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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.

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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.

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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).

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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

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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.

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What's On At Home

Postcards From Isolation – A Covid Diary

As part of East Lothian Council’s Arts Service this Facebook group is an opportunity to document the day to day lives of local residents living through these historic and unusual times. From social distancing to lockdown, Covid 19 has changed the way we all work, shop, play and live our lives. The pictures you put up celebrate the tenacity of the human spirit through the hard, boring, funny and the amazing. It is a chance to depict the art of living and the creativity that comes from confinement. Put up your art projects, ideas, baking experiments and share your day to day life.

An extension of this page, once lockdown is over, would be a project -Postcards from Isolation -where blank postcards are sent out to the community and people are encouraged to draw, write, sew, knit, include music links or photograph a postcard sized image reflecting on their own experience of social isolation. These could then be shared as a way of connecting people.

Once lockdown is lifted, there would be an opportunity to have an exhibition of postcards and an event to bring the local community together to contemplate and celebrate.

As human beings we are all connected and this moment in time demonstrates that in an unprecedented way. We are apart but we will always be together.

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What's On At Home

Family Fix

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.

The FunBox ‘Christmas in Toy Town’ show at the Whitehall Theatre, Dundee. 23/11/2019 Picture by John Young / www.YoungMedia.co.uk

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

Julia Donaldson & Friends – Storytelling and activities for children via Facebook

Tall Stories – Keep your children entertained with videos, activities & storytelling – visit their website.

Starcatchers – A new series of Wee Inspirations idea cards for parents at home with young children 0-5 yr olds. Visit their website.

Every Child Every Right’ from Historieberattarna – a lovely uplifting video to watch and enjoy via Vimeo.

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What's On At Home

Listen In

As The Brunton is temporarily closed, we’ve been looking for other ways to keep you entertained. Here are some online concerts and musicmaking activities for all the family.

Dougie MacLean
CREDIT: PIC – ROB MCDOUGALL www.RobMcDougall.com 07856222103 info@robmcdougall.com

BBC Proms at Home – offers easy, creative, weekly activities for families across the summer. To celebrate the First Night of the Proms and taking inspiration from Gerald Barry’s Canada; Jessie Maryon Davies guides families in creating their very own one word song using only voice and body percussion! Visit their website for all the info

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.

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

Royal Scottish National OrchestraRSNO Friday Night Club – 15 free online concerts from our archives, featuring beloved music performed by world-class musicians RSNO website.

Music & Me – Songs, stories and creative exploration with Dave Trouton, East Lothian musician. Visit the Music & Me Website.

Drake Music Scotland – Accessible resources tailored for additional support needs children but useful for everyone. Visit their website for more information.

McMillan Young Musicians – Early Years fun songs and games from Charlotte McMillan, East Lothian Arts worker and creator of Hullabaloo. Visit her website to join in.

Incorporated Society of Musicians – Learning resources for primary, secondary and instrumental learning, as well as other useful resources. Many are free or discounted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Visit website to find out more.

ABC Music – Sign up to free online sessions with this great Midlothian based music project, for all ages!  Visit website.

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About Us

About Us

A thriving music, theatre and dance venue with a strong community programme … one of Scotland’s best-run middle-scale receiving theatres.” The Scotsman

The Brunton, Musselburgh

Welcome to The Brunton. The Brunton is a vibrant theatre and community space in Musselburgh, the gateway to beautiful East Lothian. It is the place to be for the best in music, theatre, dance, comedy, children’s shows, film and lots more – all year round. Our state of the art Venue 1 allows us to offer even more entertainment as well as being available for private or corporate hire – the ideal space for bespoke wedding or conference packages.Children’s theatre company Catherine Wheels and dance company Room 2 Manoeuvre are the resident companies and the theatre also acts as venue 191 during the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.