The Act Store's Neil Tomlinson takes over the newly christened Entertainment Agents' Association at an "exciting time" for the trade association, he says
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"A great showbiz personality with a smile full of mischief,” Dunster was the first female president of the UK’s Entertainment Agents’ Association
By Jon Chapple on 29 Mar 2021
Jenny Dunster, the veteran booking agent who twice served as president of the UK’s Entertainment Agents’ Association, has passed away following a battle with cancer. She was 71.
Born in Sheffield in December 1949, Dunster began her career as a dancer. After moving to London, she worked in theatre, television, film and corporate events, appearing at a number of the West End’s most prestigious venues, including the world-famous Talk of the Town (later the Hippodrome).
After retiring from dancing, she moved to entertainment agency work, first with Jill Shirley at Razzamatazz, where she represented Bucks Fizz when they won the Eurovision Song Contest. This was followed by a period working alongside Bunny Lewis at LJD Presentations, and then at Leisure Services Agency with Kenneth Earle, after which she launched her own agency, Whatever Artists Management, in partnership with husband Ray Millar.
Whatever Artists’ corporate clients included Virgin Atlantic and Coca-Cola, an event for the latter of which resulted in Dunster receiving the best entertainment award at the Special Event show 2011 in the US.
Her passion for dance and the arts continued throughout her life, and she was the booking agent for corporate events for several Strictly Come Dancing professionals, including Anton du Beke and Erin Boag.
Dunster joined the council of the Entertainment Agents’ Association 31 years ago, attaining the status of executive vice-president five years later, and in 2003 she became the body’s first female president (2003–05). A second presidential term at the association, then known simply as the Agents’ Association, followed in 2013–15.
“She was a powerhouse of integrity, intelligence and fun”
In a statement, the association describes Dunster as a “guiding light encouraging other women to join council. She was a staunch believer in the Entertainment Agents’ Association, rarely missing a monthly meeting, even after her cancer diagnosis. She was forthright and straight talking and was keen to ensure that the association stayed relevant through the many changes in the entertainment industry, ensuring integrity and enhancing its reputation.”
In addition to her work with the Agents’ Association, she also served on the Variety and Light Entertainment Council (VLEC) for over 20 years, alongside Equity and the Musicians’ Union. Christine Payne, former general secretary of Equity, comments: “She was a powerhouse of integrity, intelligence and fun.”
Jeremy Lee, of speaker agency JLA, sums up Dunster: “A great showbiz personality with a smile full of mischief.”
“Jenny was a great agent, considerate to artists and hirers alike,” says Bob James, president of the Entertainment Agents’ Association. “She had a great talent in finding unknown artists and bringing the best out of them by the time she brought them to the attention of the public.
“Artistic, considerate, caring and generous to a fault – one of the old school, with new ideas.”
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