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  • Writer's pictureWaterfront Theatre School

Edge To Success - WTS, one of South Africa’s premier training facilities

Updated: Apr 6, 2022

Want to future – proof your career?  Edge to success with a multifaceted toolbox.

Waterfront Theatre School, one of South Africa’s premiere training facilities, recognizes that sustainability in the performing arts is dependent on versatility. 

In an industry where notoriously, few opportunities exist – versatility is a valuable asset – enabling one to benefit from a wider range of opportunities and providing a competitive edge.

When WTS first opened its doors in the early 1990’s the intention of founders Delia Sainsbury and Keith Galloway was to offer training that developed the so called ‘triple threat’ - a description used for artists whose versatility included: 

  • singing

  • dancing 

  • acting

An important evolution in the history of South African theatre.  Learn more at []

What determines a Triple Threat?

This phrase was first coined to describe a new breed of performer following the development in 1957 of the musical theatre production West Side Story - the first (and some may argue, only) Integrated Musical.

Since the early development of Musical Theatre – creatives aspired to create a collaborative art form – a collaboration of three disciplines beautifully integrated into one.

In West Side Story, Creator, Director and Choreographer, Jerome Robbins seamlessly integrated the three disciplines to communicate the dramatic idea.   In so doing, he set a new benchmark for performing artists – an ability to demonstrate equal levels of proficiency in varied disciplines.

The ‘triple threat’ concept was born.

A New Age for Musical Theatre, a New Age for Musical Theatre Training.

When a precedent is set – the job market responds by establishing new criteria for employment. To maintain relevance to the job market, training programs must evolve or become redundant.

It was in a touring production of West Side Story that Keith and Delia first travelled to South Africa from the UK. It is no surprise that their personal narrative in terms of the criteria for success is aligned to the belief that multi-disciplinary skill is essential.  They both were in the first tranche of performers to benefit from being trained as ‘triple threats’ and capitalized on this versatility of skill in the early stages of their International Careers. 

It is this belief, in the diversity of training, that became the bedrock for their first Stage School in South Africa. 

Filling the Gap

When Keith and Delia started Waybury in Johannesburg in the late 70’s – it was the combination of training, in singing, dancing and acting that set them apart.  In the educational landscape of South Africa, they were the first to recognize the markets demand for training in various aspects of the performing arts under one roof. 

Industry pioneers in the true sense of the word!

Future Proof

It was this foresight in the late 70’s – that multi-disciplinary training was essential to the development of the creative economy in South Africa - that enabled a new generation of South African performers to broaden their scope for employment both Nationally and Internationally.  

Do you know how many WTS graduates went into the first Megahit musical to hit South African Shores?


The producers confidently confirmed that South Africans would not have been ready for this production had the training not evolved to develop the versatility of skill.  

What was the musical?


And the legacy continues….

Since that production in the mid 90’s many productions continue to visit our country and local casts benefit from international careers touring with these shows which export all over the world.  To this day, many of our alumni are working in Musicals across the globe enjoying a much larger job market than is typically available nationally.

Moving with the times…

As Bernard Marr states in his recent article for Forbes Magazine, we are in the midst of the transformative impact of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the time is now to start preparing for the future of work.  

According to the Future of Jobs Report from the World Economic Forum even just five years from now, more than one-third of the skills we believe to be essential for today will have changed.

What are the top two skills considered essential for the 21st Century according to the World Economic Forum?

Creativity and Communication. 

What does that mean for theatre training and performance?

The performing arts world is an ever-changing landscape and your success within the field depends on creative adaptability.  

Today – the term ‘triple threat’ is itself an evolving concept.

As an established leader in the field, we at WTS have a responsibility to stay on the forefront of training that is resonant and relevant.  As such, we continue to observe closely the diversity of skills required by young people to begin and navigate a sustainable career within the Creative Economy both locally and abroad.

Acknowledging the need for future industry pioneers, our training programme has developed to actively provide you with opportunities to:

  • explore 

  • innovate 

  • create 

We are developing a three-pronged advantage - an ability to 

  • perform 

  • teach  

  • create.  

It is this diversity of skill (rather than versatility) that empowers you with the competitive edge.  Download our prospectus to discover more here.

The Development of South African Theatre – what do we do differently?

  • 4-year training programme continues to offer you courses in Musical Theatre, Dancing and Acting but we encourage a broader application.  

  • We specialize in a personalized programme to cater for your needs and professional goals- providing you with an individual toolbox of techniques transferable across a wide range of Industry contexts. 

  • Our International Qualifications include teaching qualifications accredited by Trinity Guildhall and The Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing – securing you a passport of expertise to teach across the globe 

  • We provide you with a multitude of performance showcases and platforms for you to explore your unique individual expression – laying sound foundations for creative entrepreneurship.

Giving you the edge

Survival skills in any job market depend on you having relevant skills.  A training institution must be able to identify what skills are relevant and how best to develop these skills.

WTS identifies: 

  • the need for creative visionaries to envision a future for the performing arts in our country. 

  • We understand the need for visionaries to have tangible skills to manifest and maintain a framework for success within the creative economy. 

  • We appreciate the value of developing proficiency in skill to affect change in our creative industry and also the need for the transference of skill to a wider community of artists.

At WTS we see today what you need tomorrow and our vocational programme with strong emphasis on diversity of skill offers you a relevant and viable career.   Apply now [hyperlinked to application form]

 Make your talent tangible!

Join us, come be part of our tribe!


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