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Live entertainment returns to The Brunton

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.

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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.

There is lots of family entertainment this autumn and winter with October half term fun with Starcatchers’ Spike: A Dinosaur Tale and How The Koala Learnt To Hug. December sees the return of the ever popular Funbox with Santa’s Pyjama Party.

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.

The popular Midweek Movies continue with new release such as No Time to Die and The Last Duel and there is a concert screening of Cliff Richard live from the Royal Albert Hall!

Music tributes fill the venue this winter, paying homage to The Rat Pack, Kate Bush and more.

Full information about all these events and Returning to The Brunton FAQs can be found at www.thebrunton.co.uk .

Tickets can be purchased directly through The Brunton’s website or via the NEW Box Office telephone number 0131 653 5245 open from Monday to Saturday 10am to 4pm until further notice.

Tickets are not available to purchase in the venue at this time.

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Chorus Auditions

For Hansel & Gretel The Pantomime

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 theatreadmin@eastlothian.gov.uk, 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.

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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.