Brunton RAAC Update

Sep 8 2023 | By More

Haddington venue secured but no timeframe for Brunton’s future

The Brunton Theatre Trust has confirmed that it has taken on a short term lease on the Haddington Corn Exchange as the timeframe for addressing the “crumbling concrete” that has closed the Brunton Theatre has slipped.

The use of the Corn Exchange means that the Trust now has a suite of venues at its disposal to replicate its offer at the Brunton Hall. The Classical music series is taking place at Northesk Church, across the road from the Brunton, while most Brunton Theatre events have been moved to the Loretto Theatre at Loretto School.

The Brunton Hall. According to the ELC, the flat roof directly above the gold coloured artwork is affected by RAAC (this is above the theatre) and the other part is further behind, where the flags are sited. Pic: ELC

The Brunton’s Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (RAAC) issues began in March this year when a planned inspection to check for the material found suspected Siporex roof slabs made from RAAC in the roof areas covering all performance venues, the Venue 1 bar area and the Esk Rooms.

The Brunton Hall, which contains the Brunton Theatre, Venue 1 and East Lothian Council offices, was opened in 1971. RAAC has a useable lifespan of around 30 years, after which it can fail without warning. Not all of the halls are affected with the offices and the Bistro remaining open.

The presence of RAAC was confirmed at the end of May and East Lothian Council, which is responsible for the building, initially said that a full options report and costings for dealing with the areas affected would be ready over the summer.


However, the subsequent discovery of RAAC at Preston Lodge High School, Prestonpans, has taken priority.

A spokesperson for the council confirmed to All Edinburgh Theatre this week that: “no full options appraisal and costings have been completed yet as the priority is Preston Lodge High School.”

In terms of when any decision might be made, they said that they “can’t advise a timeframe regarding the Brunton at this stage”.

Haddington Corn Exchange. May 2023. Image from Google Maps.

The Trust is set to trial the Haddington Corn Exchange as a performance space for the programme of professional events, from tribute bands to dance, comedy, children’s shows and theatre, which was initially set to play in the Brunton’s Venue 1.

The Trust has engaged Black Light, the professional staging company, to install bespoke sound, lighting and staging design at Haddington. This will be complemented by technical equipment from The Brunton building in Musselburgh.

During this pilot, the Trust says it will be engaging with local hospitality businesses to “enhance the evening out experience”, and seeking feedback from audiences. It will organise bus transport from Musselburgh, for the first few events. This will also enable bookers to enjoy dining at The Bistro at The Brunton, before their events.

The Corn Exchange has been closed as a venue for a while, as it has been a Covid vaccination centre. Before that it was closed for two years for an £800,000 refurbishment.

The Trust will also take over managing community hires for the Corn Exchange and says it look forward to working with community groups to enable access to this space. Anyone wishing to discuss hiring the venue should email


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