My last but one post dealt with the issue of the Riverside North development. If that is a harbinger of uninspiring doom for some, the brand new Quarry Theatre at St Luke’s is quite the opposite. I went to the first play performed there a month or so ago and it is a beautiful airy building, with a bar at the back that promises to be a very pleasant place to be, especially when the sun is out and the place is up and running properly. (I did feel a bit like the Queen. It wasn’t so much a smell of new paint as new wood that met you and there were gaps under the counters behind the bar where fridges full of wines etc would soon inhabit). Already installed, however, is a grand piano. There are tables lining the sweep of floor- to- ceiling windows, overlooking spacious lawns. I have no idea about the plans for this place but I hope they open their doors as a bar not just for theatre-goers - with the grand piano and the space outside, it has potential for a place with a great atmosphere in its own right.
The building is a great space and as we all know, it’s all about location. Of all the things it could have been, this is probably the best use of the building. I haven’t even got to see the main theatre yet as the piece I saw was in the smaller studio theatre but that’s apparently rather tasty too. And of course, it is going to be the one and only venue (with the odd exception) for the ninety shows - ninety shows! - that are going to be on as part of the Bedfringe Festival at the end of this month. Things are definitely looking up for the arts in Bedford right now.