Jermyn Street Theatre officially relaunches as a producing house next month, with Larry Herold’s new comedy, Preacherosity, which has a limited season from 13 April to 6 May 2006 (previews from 11 April).

Deep in the heart of Texas, the tiny Baptist Church in Bubbling Springs is desperate for a new preacher. Out of the blue, a stranger appears. He’s intense, mysterious and dangerously seductive. Is he the answer to their prayers, or the destruction of all their illusions?

Preacherosity is produced by Jermyn Street manager Penny Horner and Simon James Collier, who together now form the partnership leading the fringe theatre. The show is presented by the Okai Collier Company, the team behind Elegies, Ruthless! and Purlie: The Musical. It’s directed by Omar F Okai and designed by Kate Bannister and Karl Swinyard, with lighting by Mike Robertson.

Collier - the former executive director of the Bridewell Theatre - is the producer half of the Okai Collier Company (by chance formed in the same year that Jermyn Street Theatre opened), which is involved in publishing as well as developing and presenting shows. He has now been appointed in the role of consultant at Jermyn Street.

Commenting on the theatre’s new focus, he said: “The initiative I am encouraging at Jermyn Street is an approach that we’ve adopted at the Okai Collier Company since we formed 11 years ago. You take industry professionals, well versed in their craft, and place alongside them newcomers to our industry. It’s about looking at new actors and giving them a chance to work alongside seasoned professionals.”

Collier clarified that not all future productions at Jermyn Street will be either co-productions or in-house productions; visiting productions remain welcome. However, he would like producing companies to fit in with the new opportunities ethos of the 70-seater off-West End venue.

He added: “A number of projects we are currently looking at come with some finance. This is something we encourage as it shows there is another level of commitment to the project, and we can then enhance this and help make it happen.”

- Caroline Ansdell