David Horlock

David Horlock 1942-1990 Theatre Director

David Horlock attended the School from 1953 through 1961. He was a stalwart supporter of school drama and starred in several of the annual productions put on by Messrs Wake and Marwood. He left on a State Scholarship to study Greek at Hertford College, Oxford where, we might assume, he honed his acting and directing skills as adjuncts to his classical studies. Whether or not he went into Rep for the next few years, I cannot ascertain, but by 1970 we find him at the Bristol Old Vic as the Assistant Stage Manager, soon becoming an Associate Director.

He then became Artistic Director of the Redgrave Theatre, Farnham, in 1978 where he mounted the first revival of Noel Coward’s epic work, Cavalcade, with a cast of 350 professional and amateur actors; this was hailed as an outstanding achievement.


David Horlock directed two runs of Cavalcade at the Redgrave Theatre in Farnham, not in 1978 but in 1981, the same year as he directed Cyrano de Bergerac.  The second production of Cavalcade was later in 1981 and this was because, in the first production, every seat was sold for each of the 22 performances. Because so many people from London and other places outside Farnham clamoured for places, Farnham residents were prevented from seeing it.

I know because I was in the first production.

David Horlock was not only a creative director but, above all, a very kind and sensitive individual and, if I may say so, a credit to Chichester High School. It was my dabbling into AmDram that brought me into contact with David and a part as an extra in Cavalcade and Cyrano.  That was a highlight in my life.

Ian Andrew

St. George’s College, Weybridge (1951-1957) 

4 April 2019


Surrey & Hants News Saturday, 29 October 2016  

Cavalcade – 35 years on

Tomorrow afternoon (Sunday) at Farnham Maltings, you can see the award-winning BBC documentary ‘A Backstage Story’, the tale of the time in 1981 that the Redgrave Theatre, Farnham, became the first theatre to be given the rights to Noel Coward’s ‘Cavalcade’ since 1931.

Brenda Longman tells the story:

“Thirty-five years ago, the Redgrave Theatre in Farnham, under the artistic directorship of the inspirational David Horlock, broke a number of theatrical records by obtaining permission to stage the first production of Noel Coward’s ‘Cavalcade’ since 1931.

Fifty years after the original Drury Lane production and with an even larger cast of 12 professional actors and 300 extra performers, Farnham and its environs became gripped in ‘Cavalcade’ fever which reached epidemic proportions. Everybody who saw it or was involved found it an affecting and unforgettable experience.

News of the plans for this epic soon reached the media who jumped on the bandwagon by immediately planning a two-part documentary of the making and execution of this extraordinary and courageous event which required military precision, skill, and total dedication from its production team.

‘Cavalcade- 35 years on’ is a public re-showing of this documentary which was shot on film and which, itself, won the Queen’s Award for industry. This documentary beautifully illustrates and defines what can be achieved in a community theatre in a Surrey town.

It also serves as a lasting tribute to the memory and vision of David Horlock an extraordinarily inspirational regional theatre director whose life was tragically cut short by a motor accident ten years later.

Farnham Rep who exist to continue to produce professional theatre in venues in and around Farnham still consists of several members of the original production team. After the documentary, there will be a questions and answers session with original cast and production team members to share memories and anecdotes. ‘Cavalcade- 35 years on’ will be at Farnham Maltings on 30 October 2016.


He was then appointed Artistic Director of the Salisbury Playhouse where, in addition to his other directorial assignments, he produced a number of stage adaptations, including Thomas Hardy’s Far From the Madding Crowd, The Woodlanders and Tess; Jane Austen’s Emma and Pride and Prejudice; Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities and Graham Greene’s Brighton Rock.

He directed many notable productions including Shaw’s Man and Superman, the Sondheim musical Sweeney Todd, Jamaica Inn, Martin Sherman’s Bent and Noel and Gertie – Sheridan Morley’s musical celebration of the work of Noel Coward and Gertrude Lawrence, which on to a long and successful run at the Comedy Theatre in London. By the time of his early tragic death in a car accident at the age of 48 in 1990 he had amassed an impressive CV of theatrical productions:                                              


The Taming of the Shrew 1970 – 1971, Theatre Royal, Bath. Director, Time and Time Again 1973 – 1974, Little Theatre, Bristol. Director, Equus 1974 – 1975, Bristol Old Vic. Director, Krapp’s Last Tape 1974 – 1975, New Vic, Bristol. Director, Wait Until Dark 1974 – 1975, Little Theatre, Bristol. Director, A Christmas Carol 1974 – 1975, Little Theatre, Bristol. Director, the Hollow Crown 1973 – 1974, New Vic, Bristol. Director, Tarantara – Tarantara! 1974 – 1975, New Vic, Bristol. Director, Romeo and Juliet 1974 – 1975, Little Theatre, Bristol. Director, Habeas Corpus 1975 – 1976, Bristol Old Vic. Director, French Without Tears 1975 – 1976, Little Theatre, Bristol. Director, Owl and the Pussycat Went To See 1975 – 1976, New Vic, Bristol. Director, Crocodiles in Cream 1975 – 1976, New Vic, Bristol. Director, the Birthday Party 1975 – 1976, New Vic, Bristol. Director, A Taste of Honey 1976 – 1977, Little Theatre, Bristol.


Director, Crocodiles in Cream 1975 – 1976, Mermaid Theatre, London.

Director, Mrs Warren’s Profession 1976 – 1977, Bristol Old Vic. Director, The Plotters of Cabbage Patch Corner 1976 – 1977, Little Theatre, Bristol. Director, Living Together 1976 – 1977, Little Theatre, Bristol.

1978- 1979

Director Cavalcade 1978-9 Side By Side by Sondheim 1978 – 1979, Redgrave Theatre, Farnham

1979- 1990

Director, Cyrano de Bergerac, Salisbury Playhouse ended 1983, Salisbury Playhouse. Director, Double Cut, Salisbury Playhouse ended 13th October 1984, Salisbury Playhouse. Director, the Duchess of Malfi, Salisbury Arts Theatre Limited February – 8th March 1986, Salisbury Playhouse, Salisbury. Director, Mother Goose, Salisbury Playhouse December 1986 – January 1987, Salisbury Playhouse. Director, Man and Superman, Salisbury Playhouse 22nd February – 17th March 1990, Salisbury Playhouse, Salisbury