BY BILLY SUTER
AUDITIONS are being held at the Durban Actors’ Studio, 11 Albert Terrace, Point, on September 28, for The Waterfront Theatre School, Cape Town’s top-rated college for the performing arts, headed by ’70s television personality Delia Sainsbury.
This year the college, of which Sainsbury is owner and director, celebrates its 25th anniversary.
“What started out as an insurance policy to ensure that my late husband and I weren’t deported by the South African government has turned into one of the most respected colleges for training in the performing arts. We produce the ‘triple threat’ (singer, actor, dancer) needed for continuous employment in the industry,’” explains Sainsbury.
Sainsbury, the face of SABC TV for 20 years, along with her late husband Keith Galloway, was one of the first tenants in the newly developed V&A Waterfront in Cape Town.
“A lot has changed around us in the last 25 years – good times and bad times, I’ve seen them all but my dear, I’m still here,” says Delia, quoting lyrics from the Stephen Sondheim classic and confirming her place as a theatrical doyenne.
The Waterfront Theatre School, in the Old Mission to Seamen building at the entrance of the waterfront, was founded by Delia and Keith in 1992. It now has a staff of 17 teachers, 10 studios, a production workshop, a costumes stores, an 80-seater theatre and a whole lot of charm.
“Performing is in our blood. Both Keith and I had significant West End careers before relocating to South Africa and both of us dedicated our lives to the craft,” recalls Delia.
This passion for performing has been instilled in The Galloway Girls – Delia and Keith’s two daughters, Genna and Jo.
Genna Galloway has enjoyed an illustrious careeer in performance, touring the world in productions such as The Sound of Music, Grease and We Will Rock You. She won a Fleur du Cap Award for her performance – unrecognisable as Yitzhak, sidekick of rocker Hedwig (Paul du Toit) – in the audacious musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch, a highlight of the recent Hilton Arts Festival at Hilton College.
“Apart from being a consumate performer, Genna is a passionate educator and believes strongly in the training of future performers. Over the last couple of years she has increased her involvement in the college and is excited by what lies in store for the future of the performing arts.”
Jo Galloway is currently based in Los Angeles and is actively pursuing opportunities in directing, acting and producing. She has developed her own production company called Showorks.
‘Both my girls have inherited the spirit for creating opportunities. I suppose having seen Keith and I build the college from scratch has inspired that.”
Delia continues to inspire a new generation of creative spirit. Together with her business partner Paul Griffiths, she works consistently to ensure The Waterfront Theatre College stays resonant and relevant.
‘The creative process is an evolving process and any training programme needs to stay open to evolution to ensure that skills being taught are current,” explains Paul.
It is this openness to evolution that has guaranteed the college’s survival over the past 25 years. It is the relevance of their programmes that ensures they remain a significant feeder to both the local and international landscape.
“Our programmes are purely practical. Our emphasis is on equipping learners with a skills set relevant to the workplace. Whilst theory has its place, the art of performing requires systematic and routine practise. We are an increasingly rare conservatoire of the arts,” adds Paul.
“Currently our courses are accredited internationally by The Imperial Society of Teachers of Dance and Trinity Guildhall. We offer qualifications in both teaching and performing, ensuring all options for employment at home and abroad are guaranteed,” says Delia.
‘We have built up an impressive alumni of graduates over the years – people who have helped raise the reputation of the college by embracing the college motto to aim ‘higher’.
“These individuals are testament to the success of our programmes. Duanne Alexander (performer and choreographer), Clive Gilson, (actor), Tarryn Lee Hudson (actress), Hilda Cronje (actress), Nathan Kruger (actor), Roland Perold (pianist and singer), Chloe Purling (singer/dancer) are just a few of the notable graduates from KZN who have made an indelible mark within the performing arts industry.
“At the moment we have a number of students who have come to us via the range of young performers programmes avaiblable in Durban: Robyn Ivey, Belinda Susman and Loreto Cabrero to name but a few; confirming that Durban is an incubator for exceptional talent,” says Paul. “We hope to identify more of what this region has to offer in our 2018 audition’.
The Durban leg of The Waterfront Theatre School 2018 Audition is being hosted by the Durban Actors’ Studio.
‘We are thrilled to be forming alliances with The Durban Actors’ Studio and look forward to helping the next generation of Durban performers to transition on to national and international stages.”
So if you see yourself as a performer in dance, musical theatre, movies, TV or stage, note that to book for an audition in Durban on September 28 you will need to contact Mary Martin at 021 418 4600.
For auditions requirements log on to www.waterfronttheatreschool.co.za