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
A SPECIAL CORONA-VIRUS EDITION OF THIS WEBSITE (Part 2 December 2020)
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,
THE NEVER-ENDING THEATRE CRISIS
How some Julian Slade Award Winners are filling their time
ADRIAN SLADE writes
For most theatre actors, musicians, writers and backstage or film technicians the last nine months have been professionally grim. The corona virus, with its accompanying lock-downs, restrictions and performance bans has seen to that. Life for aspiring thespians in any field has been very far from fun.
Nobody in the theatrical profession expects employment and success on a plate but no work at all is another matter altogether. That is why it has been good to hear thatsome of our Julian Slade Award winners of the last thirteen years have been lucky or clever enough to find work or use their resourcefulness to create new ways of occupying themselves.
Take, for example, PEDRO LEANDRO, (our 2017 Award Winner). Earlier this year he was working in Rome on a TV show called ‘Domina’ when the virus put the whole enterprise on hold. However, in October his luck turned. A short play he had written,in which he was also cast, was performed in a socially distanced setting at the Omnibus Theatre in Clapham He and the rest of the cast were amazed by the response: they sold out, got excellent reviews and received three OffWestEnd award nominations: Best Ensemble, Best Director and Most Promising Young Playwright;
By way of contrast, BETHAN NASH (2012), who has won a number of lead parts in recent years, decided to devote her Covid 19 lock down time to helping the NHS 111 Service where no doubt, she has been equally warmly welcomed by NHS staff and callers.
Another interesting piece of news came in from our most recent award winner, CARLIE DIAMOND (2020)..She has another year to go with BOVTS soshe tells me that she has been using money from our Julian Slade Awardto her to buy herself a bass guitar, an instrument that she has been longing to learn for some time. Good luck, Carlie. We look forward to hearing you play.
One more complete contrast is ALEX MORGAN (2009) who has spent the last few months filming a key part in a horror movie (as yet unnamed) that wil be launched in cinemas in 2021.
And finally our very first winner, now recently retired from acting for health reasons, KATIE MOORE (2008) has )briefly came out of retirement to play Wendy in a special recording of ‘Peter Pan’made this Autumn in aid of the Great Ormond St Hospital.
PEDR BETHAN CARLIE
If we hear any more good news from other Award Winners, we will let you know after New Year. Meanwhile…. HERE’S WISHING A HAPPY CHRISTMAS TO ALL and HERE;S HOPING FOR A MUCH BETTER 2021