The Scottish Government’s updated Covid-19 guidance (21 December 2021) stipulated that from 26 December 2021 for 3 weeks, indoor live events will be restricted to a maximum of 200 people with social distancing of 1 metre. The Brunton theatre venue seats 296 and following the new guidlelines could seat a maximum audience of circa 130 – 140.
We had very much hoped to continue with socially distanced performances that would have met the new regulations.
HOWEVER, FOLLOWING CONSULTATION AND DUE TO THE RISING NUMBER OF CASES OF COVID , WE HAVE SADLY DECIDED TO CANCEL OUR PANTO PERFORMANCES FROM 27 – 31 DECEMBER. HANSEL AND GRETEL WILL CLOSE AFTER THE SHOWS ON 24 DECEMBER.
THE 27 DECEMBER PERFORMANCE OF FUNBOX: SANTA’S PYJAMA PARTY HAS ALSO BEEN CANCELLED.
The Brunton Theatre Trust, our staff , our pantomime company and Funbox are devastated that we have had to take this decision. However the safety of our audiences, panto cast & crew, performers and staff is paramount.
The Box Office team will work as quickly as possible to refund your tickets. Due to the volume of sales we ask for your patience while we process the refunds.
Thank you for your continued support and understanding. Please stay safe everyone.
The Brunton has launched its October 2021 to January 2022 season, offering a great line up of theatre, music, dance film and more to end 2021 and bring us into the new year.
What Moves You? features a solo performance from dance artist Niamh O’Loughlin. An outdoor performance, heralded The Brunton’s return to live performances in June. Now indoors, this performance mixes live dance and music with film.
In partnership with Edinburgh Book Festival, Citizen Winter Warmer is a day of heart-warming events with authors and artists, celebrating local community voices.
National treasure Su Pollard gives a one-woman tour-de-force performance in Harpy. This razor-sharp and bittersweet dark drama from Fringe First award winner Philip Meeks (Kiss Me Honey, Honey!) debuted at Edinburgh Fringe in 2018. A funny and tragic story about one woman’s lifelong battle to find a treasured possession she once lost.
Lunchtime theatre returns with a classic short play and the option of a light lunch of soup and a sandwich Written by John Mortimer (Rumpole of the Bailey), The Dock Brief is a delightful comedy about the law, life and love, brought alive on stage by Rapture Theatre.
The popular Lunchtime Classical Concert series, where audiences can enjoy lunch in the upstairs lounge followed by an hour of classical music in Venue 2, continues with Tim Beattie’s guitar recital and Ariel Lanyi, on piano.
The Brunton’s well loved professional pantomime, will return LIVE to the stage in Musselburgh. Hansel & Gretel, will be produced in house by The Brunton, written and directed by award winning and hugely experienced writer and theatre maker John Binnie. John wrote the scripts for the 2018 and 2019 pantos, well received by both audiences and press. In 2020 John wrote & directed Rapunzel The Pantomime – a family film, enjoyed by many schools and families who viewed it online during the festive period. Once again The Brunton panto guarantees lots of humour, song and local references.
In association with Lammermuir Festival, festive programming also includes a Candlelight Concert with Royal Northern Sinfonia, at North Esk Parish Church, Musselburgh.
The Saltire Festival is celebrated with Scottish folk from multi award-winning Kris Drever, whilst Keith Jack and the MacDonald Bros guarantee a braw night celebrating all things Scotland covering the music of The Proclaimers, Lewis Capaldi, Dougie Maclean and more! The charming and heart-warming classic film, Local Hero is on The Brunton big screen.
Calling all budding, young performers in East Lothian. Our professional pantomime, will return live to The Brunton’s stage in Musselburgh this year! The production team are now holding auditions for the chorus of local performers to support the professional cast.
Each year a chorus of local performers support The Brunton’s professional pantomime cast. Working in rotation, these groups play a crucial role in the much loved show. Those eligible to audition will be in school years P4 – S4, below 16 years old, resident in East Lothian and able to sing, dance and act.
Auditions take place on Saturday 18 September, 10.30am – 12.30pm at The Brunton in Musselburgh. Audition slots must be booked by email no later than Wednesday 15 September. Emails should be sent to email@example.com, detailing participant’s name, DOB, address, phone number and school attended.
Successful performers must commit to all rehearsals. These will take place on a Monday and Friday from 24 September and on 18 -20 October during school holidays, full schedule to be confirmed on confirmation of audition slot, also dress rehearsal dates from w/c 9 and 16 November and show dates from 23 November 2021 – 31 December.
The Brunton’s annual pantomime is a much loved festive extravaganza. Joining the chorus is a fantastic experience and a wonderful opportunity to take part in a professional production.
Edinburgh Festival Fringe at The Brunton, Musselburgh
The Brunton (Venue 191), in Musselburgh is the complete Fringe venue by the coast this August. Enjoy a little theatre, catch a concert, hear tales from a rock ‘n’ roll legend or catch some free street Hip Hop. Stroll on the beach, soak up the sun, enjoy the fresh sea air and…relax.
The Brunton has worked hard to create a Covid – safe and welcoming venue and is delighted to reopen its doors and welcome audiences back to the airy and spacious Venue 1 for LIVE entertainment in East Lothian.
A spokesperson for Brunton Theatre Trust said:
“We are absolutely delighted to re-open our doors and bring physically distanced LIVE entertainment to our audiences in East Lothian and beyond as we celebrate being part of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival once again. Our staff and performers are looking forward to welcoming people back and all our events will be presented in line with the Scottish Government’s Covid-19 safety guidelines. We have prepared FAQs for our audiences to keep everyone safe. Indoors and out, Musselburgh truly is the place to be for Festival Fringe fun!”
Relax with some classical music as Edinburgh born, award –winning guitarist, Sean Shibe(Fri 20 Aug) brings us the classicism of JS Bach together with the Spanish charm of Villalobos and Mompou. Sean’s programme is completed by hauntingly beautiful lute music from renaissance Scotland.
Tenor Jamie MacDougall is one of Scotland’s leading musical personalities. Enjoy an evening of songs from Viennese operetta, opera and musical theatre (Sat 28 Aug).
The Brunton welcomes award winning folk musiciansKris Drever (LAU), John McCusker & Roddy Woomble (Idlewild)for their first time on onstage together since 2008! Expect to hear many much-loved songs as they celebrate the 10th anniversary of Before The Ruin, their classic Scottish folk collaborative album, much loved by many (Thu 19 Aug).
Fringe favourite, award winning Dougie MacLean, renowned for his song Caledonia and music for Last of the Mohicans returns to delight our audiences (Sat 14 August).
Scotland’s number 1 Michael Bublé tribute act, Michael Hastie, invites you to a night full of seductive songs and big band classics in a fabulous tribute to the Canadian Crooner and the era of swing. Enjoy Big Band Bublé’s fabulous tribute to the world’s favourite Canadian Crooner and the era of swing (Sun 29 Aug).
Legendary Status Quo lead singer Francis Rossi shares the extraordinary secrets of his 50-plus years in rock’n’roll when in an intimate evening of chat and music. Expect laughter, revelations, tales involving some of the giants of music, exclusive video clips, snatches of classic tunes as Francis tells all about his mishaps and adventures of life on the road with one of the biggest and most loved bands ever! VIP tickets also available (Fri 27 Aug).
The Brunton is also about and about in Musselburgh this summer with a programme of outdoor theatre. Enjoy events at Musselburgh Racecourse, Lewisvale Park and Fisherrow Links.
Illyria, Quantum Theatre & Scottish Opera feature at various locations within Musselburgh Racecourse.
Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing is a much loved comic play, performed by Illyria, a highly respected outdoor theatre company. A little light relief for a summer’s evening. There will be a pop up bar selling tea, coffees, homemade cakes, beers, wines, spirits and mixers, soft drinks and ice cream (Fri 13 Aug).
Quantum Theatre are regulars to The Brunton’s outdoor programme. They bring a swashbuckling, action-packed, new adaptation of the classic pirate adventure, Treasure Island to the Racecourse. For this family friendly adventure, audiences are asked to bring their own rug or low backed chair and if they wish a picnic (no alcoholic drinks please) (Sat 14 Aug)
Scottish Opera’s Pop-up Opera is back on the road with a tour featuring two of Gilbert & Sullivans’ best loved hits, HMS Pinafore and The Pirates of Penzance. Experience all the drama and wonder of grand opera on a miniature scale, with open-air performances brought to life by a storyteller, two singers, instrumentalists and a sumptuous set of specially created illustrations. 30 minutes of screwball humour, perfect for audiences of all ages (Sat 21 & Sun 22 Aug).
Outdoor theatre at Lewisvale Park, Inveresk (Double Dykes entrance) comes from Nutshell Theatre. For older audiences (12+) join sisters Dora and Maddy in their allotment as they ponder: Do flowers matter as much as vegetables? Allotmentfollows the sister’s complex and quirky relationship as they live out the seasons and play out their rivalries among the plants. When the unexpected rocks their uneasy balance, it’s time to do something radical…a feast for the senses – a tale of life, death, Pink Fir Apple potatoes, and the secret power of worms (Fri 27 & Sat 28 Aug)
City Breakz bring their FREE Pop Up Hip Hop performance to areas throughout Musselburgh from 2pm on Friday 6 August with the closing finale at Fisherrow Links at 2.50pm.
Tickets for all events, must be purchased in advance either online at thebrunton.co.uk or by phone 0131 653 5245. Tickets will not be available to purchase in person either at The Brunton, Musselburgh Racecourse or Lewisvale Park.
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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.
• 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.
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.
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 .
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.
East Lothian is in level 2 and 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.”
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.”
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 .
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.