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
LATEST NEWS OF 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,
THE 2018 AWARD WINNER
IN HIS OWN WORDS: “I was born and lived in Nottingham where I began my training as an actor. I took an interest in the performing arts from around the age of 11 and considered it a hobby until I became a member of The Television Workshop at the age of 15. In that same year I landed my first professional role as the lead in a short film titled ‘Compulsion’ that was subsequently taken to the London Film Festival and won the Best New Short Film award while it was there. Since then I have been between training and working professionally but most recently I became a student at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School and have found a wonderful family in the staff and students here across my first year of training. I have never been trained, until now, (professionally or otherwise) in any kind of singing or the rudiments of music that often accompany it. But with that said it was to my surprise, and with tremendous honour, that I have been awarded The Julian Slade Award for the 2018/19 year.”
Dan has one more year to go at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. Up to now he has toured with the School’ s Christmas productionI ‘Nativity’.in which he played Horrid (King Herod’s Dog)! In the New Year he was toured again in the School’s ‘Ruff Guide to Shakespeare’. In June and July he is touring once more with a a School’s production – ‘The Canterbury Tales’ in which he plays Franklin.
MORE AWARD WINNER NEWS
THE LAST SHIP
Katie Moore (2007/8 Award Winner). Her first professional role after leaving Bristol was playing Jane in the highly successful Tete a Tete 2010/11 production of ‘Salad Days’ at London’s Riverside Studios in Hammersmith, where she won critical and audience acclaim. She returned to the part in a longer run in 2012/13 – once again winning plaudits. Katie has played Laura in ‘The Glass Menagerie’ at the New Vic, Stoke-on-Trent followed by one of the principal roles in the Bristol Old Vic’s 2011/12 production of ‘Swallows & Amazons‘, which ran to packed houses at the Vaudeville Theatre, London followed by a long tour around the country. In 2014 she starred as ‘The Little Mermaid’ the Bristol Old Vic Christmas show of that year.. followed in June and July 2014 by playing Rita in ‘Billy Liar‘ at the Manchester Royal Exchange.
Early in 2016 she won a key part in a revival of ‘German Skerries’ by Robert Holman which played at the Orange Tree Theatre in Richmond for four weeks, followed by a five venue tour.. In the last three years she has been acting at a number of theatrical venues, including Manchester, Coventry, Bristol, Oxford and Stoke-on-Trent. with a return to the Orange Tree Richmond in ‘Sheppey‘ in 2016. She has secured roles ina number of TV series including ‘ Doc Martin’, ‘Merlin’ and the long running BBC series ‘The Paradise’.Last year she was back on stage touring in a principal role in Sting’s musical ‘The Last Ship’, Most recently she has been . making a new short film in which she features as a dancer (‘my first dancing role since ‘Salad Days‘ “), She has also entered the world of ‘voice overs’ for the first time. She can be heard in the latest ad for ‘Fairy Pods’..
See also LATEST NEWS
THE SHAKESPEARE REVUE
Alex Morgan (2009 Award Winner). Whenever ‘The Shakespeare Revue’ tours (and it is very popular so there have have been a number of productions over the last few years) Alex is has been seen iplaying a number of different roles. In 2017 ,by way of change he was playing the Lion in ‘The Wizard Of Oz’ at The Brewhouse Taunton and in November and December,2018 he was in Geneva playing Bob Cratchit in Simply Theatre Productions” ‘A Christmas Carol’ His next production of ‘The Shakespeare Revue’ takes to the road in July 2019.
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.’
‘KING OF 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. In 2017 he played Don John in the Dundee Repertory production of ‘Much Ado About Nothing’, followed in the Borders by two shows for Firebrand –‘The Great Train Race’ and David Grieg’s ’Letter of Last Resort‘ and, at Oran Mor Glasgow, the musical ‘Brigadoom’, in which he played Alan Jay Lehrner. He returned to Pitlochry in 2018 in an adaptation of Compton Mackenzie’s ‘The Monarch of The Glen’. He was also in a show at Summerhall in the Edinburgh Fringe, playing Petri in ‘All the Lights Are On’ for Finnish company ACE-Production followed by the key part of Jock in Alan Bissett’s ‘It Wisnae Me’ at the Oran Mor in Glasgow.
This year, clearly by popular request, he is back for the full Summer Rep season in Pitlochry, starting with the musical ‘Summer Holiday’ in which he plays Steve, followed by Charles Condamine in ‘Blithe Spirit’, Parris in ‘The Crucible’ and Hugh in Nicola McCartney’s ‘Heritage’. Quite clearly now one of Scotland’s favourite actors, Ali says. ‘It’s lovely to be doing a job with a lot of music involved. It reminds me how much I love it.’
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’ played subsequently in Dubai., moving over the Christmas and New Year season firstly to Manila in the Philippines and then to Singapore, attracting a total audience of 40,000 over just 14 performance
‘MY FAIR LADY’ and ‘POLSTEAD’
Bethan Nash (2012 Award) )is another Award winner who has won leads in musical productions, her first two while still at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, were playing. Julie in ‘London Road’, staged in the Bristol Old Vic studio, and then, Jane in the School’s tribute concert performance to mark the 60th Anniversary of the opening of ‘Salad Days’ in Bristol. In 2013 she toured as Juliet in a highly creative one hour interpretation of ‘Romeo and Juliet’’ specially devised for primary schools.that was also featured at the Edinburgh Festival.. She followed again in Katie Moore’s footsteps when she played a principal role in the 2014 Christmas revival of the Bristol Old Vic’s production of ‘Swallows & Amazons‘, first staged at the Theatre Royal and in the West End two years previously. Over Christmas 2016 Bethan played the lead Grace Kelly part of Samantha in ‘High Society’ at the Mill in Sonning, returning in 2017 in the lead part of Eliza in a stunning production of ‘My Fair Lady’ both productions much acclaimed by critics and audiences that included George Clooney and his wife.
Last year’s activity included a touring production of ‘Polstead’, a new play written by Beth Flintoff and directed by Hal Chambers.
and a Christmas season playing Princess Jill in ‘Jack in the Beanstalk’ at Derby Arena. Most recently she has been cast in a lead part in a new British Film Institute short that will launched in June and she will return to the Mill at Sonning later this Summer in ‘Towards Zero’,a new play directed by Brian Blessed.
TWO MAN SHOW. NOW NEW ONE MAN SHOW
Ed MacArthur (2013 Award Winner) Early in 2017 starred in ‘Murder for Two’, a highly successful comedy musical whodunnit that transferred from the Water Mill at Newbury to London for a further five week run at the St James Theatre..Last Autumn versatile Ed and his ‘Murder for Two’ partner Jeremy Legat were on tour again with this wonderful two man show (see Adrian Slade’s 2017 review under ‘JULIAN SLADE AWARD WINNERS’) from October when they will return to London at the Other Palace Theatre (near Buckingham Palace in Palace St) from December 10-January 13. Their tour venues included Cardiff, Windsor, Guildford Nottingham, The Watermill Newbury,Leicester Curve,and Inverness .
In Summer 2019 Ed plans to ‘throw the kitchen sink at the (Edinburgh Festival) fringe’ with his own musical show ‘Ed MacArthur: Humoresque’ at the Voodoo Rooms from August 5-25 (excl 13th). Festival enthusiasts should make sure they see him. He writes, plays and sings very well!
‘ROMEO & JULIET’
Jessica Temple (2014 Award Winner), was back in Bristol at the Old Vic in 2016 in a innovative production of ‘Medea’ for which she and 2015 Award Winner EleanorJackson were part of the all female cast of four who,. aided by co-composer Jon Nicholls, wrote special songs and music. In 2015 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’ in which she also understudied John and Michael and the Lost Boy Twins.Her most recent work has been in ‘ Who Cares?’ at The Lowry/Lung Theatre in Manchester. followed by a short run alongside fellow award winner Bethan Nash in ‘Robin Hood’ at the Old Market Theatre Brighton, an adaptation by New Mutiny, a company which Bethan helped to found.. In June and July 2018 Jessica has been playing Juliet in the Insane Root production of ‘Romeo & Juliet’ ‘ at Bristol’s Eastville Swimming Pool Gard
‘ASPECTS OF LOVE’ and ‘ALL’s WELL THAT ENDS WELL’
Eleanor Jackson (2015 Award Winner). In 2018 Ellie was in ‘Guesthouse’, a production with Eastern Angles Theatre Company in which she played the role of Chloe. She then played the role of Kelsey.in ‘Great Again’ a new musical at the Vault Festival.
Ellie was recently seen in ‘Aspects of Love’ at London’s Southwark Playhouse, She is currently in rehearsals for the part of Helena in ‘All’s Well That Ends Well’ that will be staged at Cornwall’s Minack Theatre in June. But like many other young actors Ellie longs to be working more. She says ‘I have another job in the pipeline but it is sometimes very slow and very frustrating. I have got into lots of finals and have been in the last two for at least a couple of jobs but wprk doesn’t always come my way. We say to Ellie ‘Keep going and very good luck’ That girl has lots of talent and a very good singing voice. She deserves more.
Verity Blyth (2016 Award Winner) graduated from the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School in the Summer of 2017. Before leaving she was one of two Theatre School students awarded the Peter O’Toole Acting prize which gives each winner an opportunity to play a key role in a mainstream production at the Bristol Old Vic. Early in 2018 she opened in the part of Anya in ‘The Cherry Orchard’ . The run was then followed by a further run at the Manchester Royal Exchange. Last Autumn her remarkable singing voice was delighting Sondheim Society and Phoenix Artists Club audiences in London. In September she joined the cast of ‘‘Sylvia’ , a contemporary, multi-role, new musical about the suffragettes movement in which her key role was Adela Pankh
Pedro Leandro (2017 Award Winner) Pedro left the Theatre School last summer saying “I loved every second of it. I wanted to train and with the help of all the fantastic tutors at the school and my fellow students I have grown up a lot and learned about my craft. In particular, Pamela Rudge, our singing teacher, pushed me to improve my singing and I was delighted and humbled to become the 10th award winner.”
In his last year at the school, Pedro played many parts including The Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz’ at Bristol’s Redgrave Theatre and Lord Orlando Pope ln in ‘The Taming of the Shrew’ at Circomedia. He then played Man in Philip Ridley’s ‘challenging play’ ‘Tender Napalm’ at the Wardrobe Theatre, followed by Phaeax in Moira Buffini’s ‘Welcome to Thebes’ at the Bristol Tobacco Factory. Since signing up with an agent last year he has won a number of parts. A small part in the the up-coming sequel to ‘Wonder Woman’, an understudy part in a stage production of Noel Coward’s ‘A Song At Twilight’ , featuring Simon Callow, which he felt compelled to abandon in favour of a significant film opportunity in a new Netflix production called ‘The Liberator’. – shot in Poland and due out in 2020.He has since been working on a number of writing projects with other partners.
In October 2017 Award Winnes Pedro Leandro, Verity Blyth, Katie Moore, Alex Morgan, Bethan Nash, Jessica Temple and Eleanor Jackson took part in the very well received, one night only, “Celebration of the Music of Julian Slade.’ at the Redgrave Theatre in Bristol. The show, in aid of the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, was celebrating 10 years of the Julian Slade Award for Musical Talent..
Click on The Julian Slade Award for other details of all Award Winners and Latest News for BRISTOL’S EVENING OF JULIAN SLADE TRIUMPH.