Desire Paths – renaming the streets of Bedford

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Photography courtesy of: JSP Desire Paths.

If Bedfordians could rename the streets of Bedford, what would the streets be called? That is the question posed as part of a pop-up art installation this weekend from Friday 3rd to Sunday 5th September from 10:00am at Harpur Square. 

This is an opportunity to come up with inspiring, aspirational and thought-provoking street names. 

Delivered by Third Angel, a theatre company creating artwork in public spaces, and led by Bedford Players Trust and The Place Bedford, the highly participatory public performance will explore the concept that our surroundings have a direct and intangible effect on our minds and therefore the way we live, work and play together, something which is particularly relevant in our multicultural community.  

The event is free-to-experience, it is expected to generate a high level of passing interest, no ticketing is required and a team of seven dedicated performers plus a volunteer team from The Place Bedford will be taking part.  

A map of Bedford will be drawn in chalk on the ground and the public will be invited to add new names to the map.  

Project Lead, Alex Levene from Bedford Players Trust says: “We encourage all members of the Bedford community to come along and help us to rename every road, street, avenue, and cul-de-sac in Bedford.

“Tell us about the places you’ve lived, loved, loathed, left and help us remake the map of Bedford to be about your hopes and dreams for the future. We’ve been waiting for three years to bring this fantastic opportunity to the town and share this chance with local people.

“We’re all proud of the town and its long, storied history, but deep down we secretly wish we could rename everywhere to be an optimistic vision for the future. This is our chance to do just that, and we really hope everyone will feel inspired to help us achieve that. We’re not going to put Bedford on the map – we’re going to put the map on Bedford!” 

Elaine Midgley, Bedford Creative Arts’ Director, says: “We are really pleased to help this event come together. It will really make people think about the area they live in and how much meaning is in a name.

“It’s great to be working in partnership with Bedford Players Trust as well as our other supporters who have enabled this; 1 Degree East, Heritage Enterprise Hub, Harper Trust,  Bedford Borough Council’s Town Centre Priority Fund and Arts Council England.  

“Projects like this really help us to hear the voices of the local community and reflect on what’s important to them.  We can’t wait to see what people have to say.”