Paul Taylor-Mills is to helm a new 200-seat theatre at the Battersea Power Station, which has ambitions to transfer a show to the West End within its first year.
The Turbine Theatre will open in August in Circus West Village and will feature world premieres as well as revivals as part of its output.
Drew McOnie will direct the first production at the theatre – Torch Song, by Harvey Fierstein.
Taylor-Mills said his plans for the venue covered three strands – the first will be festivals to generate new work, with the second strand focusing on work that has been discovered through these. The third strand will focus on classics and revivals, but “in a new, interesting way”.
Taylor-Mills told The Stage he wanted the Turbine to be a space where he takes the “best bits” from the work he has done in his previous roles to “mould my own theatre”.
Taylor-Mills previously ran the Other Palace, but said he had not anticipated running another venue.
“I learned what I do well and where I need support and what I could do better, and the kind of people I need around me. It remains a really important venue for me, but the time has come to do it myself and to have creative control,” he said.
He said he had three goals for the venue – to transfer a show to the West End within the first year, to have a show on Broadway by year three and then to have a production somewhere else in the world within five years.
“That is not because these are the ultimate goals everyone should strive for, but to make these places work we have to have that level of income. I think back to my work 10 years ago and the fringe is a very different place now. If you don’t come from money or have access to people that have money it’s very difficult,” he said,
He added he wanted to support emerging producers in his role.
“I want to make sure the space can self survive and I don’t want to have to rely on people for that forever,” he said.
The space is owned by Battersea Power Station Development Company, and was originally developed by Battersea Arts Centre. It was known as the Village Hall.
Taylor-Mills has now been hired by the power station to operate it as a theatre. His productions as artistic director are being supported by Bill Kenwright.
Taylor-Mills said Kenwright would provide financial support.
“He is letting me programme the venue but is supporting it by supporting the shows,” he said.
Its inaugural show, Torch Song, will be presented by Kenwright and will star Matthew Needham, Daisy Boulton, Rish Shah and Dino Fetscher.
McOnie told The Stage: “This is is a really important venture and the venue will become important for new voices – it’s something Paul believes in very strongly. He had a big part in becoming the theatremaker I am now – so I am thrilled to be going on this journey with him.”
He said the space will provide “intimacy and class”.
The theatre will have an in-house casting director in Will Burton, while the Theatre Cafe will host a pop-up cafe in the venue when it opens.