Bedfordshire's arts festival celebrates 100 years on the stage

Belated celebrations after the pandemic shut theatres

By Lynn Hughes
Friday, 19th November 2021, 11:48 pm
Updated Friday, 19th November 2021, 11:50 pm
The Bedfordshire Festival is celebrating its centenary
The Bedfordshire Festival is celebrating its centenary

The Bedfordshire Festival of Music, Speech and Drama is celebrating its 100th year with a special centenary festival next year.

Founded in 1921, the Bedfordshire Festival (or Bedfordshire Eisteddfod as it was originally called) gives people of all ages the opportunity to perform, share their work with their peers and receive feedback from some of the country’s most eminent experts in music, speech and drama.

During the pandemic, the 2021 festival took place entirely online and, while hugely successful, did not allow the opportunity for the centenary celebrations to go ahead. Now that restrictions have been lifted, the centenary festival will take place in March 2022 with a week of in-person classes, culminating in a celebratory concert featuring a selection of the outstanding performances seen during the course of the week.

The festival will be held in March next year

Entries are open now and will close on December 1, 2021 and a full syllabus detailing all of the classes is available on the festival website.

To mark the 100th year of the Bedfordshire Festival, 14 special centenary classes have been introduced for 2022 only, including music classes for any bowed instrument and for any age, instrument or voice, and speech and drama classes that include a poetry solo, a creative performance and a special centenary ‘Write and read a story’ class. A full list of centenary classes can be found on the website.

Julia Smith, Chairman of the Bedfordshire Festival of Music, Speech and Drama, said: “We are delighted to be able to announce the launch of our centenary festival – it will be such a joy to welcome performers back to the stage and to experience the magic of live music and speech and drama once again.

‘For 100 years, the festival has showcased the finest talent from Bedfordshire and beyond – giving people the chance to perform, sometimes for the very first time, in front of peers and professionals alike. It is an important date in the calendar for those who love the performing arts and we are working hard to ensure that the centenary festival will be the biggest and best yet. We can’t wait to celebrate this fantastic milestone and encourage new and seasoned performers alike to enter what promises to be a moving and memorable festival.’

To find out more about the 2022 Bedfordshire Festival of Music, Speech and Drama, to view the syllabus and to register your entries, visit