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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 .

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News

The Brunton reopens with Big Screen Movies

The Brunton is 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 a local cinema venue.

In line with Scottish Government regulations, The Brunton has 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 visitors may have.

Michael Stitt, Chair of The Brunton Theatre Trust said:

“We are delighted to finally be opening our doors again to welcome back our audiences from the local community and beyond. Working with East Lothian Council, we have taken considerable steps to ensure a Covid safe environment within our much loved venue.”

Full details of the cinema programme can be found here, movie highlights include: Nomadland (26 May), Ammonite (2 June) and Minari (9 June). The Brunton team are working to programme a range of theatre and concert screenings with Michael Ball and Alfie Boe on 1 July and Mick Fleetwood and Friends confirmed for 11 September.

Thursday 1 July

The Brunton Theatre Trust will continue to follow Scottish Government guidance and hopes to be able to resume live performances in the not too distant future, as restrictions ease. 

Michael Stitt continued:

“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, whilst always adhering to Scottish Government guidelines.”

Further details about enhanced protocols, and online ticket booking are available at here. Updates will be provided through our website 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 our website .

Categories
News Youth Theatre & Dance

What Moves You?

The Brunton Theatre Trust is working in partnership with What Moves You, a participatory arts project, connecting communities using movement and performance.

Exploring what inspires us to move, Dance Artist Niamh O’Loughlin, mixes creative movement and fun dance tasks in engaging online workshops for ages 6 – 14. 

What Moves You? connects four theatres with four Dance Artists across Scotland.

Led by Dawn Hartley who worked with The Brunton from 1999 – 2007, the project introduces fellow Dance Artist, Niamh O’Loughlin.

Dawn says,

“Niamh is a young choreographer whose work is engaging and super imaginative; in person and online. She has the knack of making everyone feel as if they’re together in the same room, having fun.”

Niamh will perform a solo piece at The Brunton this summer, inspired by the work created in these workshops. More information about this to follow soon.

Free workshops on Monday 3 May Ages 6 – 10: 10am – 10.45am Ages 11 – 14: 11.15am – 12pm 

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News What's On At Home

The Brunton welcomes Ryedale Festival for a series of digital concerts

Whilst venues remain closed, many audiences have been enjoying online access to fantastic concerts. The Brunton is delighted to have secured a series of digital classical concerts from Ryedale Festival. Working in partnership with Lammermuir Festival also, The Brunton is inviting audiences to enjoy this uplifting music from home.

The series opens on Tuesday 13 April with Rachel Podger, violin, filmed in the Chapel at Castle Howard.

Rachel Podger

Rachel has established herself as a leading interpreter of the Baroque and Classical music periods. She was the first woman to be awarded the prestigious Royal Academy of Music/Kohn Foundation Bach Prize in October 2015, Gramophone Artist of the Year 2018, and Ambassador for REMA’s Early Music Day 2020. She is the founder and Artistic Director of Brecon Baroque Festival and her ensemble Brecon Baroque. This world leading performer on the baroque violin plays stunning music ending with an arrangement of one of Bach’s great solo cello suites for solo violin.

Anna Lapwood

Anna Lapwood, organ is Tuesday 27 April, filmed at St Michael’s Church, Coxwold.

A conductor, organist, and broadcaster, trailblazing musician Anna Lapwood, made her TV presenting debut in 2020 hosting BBC Television’s coverage of BBC Young Musician. As a radio broadcaster she is a regular contributor to BBC Radio 3 and Radio 4.  Recently she has founded and conducts the NHS Chorus-19, a virtual choir made up of over 1000 NHS staff from across the UK. The programme features music of Bach, the greatest composer of organ music of all time and is completed by music by Bruhns, one of his celebrated contemporaries.

Rowan Pierce & Christopher Glynn

The final concert is on Tuesday 11 May, Rowan Pierce, soprano with Christopher Glynn on piano, filmed at All Saints’ Church, Helmsley.

Rowan Pierce is a rising star in the world of Baroque opera. She has appeared throughout Europe and America with leading ensembles including Scottish Chamber Orchestra and BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. Recent highlights include 2019’s Edinburgh Festival with The English Concert and Ryedale Festival. She also performed the recordings which became the singing voice of Siena Rosso in the current British period drama Bridgerton.

Christopher Glynn is a Grammy award-winning pianist and accompanist. He is also Artistic Director of the Ryedale Festival, programming around 60 events each year in the many beautiful and historic venues of Ryedale, North Yorkshire. The programme includes gorgeous songs by Schubert, Schumann, Strauss and Grieg.  It opens with two stunning songs by Henry Purcell the quintessential English Composer.

Recorded in three beautiful locations, the concerts are available for streaming at home at £10 per concert (plus booking fee). Book online or by calling 0131 653 5245. Each concert is available to view an unlimited amount of times for two weeks from the start date. The Brunton Classical Online series is programmed with support from the Scottish Government’s Performing Arts Venue Relief Fund through Creative Scotland.

Following the success of The Brunton’s previous Classical Online series with Royal Conservatoire Scotland, The Brunton Theatre Trust were keen to continue offering audiences a chance to enjoy cultural experiences from home, whilst the venue remains unable to open. A spokesperson for the Trust said:

“Our first Classical Online series earlier in the year was very well received. Audiences in East Lothian and beyond welcomed a little oasis of calm and restoration within their day. Being able to watch the concerts an unlimited amount of times over a two week period proved popular. We are delighted to welcome spring with our next round of concerts, again working in partnership with Lammermuir Festival and for this series we are delighted to partner with Ryedale Festival.”

As The Brunton currently remains closed, the Trust are continuing to appeal for donors to help support them to survive, thrive and continue to bring a programme of arts and entertainment to audiences in East Lothian and beyond. Donations can be made via The Brunton’s website.

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News What's On At Home

Puppet Festival goes online for Easter holidays

Every Easter The Brunton and ELC Arts Service bring the Puppet Animation Festival, the UK’s largest performing arts event for children, to East Lothian. These imaginative and playful, high quality performances and workshops are ideal for primary school age children and usually take place in venues across the County.  

This year the Puppet Animation Festival is going ONLINE with two fabulous performances to watch through The Brunton’s website and two fun workshops to take part in via Zoom.

Book here

The Incredible Tale of Robot Boy (Theatre Rites) will be on Saturday 10 April at 11.30am & 2pm for ages 8 plus.

In the most extraordinary high-tech laboratory, a team of the world’s top scientists are attempting the impossible, to create a robot with a real brain. Their aim is to push the boundaries of scientific discovery. They succeed and Robot Boy is born. A poetic story about humanity, responsibility and life with dazzling puppetry, interactive film and performance.
Theatre-Rites is one of the UK’s leading theatre companies, known for their puppetry and object manipulation work and for creating innovative theatre for children and adults. Watch the trailer here.

The Selfish Giant (Tessa Bide Productions) is on Saturday 17 April at 11.30am & 2pm for ages 3 plus.

Inspired by the touching children’s story The Selfish Giant by Oscar Wilde, powerful storytelling, captivating puppetry, beautiful design, enchanting music and a sprinkling of audience interaction are used to explore an unusual friendship and how even the grumpiest giant’s heart can melt when Spring finally comes.

Tessa Bide Productions launched in 2021 and are Bristol’s leading family theatre experts. They have toured extensively across the UK and internationally to great acclaim. Watch the trailer here.

Tickets for The Incredible Tale and Robot Boy and The Selfish Giant are just £5 each (plus booking fee). This is per viewing – regardless of the number watching together at the same time.

Two fun and interactive workshops presented by Temporary Commons offer the chance to stay connected and get creative. Bookers will receive a pack with all the materials needed as well as a Zoom link to join the workshop online, led by professional puppet creators.

Sing Song Bird Puppet workshop is on Saturday 10 April at 10am & 3.00pm, for ages 8 plus.

Using collage and pop-up card folding techniques, participants will make a bird puppet with a moving beak. These birds love to sing, squawk and chatter. The birds sing a simple song which will be shared at the end of the workshop.

Wibble Wobble Clown workshop is on Saturday 17 April at 10am & 3.30pm, for ages 5 plus.

These puppets are collages made from simple shapes, then assembled with split pins. Once they’re made, the clowns will parade, to test their tipple topple, wibble wobble.

Each workshop costs £10 per participant, which includes postage of all the materials needed as well as access to the professional led online workshops.

Book online here or call 0131 653 5245 Mon-Fri 10am – 3pm

As The Brunton currently remains closed, the Trust are appealing for donors to help support them 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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News What's On At Home

Moon Capers

Performance film for ages 4 – 9 to enjoy at home from 22 March

Although The Brunton cannot open its doors at the moment, they are working with partners to provide a range of arts and cultural options to experience online. The latest of these is the streaming of Shaper/Caper’s film, Moon Capers, an interactive performance film from for ages 4-9 and their adults, designed to be enjoyed at home. The film will be available from 22 March at 10am and can be viewed multiple times for a week, costing £5 plus a booking fee.

Shaper/Caper invite young people to take a trip to space to help rescue the cow who jumped over the moon, in Moon Capers, a fabulous creative and interactive performance film that is 30 minutes long and can be enjoyed from living rooms.

Moon Capers is programmed with support from the Scottish Government’s Performing Arts Venue Relief Fund through Creative Scotland.

Following the success of The Brunton’s online pantomime Rapunzel, The Brunton Theatre Trust are keen to continue offering audiences a chance to enjoy cultural experiences from home, whilst the venue remains unable to open. A spokesperson for the Theatre Trust said:

“Arts experiences play an important role in our wellbeing. Sadly The Brunton is currently unable to welcome people into the building, so we very much want to provide our audiences with the same kind of high quality digital arts and entertainment that they would expect to enjoy at The Brunton. This performance film from Shaper/Caper is a fun, interactive experience for children and their families to enjoy at home together.”

As The Brunton currently remains closed, the Trust are appealing for donors to help support them 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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News

The Brunton offers a Digital Classical Concert series to lift the spirits

The Brunton’s concert hall may be silent at the moment, but musicians are not. Large online audiences have been accessing concerts by terrific musicians and The Brunton is inviting audiences to beat the lockdown blues with their series of uplifting lunchtime concerts, to watch at home, presented in partnership with Royal Conservatoire Scotland and Lammermuir Festival.

The concerts will be available for streaming at home from February 23rd at a cost of £7 per concert (and booking fee) and are programmed with support from the Scottish Government’s Performing Arts Venue Relief Fund through Creative Scotland.

The series begins with Maurizio Reyes, Piano Rhythms on February 23rd.

A programme framed by irresistible musical rhythms. Bach’s Suites include many of the most popular dance movements of his time and Bartok’s music is grounded in his native Hungary’s folk music. Granados is the quintessential Spanish composer and his ‘Allegro de concierto’ is a parade of musical fireworks. Brahms’s Capriccios have an intoxicating dark beauty.

Maurizio Reyes is a musical shooting star – giving BBC Broadcasts while still a student at Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

Prodigies Grow Up, The Resol String Quartet concert will air on March 2nd with deeply romantic and hypnotic music from Mozart, Mendelssohn and Glass.

Mozart and Mendelssohn were perhaps the greatest of all musical child prodigies. Mendelssohn’s deeply romantic A minor quartet was written when he was 18. Mozart’s ‘Dissonance’ quartet is a true masterpiece and a homage to his friend Haydn with whom he played chamber music for fun. Philip Glass’s hypnotic music has made him a star well beyond the field of pure classical music.

The virtuoso trio of Abigail Young – violin, Balazs Renczes – cello and Graeme McNaught – piano perform The Magic of Mendelssohn, which can be enjoyed on March 23rd.

Piano, violin and cello is a combination which offers amazing musical possibilities. Mendelssohn’s D minor trio is intoxicating in its intensity – lovely melodies and great virtuoso brilliance. Leo Weiner’s Romance for cello and piano is a haunting feast of Hungarian tune. Myst is Abigail and Balazs’s violin and cello duo and Reservoir is a fabulous folk/traditional arrangement from their latest album.

Following the success of The Brunton’s online pantomime Rapunzel, The Brunton Theatre Trust were keen to continue offering audiences a chance to enjoy cultural experiences from home, whilst the venue remains unable to open. A spokesperson for the Theatre Trust said:

“Arts and culture experiences play an important role in our wellbeing. Sadly The Brunton is currently unable to welcome people in to the building, so we very much want to provide these classical concerts as a way to digitally connect with people during this lockdown. We hope these concerts will provide an oasis of calm and escape in the middle of the day.”

As The Brunton currently remains closed, the Trust are continuing to appeal for donors to help support them 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 .

Programmed with support from the Scottish Government’s Performing Arts Venue Relief Fund through Creative Scotland.

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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

Tricky Hat Productions – Of all the limitations the pandemic has brought to our lives, it’s hugging we miss the most. We long to hug our families and friends, that close human contact that says so much more than words.

It’s not surprising that the last film in the #DontStopTheFlames project, a series of 8 films about lives and hopes and dreams in the post-Covid world, is about hugging – or the need to hug. This film is in 2 parts:

HUG uses choreography to explore the lack of human connection, and the conflict between the desire to keep our loved ones close and the need to keep them at a social distance. Filmed in unusually quiet urban settings – outside the Science Centre in Glasgow and the Library in Sendai, Japan – it features a powerful soundscape, created using The Flames’ voices.

See HUG here

HUG ME was filmed by The Flames themselves, in Scotland and Japan. As well as demonstrating their digital upskilling, The Flames offer their own unique interpretations of human contact in recent times.

See HUG ME here

#DontStopTheFlames demonstrates Tricky Hat’s importance in the creative world with The Flames, its dynamic over-50s performance company, shattering preconceptions of ageing, and embracing new digital skills. All films in this series can be found here

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 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.