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Rallying cry for entertainers’ union

Bermuda's trade union for the entertainment industry is to roll out the red carpet for new members, its president said yesterday.

Selena Fields, of the Bermuda Entertainment Union, said the organisation aimed to have 100 members before its annual meeting in December.

That is about 25 more than its present membership, which has grown this year despite the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the industry.

Ms Fields said she wanted the BEU to “grow to be as strong as the other unions — the Bermuda Public Services Union, the Bermuda Industrial Union, and unions for teachers, police, fire and prison officers.

“I want to put the union in a position to go from strength to strength.”

She added: “There are at least 500 entertainers on the island or people who work in related fields such as sound people, actors, actresses, directors, DJs, and comedians.

“We want to represent everyone in the entertainment industry, including promoters so that they can have a voice, too.

“Anyone can join the BEU. If you have a love for entertainment, we would love to have you join our union.”

She said membership was open to expatriates as well as Bermudians.

Ms Fields added: “We are not leaving anybody out.

“We want to grow, nurture, support and improve the entertainment industry in Bermuda, and we want to be inclusive of everyone.”

Ms Fields said the pandemic had brought live entertainment to a halt.

She added: “It was hard before Covid, but when it hit, nobody could work.”

But once the shelter-in-place lockdown was lifted and people could gather in small groups, Ms Fields arranged two boat cruises featuring Bermudian entertainment.

A series of summer cruises and other entertainment events featuring island artists, many of whom are BEU members, have also been organised.

Popular band Hindsight was hired to perform at the first event in June and Ms Fields organised a choir for a late celebration of Juneteenth, the US end of slavery, the next month.

Sheila Smith, a soul singer, recruited and led the choir, which was later asked to perform at the Emancipation Day commemoration at Somerset Cricket Club and which has now been invited to perform at businesses over Christmas.

Ms Fields said all 12 members of the choir joined, or rejoined, the BEU.

She added: “By leading from the front, it showed that we are serious and that membership does have its privileges and its benefits.”

She added a concert held in August by charitable organisation, A New Life, saw several performers join the BEU or renew memberships.

Ms Fields said that the BEU supported the event with a $1,000 donation to help pay the entertainers and their support team and the performers donated their fees to the charity.

Ms Fields appealed to entertainers to look for opportunities to showcase their talents.

She added: “Now is the time to dig deep, do some soul searching, and revitalise our industry.

“We can't wait around for the Government or the union — we have to do it ourselves.

“We have to be creative in bringing entertainment to people.”

Ms Fields said the annual membership fee has been cut in half to $50 for a limited period as an incentive for new members.

For more information about the BEU, including benefits of membership, visit Bermudaentertainmentunion.com

Selena Fields, president of the Bermuda Entertainment Union (Photograph supplied

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Published September 18, 2020 at 9:00 am (Updated September 18, 2020 at 8:31 am)

Rallying cry for entertainers’ union

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