Five of the best things to do in and around Bedford in the next seven days

Theo Ancient stars in The Shy Manifesto
Theo Ancient stars in The Shy Manifesto

From half-term family fun to '90s indie-rock favourites, there's plenty to enjoy...

The Shy Manifesto, The Place, Bedford, February 8
Seven years and a West End production of Harry Potter later, Theo Ancient is about to return to The Place Theatre in Bedford. The Shy Manifesto follows 17-year-old Callum, a teenager who prides himself on being shy and delivers a manifesto explaining why the audience should share his view. The concept is simple: what this world really needs right now is some more self-restraint. He calls upon his radical shy comrades, teenagers and adults alike, to finally rise up and inherit the earth. But the previous night’s drunken escapade at a classmate’s end-of-term party may upend the fragile identity he has created for himself. Theo said: “The play gives a character like Callum the chance to say everything that’s going on inside his mind, when normally he would keep quiet at the back of the class and not say anything at all. It’s a coming of age story that explores our insecurities and growing up as an introvert.” The show is open to everyone, especially those who may share Callum’s shyness. Remembering his career in 2012 with No Loss Productions’ Where The Wild Things Are, a show that opened at The Place, Theo said: “It was when I was trying out being an actor. I was there over Christmas, wearing a wolf costume and sweating away playing three shows a day.” After graduating from RADA in 2017, Ancient joined the acclaimed West End production of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child as the lead character, Albus Potter. After a full West End season he then joined The Shy Manifesto project and now, after seven years, is back to The Place where it all began. Theo said: “It will be great to go back, because I have such fond memories of performing that show and the really lovely community.”

Valeras, Bedford Esquires, February 9
With a busy year already scheduled, and continued support from BBC Introducing and Radio 1’s Jack Saunders, Valeras’ mix of big heavy hooks, heartfelt lyrics and groove based rhythms have made their live shows unmissable, leaving Valeras ready to lead the fightback for guitar music in 2019. The female-fronted five piece have previously played alongside the likes of The Wombats, The Amazons, Greta Van Fleet, Yonaka, King Nun and Demob Happy, as well as featuring on Spotify’s The Rock List.

Half-term activities, The Higgins, Bedford, February 12 to 15
There is plenty happening at The Higgins Bedford this half-term with workshops, portrait collage making, creating abstract art, and pop-art printing. On Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, there will be creative art and science workshops inspired by the current ‘We Are Five’ exhibition, which celebrates five years since The Higgins Bedford was redeveloped. Local artist Kemi Onabule will be running a ‘Collage Conversations’ workshop on Tuesday, inviting children to imagine that portraits could talk and what they could talk about together, while creating a portrait collage with a difference. Little Science Labs will be hosting ‘Abstract Chromatography’ on Wednesday, February 13, where children can experiment with chromatography and create an abstract art work.
Then on Friday, February 15, local artist Katie Allen will be running a Pop-Art Printing workshop, taking inspiration from Andy Warhol and creating pop-art prints.

Luke Jermay: Intuition, Quarry Theatre, Bedford, February 7
Intuition is a strange thing and Luke Jermay is even stranger. Building on his acclaimed debut show ‘Sixth Sense’, entertainer Luke Jermay is back with a new interactive stage show packed with remarkable demonstrations of intuition, telepathy and prediction. Derren Brown said of him: “Jermay puts the rest of us mind readers to shame.”

Chris Helme (The Seahorses) and Mark Morriss (The Bluetones), Bedford Esquires, February 8
A treat for fans of ‘90s indie. Chris Helme was lead singer for The Seahorses, formed by guitar great John Squire after the demise of The Stone Roses, and Mark Morriss wrote hits including Slight Return and Marblehead Johnson.