Bermuda Festival To Suspend Operations

May 23, 2023 | 5 Comments

The Bermuda Festival of the Performing Arts is “suspending all operations and productions for the foreseeable future while it re-evaluates the financial and cultural viability.”

A spokesperson said, “After 48 years, The Bermuda Festival of the Performing Arts is sad to announce that it is suspending all operations and productions for the foreseeable future while it re-evaluates the financial and cultural viability of the Festival.

“Founded in 1976, The Bermuda Festival of the Performing Arts has been dedicated to bringing diverse, world-class performing artists to Bermuda for public performances and community outreach. Our vision has been to enrich the quality of life on the island through creative, engaging, and inspiring experiences. It has been the only Bermuda platform for important and rising international artists in music, dance, and theatre.

“We recognize that the arts sector, along with the world, is changing rapidly and that our current model may not fit the needs of future generations. The suspension of operations is an opportunity to think afresh about the priorities, structures, and purpose of a future presentation of performing arts in Bermuda.

“As an organisation we fervently believe in the value of the performing arts to enhance the quality of life in a community and to bring people together. It is our hope that this suspension will provide opportunities for the Board and perhaps others to reimagine a performing arts organisation for everyone, one that focuses on highlighting many different performance genres and providing outreach that will fit Bermuda’s desires and needs.”

Chairman David Skinner said, “The Festival has so much to be proud of. Over its 48 seasons it has been an integral part of the cultural landscape of Bermuda. We have brought world class performances to the doorstep and showcased the best of both international and Bermudian artists. Our Outreach programmes have impacted tens of thousands of students, adults and underserved in the community.

“We are grateful to the foundations, companies and individuals including hundreds of volunteers who have continued to support the Festival in its mission. In recent years competition for financial support for charities has increased, and audience numbers have declined while costs have increased significantly. Unfortunately, we find ourselves in a position that is untenable, and it is time to pause and re-evaluate the viability of the Festival going forward”.

The Festival’s Executive Director, Cindy Campbell, added, “For us, like many around the world, the COVID-19 shutdown period was a difficult time. The absence of live performances for essentially two seasons placed a severe financial strain on the Festival. Staff were laid off, salaries reduced, and we gave up office space that could no longer be afforded. We achieved a 60% reduction in operational costs compared to before the pandemic.

“During the shutdown the Festival redesigned its processes and structures and in this first full post-Covid Festival it has maintained an expense level of 40% below pre-pandemic averages. Unfortunately, these cost cutting measures have not been enough to overcome the dual income challenges of fund raising and ticket sales while expenses continue to increase. While some of the performances in this first full season since the COVID-19 shutdowns have enjoyed good attendance, overall we experienced a 67% decline in ticket sales compared to pre-pandemic averages. There may be many factors that have affected ticket sales, however, with the combined pressure on revenues and expenses, the Festival did not see a clear path forward to sustainability.

“The Festival leaves an incredible legacy for our community. One former participant of the 2004 Othello Outreach workshop recently admitted, “Being a child of modest means, without the Bermuda Festival of the Performing Arts, I wouldn’t think a life of art would be possible, I’m grateful for the opportunity to know that it is.”

Read More About

Category: All, Entertainment, News

Comments (5)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Joe Bloggs says:


  2. Graeme says:

    I agree that it is sad, but I also felt it was just a little too high brow.

    You are never going to bring Coldplay or Springsteen to Bermuda, but there really is no live music to speak of here – and I mean popular music, music that sells.

    That always felt like a missed opportunity to me.

  3. Dejavu says:

    They’ve never put on one single successful event because of greed

  4. Triangle Drifter says:

    Live entertainment at an affordable ticket cost is a tough commodity to provide these days.

    What passes as popular music is highly questionable judging by the noise on local radio.

    Whatever it is that you like to listen to or watch is a mere couple of screen taps away.

    Decent live entertainment is available, for a few genres of music. It is possible to have three days entertainment for two plus camping for less than $300.00.

    The last Bermuda Festival show seen was the Red Hot Chilli Pipers. Not cheap.

    Saw them again a few months later at the Irish Festival in Dublin, Ohio. A much larger band on one of Five stages active all day and into the evening at a far cheaper price.

    The Bermuda Festival cannot hope to compete with such festivals.

  5. question says:

    I preferred when it was mostly classical music, sophisticated jazz, high-level theatre. You could see world-class musicians and performers in a relatively intimate setting. It did lose a bit of focus, perhaps a result of the pandemic, or some desire to appeal to audiences that, ultimately, aren’t interested.
    Bermuda is a culturally poorer place without it.

Leave a Reply