Ambitious plans to bring the West End to West Croydon have been unveiled by the founders of a new theatre.

A 230-seat auditorium, rehearsal space and a recording studio form part of blueprints for a performing arts centre drawn up by three session musicians. 

They began work on the Barn Theatre at the start of the year and hope to open by September. 

Mark Nicholson, Sam Facey and Dave Prince believe the venue will fill the hole in Croydon’s cultural scene left by the closure of the Warehouse Theatre in 2012 and give a boost to West Croydon.

But the trio, who have played soul and gospel together for nearly 35 years, also have bold ambitions to entice big-name productions south from central London.

Mr Nicholson, 50, of Purley, said: "We are hoping that something even from the West End will take a shine to it and come down and use the facilities.

"We having it done up to a style that as you walk in you feel that theatre presence.

"It is going to attract people down. Can you imagine having those type of productions coming down from the West End to Croydon? It would be just excellent."

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An artist's impression of the theatre's auditorium

The trio put on two productions at Fairfield Halls before deciding to "go to the next level" of running a fringe theatre. 

Trading as the Doxa Partnership, they have leased a 5,400 sq ft building in the Pilton industrial estate, Pitlake and secured planning permission for the venue last year.

Once up and running, they plan to produce theatre in-house, stage external productions, host creative workshops for young people and collaborate with local colleges to run courses. 

Mr Nicholson, a minister at Acts Christian Church in Bensham Lane, Thornton Heath, said: "This will primarily be to take on productions to help other young people who would like to have a career in the arts. 

"It will be multi-functional venue that will take on every aspect of recording, rehearsal, dance, even worship. It will cover every remit."

"It will fill the gap left by the Warehouse theatre, especially in the wake of what happened four years ago - the London riots.

"It is a much-needed ward, as well. There is no culture around there."

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Theatre space: Mark Nicholson and Sam Facey have rented an industrial building to transform into an arts venue

He added: "The location is excellent. You walk straight out of West Croydon, along Derby Road and you are there. Getting to the venue will be so easy."

He said the venue had "one final hurdle" to overcome - a community infrastructure levy, a tax on new developments that the group hope Croydon Council will waive to help ease the financial burden of the project.

On May 1 they will launch the venue’s first event, talent show Croydon With Talent.