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About Us News

Meet John Binnie

Writer and director of Rapunzel The Pantomime – a family film

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I have been a writer/director since 1986, when I first began working with Clyde Unity Theatre. I love making theatre.I‘ve written over thirty plays, which I’ve toured nationally and internationally. I’ve made theatre in some fascinating places including New York, Singapore, Namibia and India. I so enjoy coming and doing pantomime at The Brunton. I previously did Jack And The Beanstalk and Cinderella.

John Binnie

Why Rapunzel?

I have always wanted to do a pantomime of Rapunzel. I love the idea of all her hair and being locked in a tower. However in a COVID world, the story struck a special chord. The character of Rapunzel is forced to self-isolate by the evil sorceress. Rapunzel has heard about the outside world and has longed to go there. Now she is scared of the disease. She doesn’t know about needing to wear masks.

Why is pantomime important?

Pantomime is joyful. It’s fun. Pantomime can have wild stories, larger-than-life characters and also heart. The best pantomimes allow the audience to join in, but also to feel. That’s when pantomime really works for me.

Rapunzel The Pantomime is a play but also a film. What were the challenges of writing and directing for this format?

The script needed to be fast and snappy. There’s no time for longueurs. Making a pantomime film is more collaborative, as Jonathan the filmmaker needs to edit the filmed scenes and come up with a new form. Obviously we miss live interaction, but the idea that the panto is going out to all these children and community groups in East Lothian and beyond, is a remarkable thing. I am very proud of being involved in it.

L-R, Ross Donnachie, Eilidh Weir, John Binnie. Photo: Robin Mitchell

This is a very strange year, but we have seen some amazing creativity with new productions filmed online and / or with social distancing. How have you responded creatively to this way of working?

It has been a challenge. At the beginning of the pandemic, I missed coming together with a company of actors and creatives to make a show. Actors are the most incredible people – they are so generous of their talent and time, helping to get a production on to the best of its ability. I’ve written more plays from home this year, and I am currently rehearsing a play on zoom. I hope to do some outside promenade performances in the warmer months of 2021.

Can you tell us any funny stories about the filming?

The day we did the chase around was wild. The Dame and her son Jammy Dodger would usually run around the audience and auditorium with a bucket of slops. Obviously we couldn’t do that under COVID restrictions. The Dame needed to get into full makeup at 7am, and then we took her and her son out onto Musselburgh High Street. Passers by on the street or at the bus stop were amazed and wanted to find out what was happening. When we ended filming at the harbour under beautiful weather conditions, mums with prams were surprised to see the dame chasing Jammy along the pier.

L-R, Ross Donnachie, Graham Crammond. Photo: Robin Mitchell

Enjoy Rapunzel The Pantomime at The Brunton Cinema, or watch online at home. Available selected dates December – January. More information here.

The Brunton has received funding from the Scottish Government’s Performing Arts Venue Relief Fund through Creative Scotland.

Donations of any size are invaluable to enable The Brunton to survive, thrive and continue to bring a programme of arts and entertainment to East Lothian and beyond. Donations can be made via The Brunton’s website.

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News

Big Screen Panto Family Fun

Rapunzel The Pantomime – a family film screened at The Brunton

Photo: Robin Mitchell

It is panto time in Musselburgh as Rapunzel The Pantomime – a film for all the family, comes to The Brunton’s cinema with full festive trimmings.

The story of Rapunzel who was locked in a tower before being rescued by her pal Jammy, is told in fun panto style. Full of songs and slapstick, local references and colourful characters – a unique family pantomime film for all ages.

Rapunzel The Pantomime – is produced by The Brunton, written and directed by John Binnie, designed by Robin Mitchell with Musical Direction and Composition by Tommie Travers, filmed by D Fie Foe.

The Brunton is delighted to welcome back panto favourites: Graham Crammond as Jessie Jobseeker, Wendy Seager as Sorceress, Eildih Weir as Rapunzel and Ross Donnachie as Jammy Dodger. The Brunton works each year, with a team of creative people, to produce a unique pantomime which is set in East Lothian. This year is no exception.

Rapunzel The Pantomime – a family film, was created and filmed safely on stage at The Brunton giving audiences a chance to enjoy a Brunton pantomime this Christmas.

Rapunzel The Pantomime – a family film is screened at The Brunton from Saturday 19 – Wednesday 30 December. Tickets are £10 / £38 for a family of 4. For those who can’t safely make it to The Brunton’s cinema, there is also an option to watch online at home. More information here.

  • The Brunton has received funding from the Scottish Government’s Performing Arts Venue Relief Fund through Creative Scotland.
  • Donations of any size are invaluable to enable The Brunton to survive, thrive and continue to bring a programme of arts and entertainment to East Lothian and beyond. Donations can be made via The Brunton’s website.
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Covid 19 Update

The Brunton receives a portion of the Performing Arts Venue Relief Fund

Fifty-nine venues across Scotland have received a total of £4.74million from the open call for applications to the Scottish Government’sPerforming Arts Venue Relief Fund through Creative Scotland. The Brunton has received funding of £250,000.

The purpose of the fund is to support immediate and critical financial need in order for venues which programme theatre and/or dance and/or music to remain solvent during the period of closure to the public and to plan for a sustainable return. This funding is to bridge the financial gap until opening plans and income projections are clearer. The fund recognises that performing arts venues still await confirmation from the Scottish Government as to when they can re-open. Social distancing requirements will have an impact on capacity and the financial viability of programming. 

Michael Stitt, Chair of The Brunton Theatre Trust welcomed the news:

As a Scottish Arts Charity, 2020 has been an incredibly difficult year for The Brunton. The lockdown that was necessary due to Covid-19 has impacted greatly on the operation of The Brunton and its programme, as it has done on venues throughout the country and on those employed within the arts. We are extremely grateful to receive support from Creative Scotland’s Performing Arts Venue Relief Fund. This funding is a crucial contribution that will assist The Brunton to remain sustainable through this difficult period and will support the continuation of our programme of arts and entertainment for East Lothian and beyond. Careful consideration will be given to the type of programming that will be possible in the coming months with the safety of our audiences and staff at the forefront of our artistic decision making. We thank Creative Scotland for this funding. We also thank all our audiences and the local community for their ongoing patience and support for The Brunton during this challenging time.

Iain Munro, CEO, Creative Scotland said:

Despite the ongoing, detrimental impact that the Covid-19 pandemic is having on Scotland’s performing arts venues, and on culture as a whole, it is positive that we can offer some funding to help venues navigate these extremely challenging times. I’m also encouraged to see that this funding will help venues across many different parts of Scotland where they form such an important part of the cultural life of local communities.

Jude Henderson, Director of the Federation of Scottish Theatre (FST) said:

We welcome the announcement of these emergency awards to performing arts venues across the country. The funds will help to support the vital work they do in serving communities, providing employment and showcasing Scotland’s world class theatre and dance offer, much of which is created by our members.

Donations of any size are invaluable to enable The Brunton to survive, thrive and continue to bring a programme of arts and entertainment to East Lothian and beyond. Donations can be made via The Brunton’s website www.thebrunton.co.uk  (https://bit.ly/3hgrDkX).

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Covid 19 Update

Postponement of The Brunton’s Annual Pantomime

Each year The Brunton produces a well-loved family Pantomime and were very much looking forward to presenting Aladdin in 2020.

The Brunton is closely following Government advice as it becomes available.  The importance of having socially distanced measures in place once live performances are able to take place again will be crucial for the safety of our customers, staff, cast and freelance creative team. These measures will mean that the audience size for live performances at The Brunton will be vastly reduced. The live interactive family experience which The Brunton panto delivers will also be affected.

After much consideration, The Brunton Theatre Trust has therefore had to make the extremely difficult decision to postpone our annual Pantomime, Aladdin, until 2021.

“It is with great sadness that we announce the postponement of our 2020 pantomime. The Brunton Panto is a much loved tradition that is central to many people’s festive celebrations, a tradition that we enjoy bringing to life every year. We are aware that, although this is the right decision to take, it affects many; the cast, crew, and creatives that make the show every year, The Brunton staff and of course our wonderful audiences who join us to shout out at the baddies and laugh along with the Dame. So let’s think of it merely as a postponement, not a cancellation of our treasured Panto. Aladdin will be with us bigger and better for the festive season 2021! Thank you from everyone at The Brunton for your continued support and understanding.” Michael Stitt, Chair of The Brunton Theatre Trust

Aladdin will run from Tuesday 23 November 2021 until Friday 31 December 2021. Tickets will be available to book at www.thebrunton.co.uk

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What's On At Home

Digital Theatre Fix

As The Brunton is temporarily closed, we’ve been looking for other ways to keep you entertained. Some of the theatre companies that regularly perform on our stage, are making digital versions of their productions available for you to enjoy at home.

Dogstar Theatre – The Tailor of Inverness

The Shows Must Go On – The Shows Must Go On YouTube channel bringing you showtunes, backstage access and full performances from some of the best loved musicals in history! Featuring the best of musical theatre and beyond! From The West End to Broadway we’ve got you covered!

National Theatre – Help us celebrate the joy and laughter that panto brings to thousands of families across the UK every year.​ In honour of all the theatres that have been forced to cancel their Christmas pantos, we’re sharing Dick Whittington for FREE on the National Theatre YouTube channel from 3pm (UK time) on 23 December until midnight (UK time) on 27 December.

Rapture Theatre – Enjoy Rapture Mini Bites, a series of online, bite sized performances curated by Co-Artistic Director, Michael Emans. Every Friday they publish a reading, speech, poem, song or dance routine performed by one of the stars of previous Rapture shows. Find them on Facebook or Rapture Theatre’s website.

National Theatre of Scotland – #ScenesForSurvival – Scenes for Survival is a new season of 50 + digital artworks created in response to the current COVID-19 outbreak. Visit their website for more information.

The Scotsman – The Scotsman Sessions are short video performances from artists all around the country. Visit their website to watch.

Tricky Hat Productions – Following cancelled performances in Scotland and Japan due to the coronavirus pandemic, The Flames launched a digital collaboration. This pilot collaboration was a huge success; enabling Tricky Hat to keep the Scottish and Japanese Flames connected during a turbulent period. Now, The Flames are reigniting for a new collaborative project. #DontStopTheFlames is taking place virtually and in-person where possible. Flames across Scotland, Japan and New Zealand are devising with Tricky Hat associate artists to create a series of eight films between September and February. Sharing The Flames’ raw, real experiences of life at the present moment, these films allow The Flames to tell their stories about a new way of living and offer fresh insights into navigating through this unchartered territory. The collaborative process, be it digitally or physically, will allow distinctive themes to emerge throughout the making of the series.

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News

What’s On at Home

As The Brunton is temporarily closed, we’ve been looking for other ways to keep you and your family entertained. We’ve found some online activities that might help to keep the boredom at bay and some of the theatre companies that regularly perform on our stage, are making digital versions of their productions available for you to enjoy at home.

Family

Get Creative UK – Get Creative is a campaign that shines a light on all the great cultural activity that takes place on a regular basis in local communities and encourages people to try their hand at something new and creative. This year, we are using the #GetCreativeAtHome campaign to highlight and promote some of the amazing participatory creative activities that are being developed to help people to express themselves creatively during a time of unprecedented change. At this extremely challenging time, we believe that the power of creativity to unite people and support them to maintain good mental health and connection with others is more important than ever. #GetCreativeatHome

The Gruffalo -There are masses of great games and activities and fun stuff you can download here

Funbox – Clips from previous Funbox productions – available on YouTube.

Music

Dougie MacLean – Streaming live concerts from his home and studio in the Old School in Butterstone, Scotland. Available to watch on Facebook or YouTube.

Scottish Opera – Spotlight On… Immerse yourself in some of Scottish Opera’s best loved productions, past and present. Never-before-seen photos, in-depth interviews, videos, exclusive programme articles and more to keep you entertained. Visit their website.

Theatre

The Shows Must Go On – The Shows Must Go On YouTube channel bringing you showtunes, backstage access and full performances from some of the best loved musicals in history! Featuring the best of musical theatre and beyond! From The West End to Broadway we’ve got you covered!

Rapture Theatre – Enjoy Rapture Mini Bites, a series of online, bite sized performances curated by Co-Artistic Director, Michael Emans. Every Friday they publish a reading, speech, poem, song or dance routine performed by one of the stars of previous Rapture shows. Find them on Facebook or Rapture Theatre’s website.

National Theatre of Scotland 

  • #ScenesForSurvival – Scenes for Survival is a new season of 50 + digital artworks created in response to the current COVID-19 outbreak. Visit their website for more information.
  • Play Datesan online interactive programme for children and families, is free and available now! Get creative with our workshops for children of all ages.
  • Adam will be broadcast as part of BBC Arts ‘Lights Up’ for New Culture in Quarantine Season on BBC iPlayer and BBC Four in Feb/March 2021 and will premiere on BBC Scotland Channel in February 2021. Inspired by the life of Adam Kashmiry. Adam, the remarkable true story of a young trans man and his journey to reconciliation, is reinvented as a compelling on-screen drama.
  • Ghost Light: A celebration of theatre on film – Ghost Light is a love letter from the National Theatre of Scotland, evoking moments from Scottish theatrical performances past, present and future with works from writers including J.M. Barrie, David Greig and Jackie Kay, and original composition by Patricia Panther. Watch on YouTube.

Sky Arts available on Freeview – As the UK’s only dedicated arts channel, Sky Arts exists to bring more art to more people across the UK. By throwing open the doors to make the channel free to air, we want to increase access to and participation in the arts. Offering something for everyone, whatever their passion, Sky Arts showcases the best of classical and popular music, theatre, opera, dance and the visual arts, as well as original drama and comedy.

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Fundraising Campaign News

The Brunton asks theatre goers to remember the good times

Rapunzel The Pantomime – A Family Film (Photo: Robin Mitchell)

2020 has been a difficult year for everyone and The Brunton is no exception. Whilst decisions to cancel or postpone events have been undoubtedly right, it has inflicted an enormous financial challenge upon the Trust, a charity dedicated to bringing the very best theatre, music, dance, comedy, children’s theatre, screenings and entertainment to East Lothian and beyond. To date The Trust have incurred revenue loss of £705,000, 50% of their annual turnover.

In a usual year The Brunton stages up to 175 productions at their Musselburgh home, with a total of 269 live performances and screenings ranging from re-imagined classics such as Shakespeare and Chekhov, to modern masterpieces, new work by contemporary artists and theatre/dance-makers and live screenings from the National Theatre and Royal Opera House.

The Trust also present performances and projects in schools and community venues across the area and work in collaboration with partners to deliver projects that support artists and communities.

The Brunton has developed over the years, transforming from a local authority run venue into a Scottish Charitable Organisation and a highly respected component of the arts in Scotland.

Before March 2020, The Brunton was looking forward to a future where they would continue to grow and expand.

Crucially The Brunton now needs help to survive, thrive and continue to bring a programme of arts and entertainment to East Lothian and beyond. Their Emergency Fundraising Campaign asks theatre goers who are not able to enjoy a trip to The Brunton just now, to consider giving the gift of the value of a theatre ticket to The Brunton; to remember the good times at The Brunton and look forward to returning just as soon as it is possible.

Michael Stitt, Chair of The Brunton Theatre Trust said:

“The Brunton has been fortunate to have such a supportive and enthusiastic audience. Never has this been more important. The damage done by the pandemic will be long term and extremely challenging. We need the help of our community to survive and ultimately thrive. Every donation is one more step towards recovery and we hope those who love our work will donate to this important appeal.”

The Brunton has produced a pantomime film of Rapunzel to view at home over the Christmas period, providing some festive fun for all to enjoy and creating employment for 18 freelance arts workers.

The Brunton is asking for voluntary donations of support to help secure their future into 2021 and beyond. Donations of any size are very welcome and can be made via www.thebrunton.co.uk or by calling 0131 653 5245

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About Us Covid 19 Update

New Box Office Number

Tickets are on sale now for film screenings this Autumn. Please book via our website www.thebrunton.co.uk or by calling our NEW box office number 0131 653 5245.

We hope our Reopening Video will help answer any questions you have about visiting the venue.

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About Us Covid 19 Update

The Brunton Reopens with Cinema Screenings

The Brunton is reopening its doors this autumn with Big Screen Movies and Royal Opera House Cinema Screenings.

In line with Scottish Government guidance and with financial support from Creative Scotland, The Brunton will reopen its Big Screen in Venue 1, much loved by regular customers as a local cinema venue, after 6 months of closure, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Scottish Government has authorised that cinema venues can reopen following strict hygiene and social distancing measures, thus operating in a way that is safe for audiences and staff.

An extensive range of modifications within The Brunton have been implemented. These include; new signage, floor markings, sanitiser stations, enhanced cleaning schedules, face coverings when not eating and drinking, reduced capacity in the auditorium with advance booking only – either online or by phone. Staff have been trained to ensure their own and audience safety. They will be on hand to offer a warm welcome back and answer any questions that visitors may have.

Embroidered seat covers show people where to sit.

To enable social distancing within the Venue, bespoke seat back covers with the Brunton logo have been created by Musselburgh based Image Scotland. These are being used to indicate which seats are to be occupied at each screening. The seat covers are removable allowing for flexible seating configuration, following social distancing requirements.

Michael Stitt, Chair of The Brunton Theatre Trust said:

“We thank all our audiences, visitors and local community, for their patience and support for The Brunton during this challenging time. We are delighted to be opening our doors again. Whilst The Brunton always takes measures to ensure the health and safety of our staff and visitors, we have now introduced additional hygiene and social distancing measures that guests will notice from the moment they walk back through our doors. We are very much looking forward to welcoming people back to our screenings this autumn, which will begin with cinema releases and Royal Opera House cinema screenings.”

“For now a visit to The Brunton will be a little different, but over the coming weeks, audiences can book for cinema screenings, confident that all safety measures are in place. We await Scottish Government advice as to when live theatre performances can restart. Careful consideration will be given to the type of programming that we hope will be possible in the coming months, with the safety of our audiences and staff at the forefront of our artistic decision making and always whilst adhering to Scottish Government guidelines.”

Full details of the autumn cinema programme can be found on The Brunton’s website, thebrunton.co.uk, highlights include: A Beautiful Day In The Neighbourhood, Emma and Dark Waters.

Further details about enhanced protocols, and online ticket booking for 2020 and into 2021 are available at thebrunton.co.uk. Updates will be provided through thebrunton.co.uk and on Facebook, twitter and Instagram.

Donations of any size are invaluable to enable The Brunton to survive, thrive and continue to bring a programme of arts and entertainment to East Lothian and beyond. Donations can be made via The Brunton’s website www.thebrunton.co.uk

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About Us

Meet Dave – Senior Usher

“Our role is to make sure that from the moment a visitor walks through the door until the moment they leave we are there to make their visit a great one.”

Although Dave has trained as an astrophysicist, he made the switch to hospitality and has a wealth of experience, enjoying 20 years in the South West of England, managing a club with over 500 members.

Dave joined The Brunton in 2013 and enjoys supporting the arts and the variety that comes with his role, meeting new people every day and delivering an experience that makes them want to return.

“Working at The Brunton is so different every day. We can be hosting a wedding ensuring guests have a day to remember, a conference, a dance show, educational events, a live band, live theatre, a screening from London and 100 other things I have forgotten!”

Whilst the curtain is down for now, Dave, his Front of House team and many other colleagues are working hard to ensure that everything is ready and waiting for the day that The Brunton can reopen its doors.

Whilst The Brunton always takes measures to ensure the health and safety of staff, visitors and audiences, additional measures will be in place to ensure that everyone can return to a welcoming and safe environment.

 Some of these measures include hand sanitising stations, perspex screens, contactless payments and the safe management of the public in The Brunton.

An avid follower of football and cricket, especially Manchester United and Gloucestershire County Cricket Club, Dave is also familiar to many of The Brunton’s community from his other role as the starter at the world famous Musselburgh Links Old Golf Course. A busy man indeed!

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About Us

Meet Amy – Development Officer Dance & Drama

Amy began working as Development Officer Dance & Drama at the beginning of March 2020, just a short time before the country went into lockdown.

“I know everyone has loved keeping fit & active during this difficult time as well as having dance as one of their daily activities.”

Amy gained her degree in Dance in 2012 and has since spent several years performing within the arts industry in various productions both on stage & screen. Amy has been lucky enough to travel the world doing what she loves, performing in locations such as New York, Hong Kong, Singapore and the UK. Within this time she has taught for several independent dance companies as a freelance dance artist across Edinburgh and the Lothians.

Amy’s busy role as Development Officer means that she oversees the programme of Dance and Drama activities for the Arts Service and The Brunton Theatre Trust, delivering many projects and workshops across East Lothian, working in the community and in primary and secondary schools. 

Unfortunately due to the current situation all classes have been postponed, however Amy has been leading dance workshops around all 4 Hubs within East Lothian which she has enjoyed

Amy’s favourite aspect about her new role is that she still has the opportunity to teach dance, either through education workshops or at a time like this where dance can be used to support the wider community. She looks forward to creating new and exciting opportunities as well as developing the current programme giving participants the ability to flourish when everything returns to normal.

Whilst not working Amy enjoys going for long walks with her boxer puppy Socks.

If you would like some more information about the dance or drama programme or to join one of the following groups don’t hesitate to get in touch with Amy via email or one of our social media platforms. Info below.

East Lothian Youth Theatre – Facebook @eastlothianyouththeatre

0131 665 9900 or email youththeatre@eastlothian.gov.uk

Move It – https://www.facebook.com/East-Lothian-MOVE-IT-675952255868203/  moveit@eastlothian.gov.uk

Brunton Players

Dramarama

East Lothian Youth Dance Company