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 eleven  award winners since 2008. (‘Award Watch’ below lists the current activity of most 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




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,



In recent years Bethan Nash, 2012 winner of the BOVTS Julian Slade Award, has played leading parts in a number of successful musical productions but last Summer,  because of lack of theatre work  of any kind, Beth decided to devote her time to working for the NHS 111 service, and she was quickly welcomed.
In mid-April when I asked all our winners for an update on their current situation Beth summed it up in one short sentence  ‘Unfortunately it really is that bad.’ That is why the NHS is lucky to be keeping her services, at least for the present.
In a very different way a few other actors are being lucky enough to have Alex Morgan (2009) coaching them with their accent and dialect skfills  Alex has long been supplementing his acting work in this way.. Unwittingly echoing Bethan, JessTemple (2014) says ‘Things haven’t been all that great for many of us.’ But she has managed to pick up some voice-over work and she has just completed a short film at the Nottingham Playhouse . The film will be released in mid-May.

Danial Radze (2018) has been raising  his acting profile by posting his own monologues on line. It has paid off. He will be on stage this summer in a new  production at Cornwall’s Minack theatre. He can also be seen on Instagram and Twitter under ‘Danial Radze’.We can also look forward to seeing Pedro Leandro (2017) in a new TV  show with the name of ‘Domina’. It was shot last autumn and will start on screen on May 14. Daniel is optimistic that other shows will follow.
Eleanor Jackson (2015) is rather less optimistic about theatre work but is filling her time developing her photographic and filming skills.
By way of contrast to the more depressing sides of the pandemic the ever versatile Ed Macarthur (2013) has managed to find two months paid work in the Bahaman sun, where he has been home-schooling two children. On his return to UK his first job was a Zoom play-reading of ‘Charley’s Aunt’ in which Giles Brandreth played his father. He is hoping to get his one man musical shows together again in the near future. In the early  part of lockdown he recorded a new musical album called Lyra which is currently available to stream on Apple and Spotify.
Chris Hancock (2011) decided a few years ago to swap acting for entertainment management and until the pandemic struck his alternative career was developing very nicely but, as he now reports:‘It’s been a shocker of a year in terms of the work I do with theatres, as you can imagine.But once piece of good news is I’ve been writing alongside two other writers (Mikala Georgia Grante and Jet Vevers) and in December we published our own collection of short stories called “Notes From Quarantine”. Not about the pandemic but all written during that time and so somewhat influenced by those thoughts and emotions. My instagram and Twitter is @bychrishancock and details are on there about how to get a copy should anyone wish.’.
In almost every pre-pandemic year Ali Watt (2010) has been working regularly in Scotland’s theatres. Sadly for Scottish theatregoers, who have enjoyed so many of his good performances; theatre work is in very short supply, so Ali is currently working elsewhere and hoping for better times to come
To conclude on a happier note, Carlie Diamond, (2020 and our most recent award winner) is still in her second year at BOVTS  and has been able to enjoy playing a number of roles while Katie Moore (2008 and our very first award winner) who had to retire from acting for health reasons a few months ago, has given birth to a baby boy. Congratulations, Katie!

And best of luck to all in this difficult time












ED MACARTHUR                    CHRIS HANCOCK                    ALI WATT