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Escape to the Coast this Fringe!

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.

Jamie MacDougall (Sat 28 Aug in Venue 1)

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 musicians Kris 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).

Drever, McCusker & Woomble (Thu 19 Aug in Venue 1)

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).

Illyria present Much Ado About Nothing (Fri 13 Aug at Musselburgh Racecourse)

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? Allotment follows 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.

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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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What's On At Home

Digital Theatre Fix

As The Brunton is temporarily closed, we’ve been looking for other ways to keep you entertained. 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.

Dogstar Theatre – The Tailor of Inverness

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!

National Theatre – Help us celebrate the joy and laughter that panto brings to thousands of families across the UK every year.​ In honour of all the theatres that have been forced to cancel their Christmas pantos, we’re sharing Dick Whittington for FREE on the National Theatre YouTube channel from 3pm (UK time) on 23 December until midnight (UK time) on 27 December.

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.

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

Tricky Hat Productions – Following cancelled performances in Scotland and Japan due to the coronavirus pandemic, The Flames launched a digital collaboration. This pilot collaboration was a huge success; enabling Tricky Hat to keep the Scottish and Japanese Flames connected during a turbulent period. Now, The Flames are reigniting for a new collaborative project. #DontStopTheFlames is taking place virtually and in-person where possible. Flames across Scotland, Japan and New Zealand are devising with Tricky Hat associate artists to create a series of eight films between September and February. Sharing The Flames’ raw, real experiences of life at the present moment, these films allow The Flames to tell their stories about a new way of living and offer fresh insights into navigating through this unchartered territory. The collaborative process, be it digitally or physically, will allow distinctive themes to emerge throughout the making of the series.