AN EMERGENCY fundraising campaign has been launched to help The Brunton in Musselburgh survive amidst the Covid-19 crisis.

The trust which runs the theatre and arts programming in Venue 1 & 2 has suffered a revenue loss of £705,000 – 50 per cent of its annual turnover – as shows and performances have had to be cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

It said that, while decisions to cancel or postpone events had been “undoubtedly right,” they had “inflicted an enormous financial challenge” on 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”.

The Brunton “crucially” now needs help “to survive, thrive and continue to bring a programme of arts and entertainment to East Lothian and beyond”.

The fundraising campaign asks theatre-goers who are not able to enjoy a trip to view performances just now to consider giving the gift of the value of a theatre ticket to remember the good times at The Brunton and look forward to returning as soon as it is possible.

In a typical year, the theatre stages up to 175 productions, 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 presents performances and projects in schools and community venues and works 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 “highly respected component of the arts in Scotland”.

Michael Stitt, chairman 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.

A spokeswoman for East Lothian Council, which owns the Brunton Hall and is held in common good, said: “Like arts organisations across the country, necessary public health guidelines have had an impact on The Brunton’s ability to hold events and generate income.

“The theatre has continued to develop programmes that allow people in East Lothian to engage in the arts – including most recently its online pantomime – however, the trust’s fundraising campaign will help to ensure The Brunton can continue to flourish after Covid-19 has passed.”

The charity is asking for voluntary donations of support to help secure its future into 2021 and beyond. Donations of any size are welcome and can be made via or by calling 0131 653 5245.

Established in 1994, the Brunton Theatre Trust is a registered Scottish charity, with trustees meeting on a monthly basis at which they receive financial, marketing and seasonal updates in order to guide decisions about future plans.

The trust has responsibility for managing the programme at The Brunton’s theatre and in Venues 1 and 2.

The annual payment made this year to the trust from East Lothian Council was £454,980.