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About Us

Celebrating 50 Years of Brunton Hall

Jane Corrigan, Front of House Manager at The Brunton, talks about her memories

What is your first memory of being at The Brunton?

That would be around 1974 when as a child, I attended Jean Reynolds dance classes and we had boards, in what are now our offices and did tap dance practice. I moved to Morag Alexander’s School of Dance and remember being on stage in the show. You think it will be scary but in reality you can’t see the faces in the audience because of the lights and you are listening to the music, concentrating on your dances and don’t get time to get stage fright!  I also came to The Brunton to see Mr Boom and a production of The Glass Menagerie by Byre Theatre Company in 1984, it was fabulous.  A friend’s big brother, Simon Tait, was in it and it was an amazing performance. 

You have worked at The Brunton since 1984. You must have lots of fun memories of working here?

I have lots of great memories. There have been some unusual occurrences – we have had a sheep, a donkey and a dog on stage!  I enjoy meeting all the different artistes and famous people and have been lucky enough to meet a variety of people including: Leo Sayer, Les McKeown, The Alexander Brothers, Alistair McDonald, Peter Morrison, Alvin Stardust, Anita Harris, Sydney Devine, Lee Mack, Paul Daniels and Debbie McGee, Jenni Éclair, Jason Donovan, Gordon Strachan, Judy Murray. Ron Coburn was memorable as he did entertainment shows for elderly in the community latterly but years ago used to do the panto. I still to this day remember him saying “Chase me, chase me, I’m the last Bus to Prestonpans!” and the words to “Ginger the Orangutan” – a song that was part of panto – they adopted Ginger at Edinburgh Zoo and had a collection after each show and helped pay for its upkeep.

The Brunton is taking shows to Musselburgh Racecourse this summer, but has a long history of putting on shows in other locations. What is it like looking after front of house out and about?

When Brunton Theatre was closed for refurbishment years ago, we took shows on tour round East Lothian and that was huge fun – transforming a hall or hotel ballroom into a theatre space.  

It’s been a learning curve for all since Covid.  For outside events, we have sanitiser, spare masks, wipes, track and trace code and clipboard and we have to set up outside spaces that are safe and suitable for performers and the public alike. We do a site visit in advance and on the day we set it up to enable people to sit socially distanced in their groups. We also need to dress for the Scottish weather so we don’t get cold/windswept/wet or burnt!

The Brunton is usually packed with shows year round, what have you missed during the pandemic closures?

While The Brunton has been closed due to Covid, I’ve missed seeing everyone – the patrons and the staff, as we are like a big family and I was concerned about how they would all be coping as everyone was having different things to deal with. I did meet one lady in the supermarket during lockdown, who comes to classical concerts and she was worrying about us at The Brunton and wanted to get back to see us all.  It’s moments like that that make it all worthwhile. It will be lovely to have our audiences and staff and performers all back together for live performances and events and for there to be the buzz about the place that makes it so special. 

What do you think makes The Brunton Hall such a special place?

The Brunton is special as it is at the heart of the community and contributes to everyone’s lives – whether they come to the building to pay their council tax, go to The Bistro, watch a live performance at the Theatre or Venues, or participate in one of our many classes. Music, dance, drama and the arts, reach parts of you that other things don’t and are good for the soul. 

In my job, I need to be able to react and be proactive. Over the years I’ve lent Jenny Éclair my hair curling brush and straighteners and went to get special tea for one artiste and borrowed an arm ironing board attachment for another! To be able to make it all come together and be successful is a huge achievement. I think sometimes you run on adrenaline – then at the end of the shift when everyone leaves, you are tired but feel you’ve had a successful day and evening – that’s what makes it all worthwhile.

Click here to find out more about The Brunton’s out and about programme this summer.

Categories
Covid 19 Update News

Reopening Update and FAQs

We are delighted to welcome audiences back for 2021. From 26 May, The Brunton’s Big Screen Movies and Event Screenings will resume in Venue 1, much loved by regular customers as their local cinema venue.

East Lothian is in level 2 and in line with Scottish Government regulations, we have in place an extensive range of modifications including signage, floor markings, sanitiser stations, enhanced cleaning schedules, face coverings, reduced capacity in the auditorium and 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 and answer any questions that you may have.

Ticket sales

  • We are operating contactless ticket sales. Customers will purchase tickets online or by telephone only with no counter sales until further notice. Our NEW Box Office number is 0131 653 5245 and will be open from Monday to Saturday 10am to 3pm until further notice.
  • All seating will be unreserved. This means that when you make your booking for your tickets for singles, pairs or family groups, your booking is recorded in our ticketing system. Our ushers will check you in and seat you from the customer booking list when you arrive. No tickets will need to be handed over to reduce contact. You will be ushered to your seats.
  • Please contact our Box Office by email on boxoffice@eastlothian.gov.uk if you have any specific seating preferences and we will try to accommodate these. However this may not always be possible as our usher team will need to seat people according to physical distancing guidelines. Your understanding is appreciated.
  • To manage queuing, the main doors to the front of the building on Bridge Street will be open. The rear door to Gracefield Car Park will be closed until further notice.
  • If you or a member of your household has or begins to display symptoms of Covid-19 please do not visit The Brunton.

Contact Tracing

  • We are taking part in the public health authorities’ Covid-19 Contact Tracing scheme. We are required to have a record of each booker’s name and telephone number.  To do this we will ask you on arrival at The Brunton, to scan a QR code for Check In Scotland and enter your details online. If you do not have a camera phone, we will record your information manually. To find out more, please see our Covid 19 privacy notice.

Face masks

•     Customers who do not have face masks with them on arrival will be offered face masks. It is mandatory that face masks are worn in the building, although they can be removed for eating and drinking.

  • Face masks are not required for those that are exempt.

Cleaning and hygiene

  • We have enhanced cleaning procedures in place before and after each screening.
  • Our staff will be wearing disposable gloves and face shields / masks.
  • Hand sanitiser stations will be in place for customers and staff.

Social distancing & seating

  • We will be seating everyone in accordance with current Scottish Government guidelines.
  • We have reduced the number of people we can accommodate for each screening, enabling social distancing to 2 metres.
  • We have arranged for spaces between seats and between rows to ensure that social distancing guidelines are adhered to.
  • We are required to seat customers 2 metres apart from those not in your household or extended household.
  • We have arranged for spaces between seats and between rows to ensure that social distancing guidelines are adhered to.
  • If you are attending with people who are in your household or extended household you will all be seated together. However if you are attending with people from different households, we are required to seat customers 2 metres apart. We will ensure that customers who are required to sit 2 metres apart will be seated as near to each other as possible.
  • When booking you will be asked to let us know how many households will be attending and we will arrange your seating.
  • We will operate socially distanced queuing in the building when customers arrive.
  • There will be signage and instructions for social distancing throughout the building
  • We will take customers to their seats so different households can stay 2m apart.
  • At the end of the film screening our team of ushers will manage the safe public exit from the auditorium in rows and blocks.

Bars & toilets

  • If the bar is open we will have table service at the bar with contactless payment.
  • 1 metre social distancing will be in place in the bar area.
  • Perspex screening will also be in place at the bar and kiosk.
  • We will operate a queuing system for the use of the public toilets.

Please follow The Brunton on Facebook or Twitter and sign up for emails to stay up to date.

Your visit will be different to normal, but we are very much looking forward to welcoming you back.

Categories
News Youth Theatre & Dance

Brunton Youth Theatre

Brunton Youth Theatre welcomes back face to face classes, across East Lothian.

Brunton Theatre Trust is delighted to announce that youth theatre classes across East Lothian, will resume this month, with groups meeting in person, following all Scottish Government, Covid-19 secure guidance.

In March 2020 all youth theatre classes were postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. For the last year Brunton Theatre Trust has delivered most of these classes online over Zoom. However, following the announced relaxation of restrictions this month, classes can once again resume face to face in Dunbar, Haddington, Tranent, Longniddry, Prestonpans and Musselburgh.

Brunton Youth Theatre Network (formerly known as East Lothian Youth Theatre), offers young people across East Lothian, aged 5 – 18, who are looking to develop their acting skills, the opportunity to participate in weekly drama sessions. Classes are designed to nurture creativity through improvisation activities, characterisation, drama games, devising and much more. Participants will also have the opportunity to work with scripts and texts to build on performance skills.

A spokesperson for Brunton Theatre Trust said:

“Joining a youth theatre group can have a positive impact on Health and Wellbeing by building self-confidence, making new friends, developing new skills, reducing social isolation and above all having fun.”

All classes are led by experienced and qualified drama professionals who work as freelance performance artists and have a wealth of knowledge and talent.

Classes can be booked online at www.thebrunton.co.uk or by calling 0131 653 5245.


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 .

/ends

Categories
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

Categories
About Us

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.

Categories
Covid 19 Update News

New Box Office Number

Tickets are on sale now for film screenings. 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.

Categories
Covid 19 Update News

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).

Categories
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

Categories
About Us

Meet Hazel – box office

Hazel has been with The Brunton for one year and has a key role as Senior Box Office Assistant.

“The team have made me feel so welcome and we work well together. I love it, it’s one of the best decisions I’ve made.”

After 18 years working in retail Hazel wanted a change of career that still involved dealing with customers. Her love of attending the theatre spurred her on to apply for her “ideal job” at The Brunton. Hazel joined The Brunton at an exciting time of development as a new ticketing system and website were launched.

A typical working day for Hazel would be spent in the Box Office selling tickets to the public either in person or on the phone, answering emails and telephone enquiries, putting new shows on for sale and running a variety of sales reports for her colleagues in management, finance and marketing. Hazel especially enjoys the busyness of a show going in, and works well with her Front of House colleagues to ensure that the customer has an enjoyable experience from the moment they come through the doors of The Brunton.

Since Covid 19 Hazel’s role remains as crucial, but her office is home based for now. 

Hazel’s communication skills are to the fore as she liaises with customers to update them on rescheduled or cancelled show dates. She also advises customers on the various options for their ticket purchase. Where a show is rescheduled Hazel moves all bookings across to the new date. If a show has been cancelled Hazel also outlines the various options for attending in the future. Tickets value can be transferred into a credit for future use. Some generously turn the value of their ticket into a donation to support The Brunton’s community outreach programme. Hazel also manages refunds. If you think you may have missed an email from Hazel, please get in touch at boxoffice@eastlothian.gov.uk .

During Covid 19 Hazel has had to adapt to working from home and creating a whole new work/life balance. Whilst she misses dealing face to face with customers and the camaraderie of her team, she looks forward to the day that she can return to The Brunton building.

“…hopefully we will all be back soon.”

In the meantime Hazel makes time for what she enjoys doing outside of work “I read a lot, I walk a lot and I love to spend quality time with my family.”

Whilst the physical building of The Brunton may be closed for now, Hazel and the rest of the staff are still working remotely to reschedule events, share digital arts content, plan for the future and communicate with our audiences and East Lothian community until everyone can gather safely again at The Brunton. As a Registered Scottish Charity (SC022422), The Brunton gratefully welcomes all donations large or small.