Following the shock news of the temporary closure of performance spaces at The Brunton, the Theatre Trust reached out to venues in Musselburgh, East Lothian and beyond to source alternative spaces for their packed programme of community and professional events.
The Trust has been heartened by the response from venues from Musselburgh, into Edinburgh and across East Lothian offering support and space.
“This is not a scenario we could have imagined, just two weeks ago, but we now have performances taking place at Loretto School Theatre, North Esk Church, Musselburgh Grammar School and Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh. Where possible we are keeping our events in Musselburgh, as that is the home of The Brunton. It is no small task liaising with venues and companies to make sure their needs can be met and the staff at The Brunton have all pulled together with incredible versatility and creativity to overcome obstacles and forge new partnerships.
The Brunton is at the heart of cultural and community life in Musselburgh and is of vital importance to the town. It is recognised that attendance at and participation in the arts has a positive impact on wellbeing.”Michael Stitt, Chair of Brunton Theatre Trust
Loretto School have linked with Brunton Theatre Trust. Their Theatre is situated off Millhill and is an ideal space for a lot of the community dance school bookings due to take place at The Brunton this spring. Musselburgh Amateur Musical Association’s show will also take place at Loretto School Theatre.
“When we heard the news about Brunton Theatre, our first concern was for the dance school families and community performers. We were very concerned at the thought of disappointing these families, so are absolutely delighted that Loretto School have come to our rescue. Their theatre set up is also ideal for some of Brunton Theatre Trust’s professional programme.”Councillor Andy Forrest, Trustee of Brunton Theatre Trust
Brunton Theatre Trust has programmed a Christmas candlelit concert into North Esk Church for many years and this relationship is being further developed with the Bite-sized Concerts at Lunchtime series taking place there. Soup and a sandwich will now be served in the Church Hall with the concerts taking place in the Church.
“North Esk Church has a lovely, special atmosphere. The acoustics work really well for solo recitals, chamber music and larger ensembles, as well as other music styles. It is just over the road from The Brunton, so easily accessible for our audiences.”James Waters, classical music programmer at The Brunton
Finding a venue to fit the large capacity of Venue 1 has been trickier, but thanks to the quick responsiveness of FES and staff at Musselburgh Grammar School, the Trust can now start to move some concerts into that school. Feedback from audience members who went to the A Vision of Elvis concert was very positive. The hall has flat seating with a raised stage, so good sightlines. For future concerts interval refreshments will also be available.
A night at The Brunton, for many people, also includes pre theatre supper at The Bistro. The Bistro remains open for business and is very much welcoming pre theatre diners as well as daytime customers for snacks and lunches.
“This situation was certainly a shock to our system but we are delighted that Brunton Theatre Trust have managed to keep so much of their programme in Musselburgh, so that our customers can still enjoy pre theatre suppers at The Bistro. We will make sure bookers get to their event on time and if needed will arrange transport to get them from The Brunton to their new venue in Musselburgh.”Norma Buchan, owner of The Bistro at The Brunton
Rescheduling so many shows is a massive task, but the staff at The Brunton remain upbeat.
“We are grateful for the support and understanding shown to our staff from our customers, as they patiently await updates about events they have booked for. We appreciate that these changes are coming at short notice, however we will not cancel shows unless there is absolutely no other alternative. We are exploring all options possible and do not want to disappoint our customers.”Lesley Smith, General Manager of The Brunton
Customers can keep up to date with what is happening by following The Brunton on Facebook and twitter, signing up for email bulletins and visiting the website www.thebrunton.co.uk .