Brunton Theatre closed as ‘crumbling concrete’ found in roof

Wednesday March 22nd 2023


The Brunton Theatre in Musselburgh.

Written by Local Democracy Reporter, Marie Sharp

East Lothian’s main theatre venue has been closed after safety concerns were raised over its roof.

The Brunton Theatre in Musselburgh has shut down all its performance areas while surveys are carried out to assess the building.

East Lothian Council, which owns the building, said it had found Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (RAAC) had been used in roof slabs at The Brunton in the form of Siporex roof slabs.

The lightweight concrete material which was used in construction between the 1950s and 1980s has been identified as a concern by Government because it can crack and crumble.

Local authorities across Scotland have been carrying out checks on all public buildings to identify where the material has been used and take any action needed.

A council spokesperson said: “Structural issues have now been identified with roof areas at the Brunton covering all performance venues, the venue one bar area and Esk Rooms where RAAC in the form of Siporex roof slabs cover these particular building areas.

“From a safety perspective these areas now require to be removed from use to enable further survey work to be carried out. The offices and the Bistro are not affected and so remain open for use.

“We will endeavour to provide an update when possible and are working to support the Brunton Theatre Trust with its programme of events and performance commitments through consideration of alternative venues.”

The Brunton Theatre was opened in Musselburgh in June 1971 by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth and underwent extensive refurbishment in the late Nineties, overseen by the council.

As well as hosting the biggest pantomime in the county each Christmas, it plays hosts to a wide range of performers, acting and dance troupes and holds regular live streaming events.

Michael Stitt, chair of The Brunton Trust, said no performance had been cancelled as the venue worked to find alternative places to host them.

He said: “We are determined not to disappoint our customers or performers therefore we will not be cancelling any of our programme at this stage.

“We ask you to bear with us as we work to find alternative venues and dates for the events you are booked in for between now and July.

“Brunton Theatre Trust has a long history of staging professional arts and entertainment events in East Lothian and we are now working with our partners to ensure that the shows will go on!”

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