

The six-piece band led by Brüno Stahl are a fusion of huge guitars, haunting electro keyboards, thunderous percussion and soaring vocals.

Mörderstein deliver classic Rammstein anthems in an “over the top show” rammed packed full of face-melting pyrotechnics, dark humorous antics, and more S&M gear than a Mad Max movie!

Sunday 20 August 2023

Walking: “Bedford’s Movers and Shakers: a Bromham Road walk”
Bedford Town Centre @ 11am at the gold postbox in St Paul’s Square
Tickets: £3/£1.50

Bedford Sixth Form is on the site of the former Bedford High School for Girls on Bromham Road. Image: Google Streetview October 2021

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 20 August 2023

Live music: Music in the Meadows
Mill Meadows, Bedford Embankment @ 2pm

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

Fynnius Fogg will be performing on Mill Meadowns’ bandstand this Sunday, so, gather your family, pack a picnic, pull up a deckchair and enjoy some traditional entertainment.

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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