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



Long time supporter of theatre in Bristol

On February 17th 2019 Dame Patricia Routledge celebrates her 90th birthday. The Slade family and all others associated with this website, in particular the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, where she and Julian first met nearly seventy years ago, send her their very best wishes.

PATRICIA ROUTLEDGE and JAMES CAIRNCROSS in ‘Christmas (Back) in King St’ (1959)
Photograph: Desmond Tripp . Courtesy of the University of Bristol Theatre Collection

In her long career Patricia has played many parts on stage and television but, perhaps because she is so well known for her television role as the dominating wife Hyacinth Bucket in ‘Keeping Up Appearances’, her singing talents have not always been remembered as they should be. For example. in 1954 Patricia played the part of Carlotta t=in the Bristol Old Vic production of Sheridan’s comic opera The Duenna’ for which Julian Slade had written new music. This production came to London where it was praised by audiences and critics alike. In 1959 she played ‘Mrs Rooms’, mother to’ Victoria Rooms, in the Bristol revival of Julian and Dorothy Reynolds’ 1952 Christmas show  ‘Christmas in King St’. In 1960 the show was adapted for London audiences and re-named ‘Follow That Girl’,succeeding ‘Salad Days’ at the Vaudeville Theatre and again starring Patricia. This time Mrs Rooms became ‘Mrs Gilchrist’ and ‘Victoria Gilchrist’ was played by Susan Hampshire.
Over the years Patricia has been a wonderful friend both to The Bristol Old Vic Theatre School and to Julian’s memory, most recently (2017) making a special guest appearance in ‘A Celebration of the Music  and Songs of Julian Slade’, a one night compilation show marking the 70th Anniversary of the Theatre School snd the 10th Anniversary of the School’s Julian Slade Award. The Award was set up in 2007 in Julian’s memory by his brother Adrian and nephew Rupert Slade. It is given each year to the student showing the most exceptional musical talent.
This show was staged at Bristol’s Redgrave Theatre and performed by seven of the Award winners, ably assisted by five current students. Patricia’s guest appearance and memories of julian were a very special contribution to the success of the evening.
Adrian, Rupert and the whole Slade family wish her a very Happy 90th Birthday!

PAUL RUMMER, Principal of the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, adds:: On the occasion of Dame Patricia’s ninetieth birthday, I would like to wish her many happy returns from all her friends at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. She was one of the very early students at the School while it was still based in the docks near the Bristol Old Vic. She has always been a quietly active supporter of the school and its students; most recently she was part of our celebration of the music of Julian Slade. During rehearsals on the day she gave an impromptu example of how to deliver lines with absolute clarity, something those in the theatre at the time will never forget. Dame Patricia is a role model for our students and we wish her the happiest of birthdays.


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 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 this year. I do however think it goes without saying that I owe it chiefly to my tutors and fellow class mates at the school for supporting me through the beginning of what I hope will be a fruitful training and an overwhelmingly positive start to a prosperous career.”  In December Dan is touring schools local to Bristol in the Theatre School/’s Christmas production Nativity’.in which he plays Horrid (King Herod’s Dog)! In the New Year  he will be touring schools again in the School’s ‘Ruff Guide to Shakespeare’..




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’ in the Bristol Old Vic Christmas show of that name. followed by Rita  In June and July 2014 she played Rita in ‘Billy Liar at the Manchester Royal Exchange.
Early in 2016 she won a key part in a revival of German Skerries’, an award-winning play 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. including 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’.She is currently back on stage touring in a principal role in Sting’s musical ‘The Last Ship’. See also LATEST NEWS


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, Glasgow 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’. This summer he is in a show at Summerhall in the Edinburgh Fringe, playing Petri in “All the Lights Are On” for Finnish company ACE-Production. Ali is currently preparing to play the part of Jock in Alan Bissett’s ‘It Wisnae Me’ at the Oran Mor in Glasgow, 1-6 October and at the Traverse in Edinburgh, 9-13 October



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




Bethan Nash (2012) played a number of key acting and singing roles during her last year at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. They included Julie in London Road’, staged in the Bristol Old Vic studio, and 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. The show attracted very good reviews and appreciative audiences at the Edinburgh Festival. In her last appearance as a Bristol Old Vic Theatre School student she played the part of Jane in the school’s one night tribute marking the 60th Anniversary of the opening of ‘Salad Days’, the part played by 2008 award winner Katie Moore in Tete a Tete’s 2010/12 revivals of’at the Riverside Studios in London. She followed again in Katie’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 four years ago. Over Christmas 20i16 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  She is currently touring with a production called ‘Polstead’ with Eastern Angles, written by Beth Flintoff and directed by Hal Chambers.

Bethan is currently playing Princess Jill in ‘Jack in the Beanstalk’ at Derby Arena. She says she  is ‘over the moon to be revisiting my home town at Christmas.  This is the place where  I received my first professional job with Derby Live before I went to drama school,’


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..This autumn versatile Ed and his ‘Murder for Two’ partner Jeremy Legat  will be 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 Lndon at  the Other Palace Theatre (near Buckingham Palace in Palace St) from December 10-January 13. Tour venues will include Cardiff (October 22-27), Windsor (November 1-3),Guildford (November 8-13), Nottingham (November 26-28), The Watermill Newbury (January 28 -February 24),Leicester  Curve (March18-20), and Inverness (May 2-4). And there may be more to come. Go see!



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  inRobin 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



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 will next be seen  in ‘Aspects of Love’ at London’s Southwark Playhouse,  from 7th Jan-9th Feb 2019





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 Pankhurst




Pedro Leandro (2017 Award Winner) ‘When I was 9, says Pedro, I  joined a boys choir called Les Pastoureaux in Belgium (where I grew up). Over the next 9 years , I toured with the choir all around Europe, North and South America. I was also lucky enough, as a treble soloist, 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'”.   Pedro left the Theatre School this 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 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 byPhaeax in Moira Buffini’s ‘Welcome to Thebes’ at the Bristol  Tobacco Factory. He is now signed up with an agent and is optimistic for his future.


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  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.