Your Bedford weekend starts here: 10 – 12 January 2020

Game Play festival at the Place Theatre

Happy 2020! From an affordable art exhibition to a jam-packed weekend of gaming plus live music at Esquires, there’s plenty to help you kick off the new year and new decade…


Circus of Illustration
Featuring work by Circus artists including Sophie Atkins, Katie Allen, Maria Merridan, Marisa Straccia, Andrew Foster

Circus of Illustration exhibition
Foyer Gallery at Bedford School
, Burnaby Road, De Parys Avenue MK40 2TU
Private view: 7.30 – 9pm
Free entry

Artists’ collective, the Circus of Illustration, are holding an exhibition to celebrate the multitude of people who have been involved with them over the past eight years.

From the founding members to the latest exhibitors, expect artworks by seasoned designers to the freshest student talent, all at an affordable price.

The Private View on Friday night is a chance to browse the work, meet the artists and have a glass of wine.

Exhibition continues until Tuesday 11 February
Mon-Fri 9.30am-4pm
Saturday 9am-12.15pm
Sunday closed

Never Mind the Music
Bedford Esquires at 8pm
Tickets: £5

Esquires hosts this fundraising concert in aid of Mind. Mind is an amazing charity which helps people with mental health difficulties.

With one in four people affected by mental health, this event is a brilliant way to not only raise money for the cause but also to stamp down the stigma around mental health and bring everyone together.

Friday’s event features performances from Alex Early, The Quids, Tom Korni and Simon William.

Bring along your friends and family for a great night and all in aid of the fantastic charity that is Mind.

The Quireboys
Bedford Esquires at 8pm
Tickets: £17

The Quireboys are coming back to their spiritual home, headlining the main stage at Esquires this Friday.

With a sound that harks back to the 70’s heyday of The Faces, Stones, Slade and Mott The Hoople, The QBs have always remained true to their roots from the start.

The boys’ mission is simply to keep the spirit of good time rock ‘n’ roll alive and kicking into the 21st century.

Game Play festival at the Place Theatre

Game Play Festival
Game Play After Dark
The Place Theatre from 4.30pm
Tickets: £3 per person or £10 for a family of four

The weekend’s Game Play Festival kicks off on Friday with Game Play After Dark, an evening of games fun and immersive experiences perfect for teenagers, and adults of all ages.

Head to the Place Theatre straight after school and work and enjoy an evening of retro computer games, board and tabletop games and more.

The team from Ghost Valley RC will be back with their live action, remote-controlled Mario Kart on a brand-new track.

Game Play Festival
The Unbuilt Room
The Place Theatre
Performances at 5pm, 6pm, 7pm, 8pm and 9pm
Tickets: £8/person

The Unbuilt Room – part performance, part game, inspired by choose-your-own-adventure stories.

Each show will be unique, shaped by your choices as you work together to overcome obstacles and explore a verbal maze, without leaving your seat.

Let’s Play Cards a delicate storytelling game of fading memories and changing relationships.


Game Play festival at the Place Theatre

Game Play Festival
The Place Theatre
10am – 6pm
Tickets: £3/person or £10 for a family of four

The festival continues all day on Saturday 11 January from 10am til 6pm with fun for families and younger gamers.

Tailored to families and young people 7-12 years old it’s a great chance to get out of the house and do something a bit different together in the warm including retro games and RC racing games plus Bedford Board Gamers and Ready, Steady Roll will be filling spaces with some of the best tabletop games for all ages.

The Place Theatre’s youth-led role playing group will be on-hand to promote the joys of classic pen and paper gaming, including Dungeons and Dragons and more.

Come the evening, take part in the Goldeneye tournament, race to the top on the live Mario Kart track, beat the pack at our Jungle Speed tournament and let your competitive spirit run wild!

Game Play Festival
Room for all the family
The Place Theatre
10am, 12pm, 2pm and 4pm
Tickets: £8/person £28 for a family of four

Room for all the Family is a fun, interactive storytelling experience. Each performance is entirely live and improvised in response to the imaginations of everyone in the room.

If the room was made of lava, a phone was ringing and there was an envelope on the floor, what would you do first? Designed for an inter-generational group, this is a fun way to spend quality time together.

Dry Cleaning, London, June 2019. Picture credit: Hanna-Katrina Jedrosz

Dry Cleaning + SINEAD O’BRIEN
Bedford Esquires at 8pm
Tickets: £9

Esquires is super stoked to be bringing one of their favourite new bands to Bedford this January for a special warm up show before they go and play Eurosonic Festival. Dry Cleaning have been getting airplay all over 6 Music and Radio 1 in the last few months, since releasing their brilliant debut ‘Magic of Meghan’.

Dry Cleaning are a 4-piece from South London channeling post-punk and new wave pop with a side order of low-slung Americana. Their upcoming 6-track EP ‘Sweet Princess’ is a kaleidoscope of images pieced together, where the everyday collides with the profound.

“We strongly, STRONGLY suggest checking these guys out when they visit town,” said Esquires’ Gareth Barber. “They’re bloody great.”

Game Play Festival
The Place Theatre at 7.30pm
Tickets: £8

Brought to you by the team behind The Crystal Maze, Lamplighters is part theatre, part game and part improv comedy inspired by the writings of John LeCarre: The Spymaster has lost an agent in the field. There’s a mystery to solve, villains to thwart and secrets to be stolen – and that’s where you come in..!

An interactive spy game to some; a hilarious evening of comedy for others.


Game Play festival at the Place Theatre

Game Play Festival
Game Jam
The Place Theatre from 11am – 6pm
Tickets: £10 for a single workshop and £25 for a day pass

The Game Play festival weekend wraps up on Sunday with Bedford’s first official Game Jam, inviting professional game makers to share tips and tricks on creating your own games, from board games and outdoor games, to storytelling and role playing games.

There will be workshops and games to play throughout the day. Perfect for people of any age who are interested in learning the basics about making and running games for your friends. Suitable for young people aged 7+ (accompanied by an adult) and perfect for the creative teenager in your life!

The Sunday Afternoon Session
The Denny McCaffrey Band
Bedford Esquires 5 – 8pm
Free entry

The Denny McCaffrey Band is a 10-piece outfit, created to perform tracks from Denny’s back catalogue. With the help of fabulous chosen musicians and singers, the band play a selection of soul, jazz and funk.

Your Bedford Weekend is in association with
The Bedford Clanger and Explore Bedford

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