Julian Butler

I am a freelance composer/lyricist/sound designer working from my studio in sunny south London. I specialize in writing for children’s theatre.

In November 2016, I was very pleased to get an award for my Contribution to Children’s Theatre at the JM Barrie Awards in London’s BBC Radio Theatre, presented by Michael Morpurgo. I am also an Artistic Associate of A Thousand Cranes Theatre Company.

I wrote the music to both Charlie and Lola live shows, Charlie and Lola’s Best Bestest Play and Charlie and Lola’s Extremely New Play. Both are currently touring globally.

2018 New Compositions: Grandad’s Island (Engine House Theatre) (composer/lyricist), Little Mochi Man (A Thousand Cranes) The Everywhere Bear (Polka Theatre) (co-adaptor/music/lyrics), The Wind In the Willows (Polka Theatre) (composer/lyricist), The Big ENORMOUS Present (Pied Piper Theatre Company) (composer/lyricist). 2018 Revivials: Neverland (Casa Manana Theater, TX) (book/music/lyrics), Neverland (WKU Theater, KY) (book/music/lyrics), Red Riding Hood (US tour) (composer/lyricist). Gorilla (Akbank Theatre, Turkey) (composer/lyricist).

2017 New compositions: Touched (Nottingham Playhouse) (composer/sound designer), Under the Rainbow (Polka Theatre) (composer), The Snow Queen (Polka Theatre) (composer/lyricist), Hare & Tortoise (Pied Piper Theatre Company) (composer/lyricist), Sarah and Duck’s Big Top Birthday (CBeebies/MEI) (sound designer) The Night Pirates (Rose Theatre, Kingston) (sound designer). 2017 Revivals: Burglar Bill (Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith) (composer/lyricist), Gorilla (Akbank Theatre, Turkey) (composer/lyricist).

2016 New compositions: Snowflakes (Oxford Playhouse) (composer/lyricist), Burglar Bill (Pied Piper Theatre Company) (composer/lyricist), Mrs Armitrage and the Big Wave (GaGa Theatre) (composer), Shake Rattle and Roll (Polka Theatre) (composer), Under the Rainbow (Polka Theatre at Wilderness Festival) (composer), Just So Stories (Stephen Joseph Theatre) (composer), Leaf (Tam Tam Theatre) (composer), Off West End Awards nominated The Box of Photographs (Polka Theatre) (sound designer/composer), Snow White (Engine House Theatre) (composer/lyricist). 2016 Revivals: The Snow Queen (Marin Theatre Company, San Francisco), Red Riding Hood (LICM, New York), Gorilla (West Yorkshire Playhouse), The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse (Singapore tour), Me and My Cat? (Bermuda Festival), The Princess and the Pea (UK tour).

2015 New compositions:The Paper Dolls (Little Angel Theatre),The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse, (Pied Piper Theatre Company), Charles Way’s Beauty and the Beast (Polka Theatre), and my own musical, Neverland, (Lakeside Arts). I wrote the script, music and lyrics for this. 2015 revivals: Off West End Awards-nominated Gorilla, (Polka Theatre), A Thousand Cranes popped off on their second tour of Me and My Cat? in the Spring, which featured both music and projected animations by me. Red Riding Hood was prdoduced twice in the USA in 2015 – firstly in New York in July, with another production heading off on a six month tour in November, including performances with a live orchestra, conducted by Enrique Lasansky. The musical version of Beauty and the Beast I wrote with Mike Kenny was produced in Canada and Gorilla was produced in Hawaii in October.

2014 was a busy year, working on The Snow Queen at Pegasus Theatre, Robin’s Winter Adventure with Pied Piper Theatre and Me and My Cat? with A Thousand Cranes. I also re-recorded the score for Engine House Theatre‘s production of Flat Stanley, which did a mini tour, directed by Matt Aston. Up and Down was revived for a second tour, and Red Riding Hood took off on its third.

In 2013, I composed music for Gorilla at Polka Theatre (nominated for Best Production for Young People at the 2014 Off West End Awards), Up and Down for GaGa Theatre, a new version of Run! at Royal and Derngate, Care of Henry for Pied Piper Theatre Company, A Christmas Carol for Lakeside Arts, Nottingham, as well as overseeing successful revivals of Red Riding Hood at Leicester Curve and Beauty and the Beast at Barnsley Civic (both directed by Matt Aston). I acted as musical director for Return to the Forbidden Planet at The Castle in Wellingborough over the summer and Cinderella at the Secombe Theatre at the end of the year.

In 2012, I wrote the music for the second Charlie and Lola show, Charlie and Lola’s Extremely New Play, with Polka Theatre and the BBC (directed by Roman Stefanski). This premiered at the Sydney Opera House in December 2012, and is currently on tour. I also composed music for This Way Up (Theatre Lark, directed by Katie Matthews), Little Sunshine, Little Rainfall (A Thousand Cranes, directed by Vicky Ireland), Gerbils in a Glass Cage (The Space, Deptford) and Two Little Boys (Engine House Theatre, directed by Matt Aston). I also wrote music and lyrics for two musicals: Run! A Sports Day Musical with Lisa Evans (Polka Theatre) and Beauty and the Beast with Mike Kenny (Lawrence Batley, Huddersfield).

I have also written music and lyrics for lots of other shows, agencies, companies etc., including: Money Supermarket (advert, 2011), Milky Way (A Thousand Cranes, 2010), Flat Stanley (Lakeside Arts, a musical written with Mike Kenny), Goldilocks and the Three Bears (Polka Theatre, 2009), The Paper Washi Wish (A Thousand Cranes, 2009), The Princess and the Pea (Banyan Theatre Company) and Space Family Robinson (Pleasance Theatre, 2002 – with my lovely brother Stephen Butler).

I am lead singer with my beloved band Viper Squadron. We only exist occasionally, but we have found the time to make three albums over the past few years. 

With Mandy Mallen, I ran South Park Gardens Music Festival for four years, hosted by Radio X DJ John Kennedy. I now run Gig Night for Wimbledon Bookfest with John Kennedy, an annual showcase for young musicians.

I am also a judge on the annual Wimbledon BookFest Young Writers’ Competition.

I am represented in North America by Plays for Young Audiences.