About this website
In the 1950s Julian Slade was probably as well known to London theatre-goers as Andrew Lloyd Webber is today. He was frequently compared to Noel Coward and Ivor Novello for the tunefulness of his music and the wit and charm of the lyrics he wrote with his writing partner Dorothy Reynolds. He was best known as the composer and co-writer of ‘Salad Days’ and ‘Free As Air’, both of which had significant runs in London’s West End. ‘Salad Days’ broke all records for a musical at the time, running for nearly six years at the Vaudeville Theatre. ‘Free As Air’ ran for over a year at the Savoy in 1957/8.
Julian and Dorothy had previously won a huge fan base in Bristol at the Bristol Old Vic with two years of packed out Christmas shows they had written and after ‘Free As Air’ they went on to write three more London musicals together. At Bristol Julian also wrote incidental music for Shakespeare plays and a complete new score for Sheridan’s ‘The Duenna’. This too proved very popular when it opened in London shortly before ‘Salad Days’.
He went on to write many more musicals, on his own or with other partners. They included adaptations of ‘Vanity Fair’, ‘The Pursuit of Love’ and ‘Trelawny of the Wells’ (‘Trelawny’), which was the most successful of the three.
On the Biography page you can learn more about Julian and how some of his shows came about. On the Shows page, as well as looking at details of each show, and the views of the critics of the day, you will be able to listen to extracts of some songs. Items under the Shows include a summary of Julian’s work, coverage of London productions of ‘Salad Days’ and ‘Free as Air’ between 2010 and 2014, comment, and tributes to some of those Julian worked with. The Julian Slade Award page features the full list the seven award winners since 2008. (‘Award Watch’ below lists the current activity of some of them). The Latest News pages keep you up to date with current news. And, if you would like to know more, do not hesitate to make use of the Contacts page.
When Julian died in 2006 he left behind a generation or more of theatre-goers with very happy musical memories of him. These and his life are detailed more fully on the pages that follow. Click on the links to find out MORE
A SPECIAL JULIAN EVENT
On Sunday October 22nd, for the first time since Julian Slade died in 2006, the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School will be staging ‘A CELEBRATION OF THE MUSIC OF JULIAN SLADE’, a compilation evening of many of his better known songs. The evening will be staged at Bristol’s Redgrave Theatre, and will be a charity event in aid of the School, marking the 10th Anniversary of the School’s Julian Slade Award for Musical Talent and the 70th Anniversary of the School itself. Julian attended the School in the early 1950s. The songs will be sung by seven of the ten Award winners, four key current students and a backing team of other students. The show is already a sellout. _____________________________________________________________________________________
THE LATEST NEWS OF THE
JULIAN SLADE AWARD WINNERS
Each year since 2007 an award has been given to the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School student judged to have the most exceptional musical talent. Julian Slade often used to help similarly promising students at the School and, after he died, his brother Adrian and nephew Rupert, in full oo-peration with the School, helped to establish the new Julian Slade Award in his memory,
PEDRO LEANDRO is the 10th (2017) AWARD WINNER
In his own words..….”I joined a boys choir called Les Pastoureaux in Belgium (where I grew up) when I was 9 years old andover the next 9 years , I toured with the choir all around Europe, North and South America. I was also lucky enough to be part of several productions at La Monnaie National Opera House such as Britten’s ‘Midsummer Night’s Dream’, Massenet’s ‘Werther’ and Giordano’s ‘Fedora’ as a treble soloist.
I only really started acting when I was 16 with the school’s little am-dram theatre company (which was French-speaking). We did ‘Le Diner de Cons’ and ‘La Cage aux Folles’, two French comedy classics of the stage. I loved every second so when I arrived at Edinburgh University in 2012 to study Philosophy for 4 years I acted as much as I could. In term time, I collaborated with Bedlam Theatre and the Edinburgh University Shakespeare Company on many of their productions including ‘The Merchant of Venice’ and ‘King Lear’. I also participated in 3 Edinburgh Fringes, where I acted in ‘Hamlet’ (as Polonius) as well as some new plays. At the Fringe, I also performed as part of Edinburgh University’s improv troupe, The Improverts, did a whole lot of stand-up and wrote and performed my first short play Something’s Happened.
Since coming to Bristol, my text projects have included “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?’ where I played George and ‘All’s Well That Ends Well’ where I played Bertram. I also hadn’t been singing much for the past few years so coming to Bristol and working with Pam Rudge (BOVTS Musical director)has been an amazing way to reconnect with my singing and I’m really thrilled to see how it evolves next year.’ He will be playing The Scarecrow in the School’s Christmas production of ‘The Wizard of Oz.”
NEWS OF THE OTHERS
‘SHEPPEY’ and ‘ECHO’S END’
Katie Moore (2008 Award Winner) was back at the Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond from November-January 2017 in Somerset Maugham’s play ‘Sheppey’. Its first revival in over fifty years, The play was directed by Peter Mille. Since April she has again been winning good reviews from national critics for her leading role at the Salisbury Playhouse in ‘Echo’s End’, a First World War story of teenage love, set on a hill overlooking the army camp on Salisbury Plain.. Michael Billington (Guardian) wrote ‘The acting…..is very good. Katie Moore as Anna and Tom Byrne as John suggest a young couple who are privy to each other’s thoughts and feelings but who are forever separated by an imbalance of passion… A work that will, I suspect, lodge in the memory when flashier plays have faded into oblivion.’
THE SHAKESPEARE REVIEW
Alex Morgan (2009 Award Winner). Whenever ‘The Shakespeare Revue’ tours (and it is very popular so it often does) Alex is likely to be seen iplaying a number of different roles. He has just returned from another run, this time in Theatr Clwd. In November and December he will be in Geneva playing Bob Cratchit in Simply Theatre Productions’ ‘A Christmas Carol’. When not working in theatre Alex teaches French and Spanish and is currently the French and Spanish male voice over on GCSEPod’s French and Spanish GCSE Podcasts.
MUCH ADO AROUND SCOTLAND
Ali Watt (2010 Award Winner) During the last three years Ali has played many roles in Scotland, at the Pitlochry Festival and on tour at other theatres. Early this year he played Don John in the Dundee Repertory production of ‘Much Ado About Nothing’. More recently he has been featured in two shows for Firebrand in the Borders (‘The Great Train Race’ and David Grieg’s ’Letter of Last Resort‘) and a musical at Oran Mor called ‘Brigadoom’, in which he played Alan Jay Lerner. He is now back in Pitlochry in an adaptation of Compton Mackenzie’s ‘The Monarch of The Glen’.
MANAGING THE ‘IMPOSSIBLE’
Chris Hancock (2011 Award Winner) For the last year Chris has been working for a producer and is currently in charge of a magic show called ‘Impossible’, for which he does all the coordination and logistics. This follows what he describes as ‘a fun but manic seven weeks’ at the Noel Coward theatre in the West End. ‘Impossible’ has recently been playing in Dubai and Chris is currently in Manila preparing for a Christmas show there and in then to Singapore.
‘HIGH SOCIETY’ ‘EMMA’ ‘MY FAIR LADY’ ‘ROBIN HOOD’
Bethan Nash (2012 Award Winner), following her considerable critical success in January and February in the lead part of Tracy Samantha Lord in Cole Porter’s ‘High Society’ at The Mill at Sonning, is now playing the lead part of ‘Emma’ in a new Jane Austen adaptation by Tim Luscombe for The Production Exchange.. The play opened in late May for a two day run at the Leatherhead Theatre and is being followed by 3-5 day runs through June and July at Guildford, Bath, Oxford, Malvern and Cambridge. And over next Christmas season Bethan will be playing Eliza Doolittle in ‘My Fair Lady’ at The Mill at Sonning. She will be playing Little Joan aka ‘Little John’ in New Mutiny’s adaptation of ‘Robin Hood’ at The Old Market Theatre in Brighton in February..
’MURDER FOR TWO” TO “SWANS0NG”
Ed MacArthur (2013 Award Winner) Versatile Ed is currently on tour with his own production company ‘DugOut’ and another of his own musical creations, ‘Swansong’, a comedy with cappella music about the last four survivors of the apocalypse who survive on a swan pedal. When that is over he returns to the Water Mill in Newbury to join the cast of ‘The Borrowers’. Earlier this year he starred there in ‘Murder for Two’, a highly successful comedy whodunnit that transferred to London for a further five week run at the St James Theatre.
A MUSICAL ‘MEDEA’ part composed by two Award Winners
Jessica Temple and Eleanor Jackson (2014 and 2015 Award Winners), have been back performing in Bristol at the Old Vic in a innovative production of ‘Medea’ for which they and the other four members of the all female cast, aided by co-composer Jon Nicholls, have written special songs and music. With the odd exception, the critics have been very enthusiastic about this highly original, if slightly controversial, version of the Medea story. Here are just three quotes from the most favourable reviews
Last year Jessica played Goneril at the Bristol Old Vic in Tom Morris’s production of ‘King Lear’. The 2016 Christmas season saw her at the National in London as an ensemble member in the cast of the Bristol Old Vic production of ‘Peter Pan’., which she also understudied John and Michael and the Lost Boy Twins.
Verity Blyth (2016 Award Winner) graduated from the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School this Summer and is now prospecting for acting work. She will soon be able to announce that she has won a key role in a major stage production. Meanwhile her remarkable singing voice has been delighting Sondheim Society and Phoenix Artists Club audiences in London. Like Katie Moore, Alex Morgan, Bethan Nash, Jessica Temple, Eleanor Jackson and Pedro Leandro, she is featuring in ‘The Celebration of the Music of Julian Slade.
Click on The Julian Slade Award for other details of all Award Winners