Meet the stars of the Bedford Arts & Cultural Education Twinning Programme

The BACE ‘Twinning Programme’ 2018/2019, is a project that paired local schools with creative and cultural organisations to enhance collaboration between these two major sectors.

The ‘twins’ include Bedford Creative Arts and Wootton Lower School, Full House Theatre and Putnoe Primary School, The Philharmonia Orchestra and St John Rigby Primary School, The Higgins Bedford and Mark Rutherford School, Music for Bedford Borough and Sharnbrook Academy, Bedford Borough Libraries and Goldington Green Primary School, Dance Path and Scott Primary School, and finally artist Anne Marie Stijelja and The Grange Academy.

As a result of these pairings, a selection of Cultural Providers have also been recruited to work with Bedford schools as part of this exciting collaboration. We shine a spotlight on all of the Culture Challenge Providers involved in the project, celebrating the diversity and wealth of talent we have in the region.

Spirit Forge

Spirit Forge works with schools and institutions to support settings in addressing Character Development. They help children to develop their Awareness, Autonomy and Aspirations using a variety of methods to connect them to themselves and their inner wisdom. Philosophical enquiry is at the core of Spirit Forge methodology and alongside this, they use the artistic mediums of Hip Hop and the ancient practices of Japanese Martial Arts to engage and stimulate personal growth.

Spirit Forge were recruited by Sharnbrook Academy and their twin, Music for Bedford Borough.

Trestle Theatre Company

Trestle is a mask and physical theatre company, who has been touring shows and participatory programmes since 1981. They offer a range of prescribed and bespoke drama workshops, which can be linked across primary and secondary curriculums and arts, health and wellbeing work. They are particularly passionate about using masks to teach  drama and also using their masks to teach through drama.

Trestle Theatre Company were recruited by Scott Primary and their twin, Dance Path.

Full House Theatre

Full House Theatre has over 16 years experience of developing and delivering applied theatre projects, education and outreach work. This includes professional theatre and dance performances, education packages to support  professional performance work, theatre in education, special needs residencies, theatre skills sessions and CPD.

The annual arts festival June Arts Jam in Bedford, is programmed by Full House to help schools to get the most out of cultural spaces in Bedford with professional theatre performances and workshops throughout the month of June.

Full House Theatre were twinned with Putnoe Primary.

Collar & Cuffs Co

Julia runs an award-winning not-for-profit theatre company, Collar & Cuffs Co, specialising in fully self-contained multi-sensory musical performances for early years, primary, and special schools. She is particularly interested in developing work exploring emotional and brain development, mental health, and well-being. All performances are signed in Makaton, are relaxed for the inclusion of children with autism / sensory processing difficulties / high anxiety or other complex needs, and all performances are followed by sensory play sessions where learning and experiences are embedded.

Collar & Cuffs Co were recruited by Grange Academy and their twin, Anne Marie Stijelja.

The Higgins

The Higgins Bedford offers a treasure trove of ideas on your doorstep. Inspire your pupils with the fine art collection, the rich array of local history artefacts, archaeology and unusual objects from around the world. Their programme of Out of the Classroom Experiences for schools reflects the strengths of the collections. Familiar themes and activities are designed to make the most of the galleries.

The Higgins Bedford were twinned with Mark Rutherford School.


T-HOP is an arts organisation that offers a range of training, mentoring and workshops for schools and community groups in dance, drama, music, art. They offer curriculum-linked educational programmes, and deliver community cohesion and capacity building projects.

T-HOP has delivered many multi-disciplinary and multi-cultural projects to the wider audience. They continue their journey to deliver these projects to enhance education, promote community cohesion and provide capacity building opportunities. Using ‘arts’ as a medium, each workshop delivery comes with full research, resources and complete lesson plan, identifying all curriculum links, to meet your mid term reporting.

T-Hop were recruited by Goldington Green, and their twin, Bedfordshire Libraries.

Rost Productions

Rost Productions Ltd. are creators of extraordinary outdoor shows and installations: inventors, recyclers, improvisers and also educators…

They are a collaboration of Associate Artists; performers, makers, musicians, techies and others -under the Artistic Direction of Jessica Rost. Their practice and work as artists in the community is about allowing participants to become collaborators. Rost Productions specialise in sculpture, street theatre and community projects: welding old bikes together to create perambulating street sculpture, making amazing large scale puppets, using recycled materials to create site-specific public art, transforming ‘non-art’ spaces into fantastical worlds and much, much more. But best of all, they like to do all this with you!

Rose Productions was recruited by Mark Rutherford School, and their twin, The Higgins Bedford.

Anne Marie Stijelja

Anne Marie Stijelja has been delivering Bespoke Art and Craft Workshops in mixed media to groups for a decade. She teaches alongside her own art practice where she regularly exhibits her work, curates exhibitions and creates private commissions. Anne Marie’s workshops are fun, inspiring and engaging and give students a positive experience that raises confidence and promotes personal development.

Anne Marie Stijelja was twinned with Grange Academy.

Philharmonia Orchestra

The Philharmonia Orchestra is one of the world’s great orchestras and presents six concerts a season at the Bedford Corn Exchange, where it has been resident since 1995. Our 2017/18 season promises music for all ages to enjoy, from Rachmaninov’s achingly beautiful Second Piano Concerto to one of the most popular works of all time, Dvořák’s New World Symphony. We’d love to share the thrill of a live symphony orchestra with your students so we are pleased to offer local schools a 50% discount off full-price tickets and a free teacher’s ticket for every 10 students that come.

The Philharmonia Orchestra was twinned with St John Rigby School.

Dance Path

Dance Path specialises in teaching dance and CPD for schools. Whether you are an experienced dancer or a complete dance beginner, Dance Path is able to help you along your dancing pathway. Jenny, creator of Dance Path is a qualified primary school teacher with QTS. She has a BA Hons degree in Dance and Education and leads dance CPD/training for teachers. Jenny also enjoys regularly teaching dance to primary school aged children in many different schools. These lessons allow children to learn and develop their dance skills and choreographic techniques whilst building upon their confidence and creativity.

Dance Path was twinned with Scott Lower School.

Stockwood Discovery Centre

Stockwood Discovery Centre is one of two free admission museums situated in Luton which are part of the charitable trust, Luton Culture. Stockwood Discovery Centre tells the stories of real people behind the collections, exploring the history of the region from prehistoric times to the evolution of Stockwood House and the Farley estate.

Stockwood Discovery Centre is one of the few places in the country where the work of acclaimed artist Ian Hamilton Finlay can be seen on permanent display. His Improvement Garden is a classical garden in which the sculptures are an integral part of the landscape. Once part of the original Stockwood House walled areas, the Period Gardens reflect the changing styles of gardening in this country.

Stockwood Discovery Centre was recruited by The Grange and their twin, Anne Marie Stijelja.

Future Legend / Richard Mann

Future Legend Media have been producing films and running drama workshops both in the corporate and educational sectors for over 20 years. Clients include: DHL, Yamaha, Mercedes and on a local level: University of Bedfordshire, Bedford College, Putnoe Primary School and St Thomas More. On the theatre side they have toured 3 original plays around the UK and founded the Bedfringe Festival in 2007.

Future Legend were recruited by Wootton Lower School and their twin, Bedford Creative Arts.

Ed King

Ed King runs Irie Vibes, focusing on professional music workshop delivery and freelance youth work. He is an experienced freelance music workshop facilitator and JNC qualified Youth Worker. His range of music workshops include African drumming, didgeridoo, guitar Song & Lyric writing and capoeira (Brazilian Martial Art) and more.

Ed King was recruited by St John Rigby and their twin, The Philharmonia Orchestra.

Building on the exciting collaborations which have taken place across both education and the arts, the Bedford Arts and Cultural Education (BACE) partnership is excited to launch a free conference to take place on 10th July 2019, between 9.30am – 4.00pm at Gateway, University of Bedfordshire. This event is free but booking is required at

Delivery partners Bedford Creative Arts and Peter Pan Teaching School Alliance are holding the conference to explore how arts and education professionals can work together to provide a broad and balanced curriculum for the young people of Bedford.

The conference, and the Twinning project itself, were funded by the Education Improvement Strategic group and the venue was generously donated by the University of Bedfordshire. The organisers welcome any individuals from both the education and cultural sector, including artists and freelance practitioners, as well as school governors who are keen to work in collaboration.