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



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,


Katie Moore  has had a busy acting life since she won the first Julian Slade Award in 2008. Twice (2011 and 2013) she was highly praised in  the lead part of Jane in the London Riverside Studios production of ‘Salad Days’. Twice she has played key parts and attracted excellent notices in plays  at the Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond ( ‘German Skerries’ and Somerset Maugham’s play ‘Sheppey’Its first revival in over fifty years). Last  year  she won more good reviews from national critics for her leading role at the Salisbury Playhouse in ‘Echo’s End’.  In 2013 Katie played the part of Susy in the latest series of the BBC1 period drama The Paradise . In 2012 and 2015 she also starred in the Bristol Old Vic Christmas shows The Little Mermaid’ and Swallows and Amazons’. 

The Guardian critic Michael Billington has always given Katie good reviews and he  ‘specially warmed  to’ her current performance as the young daughter Ellen  in Sting’s ‘The Last Ship’ in which the Stage critic says she ‘shines as Meg’s daughter who has inherited her father’s wanderlust and her mother’s spiky bravado’.The Stage calls the musical ‘electrifying powerful and a wonderful tour de force’. The tour of the production has now begun in Liverpool, to be followed by Birmingham,Northampton, Leeds, Nottingham, Cardiff, Dublin, Edinburgh, Glasgow, York and Salford

Luckily for Katie her husband Tom Weston-Jones whom she first met at Bristol Old Vic Theatre School over ten years ago but  married only last October, is also on a four month tour,  filming away from home  in South Africa in a 19th Century TV drams ‘The Warrior’. based on San Francisco, The new series will be shown later this year. Tom was recently seen in the TV drama ‘Troy’



In his own words..….”I joined a boys choir called Les Pastoureaux in Belgium (where I grew up) when I was 9 years old and over 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 has recently been  playing The Scarecrow in the School’s Christmas production of The Wizard of Oz.”. He comments on his recent experience:

‘The ‘Wizard of Oz’ was wonderful. We were all so proud of the show and it made the 27 show run fly by. Audiences seemed to really enjoy it and we got lots of positive feedback. So that’s nice! This term, we shall be doing ‘The Taming of the Shrew’ at Circomedia. My parts are very small: I am Lord Orlando Pope and the Pedant. It promises to be a beautiful show and a real passion project of Bill Alexander’s, our director.”

Pedro has recently been short-listed for the 2018 Stephen Sondheim Award.




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 was 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.



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. Most recently he was back in Pitlochry in an adaptation of Compton Mackenzie’s ‘The Monarch of The Glen’.



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



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..In the Autumn versatile Ed was on tour with his own production company ‘DugOut’ and one 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.  He then returned  to the Water Mill in Newbury to join the cast of The Borrowers’ for a Christmas season. He is expecting to return to Newbury for another production within the next few months



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. She is currently appearing with fellow award winner  Bethan Nash  inRobin Hood’   at the Old Market Theatre Brighton in an adaptation by New Mutiny, a company  which Bethan helped to found.




 Eleanor Jackson (2015 Award Winner)  is currently working in Guesthouse’, a production with Eastern Angles Theatre Company in which she plays the role  of Chloe. She also played the role of Kelsey.recently in Great Again’ a new musical at the Vault Festival.



                                                                                                                      ‘THE CHERRY ORCHARD’

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. 

Joining the 2017 Award Winner Pedro Leandro, last October Verity Blyth, Katie Moore, Alex Morgan, Bethan Nash, Jessica Temple and Eleanor Jackson returned to Bristol to take the 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.