A £20million teaching centre at the Lyric Theatre in Hammersmith aimed at combating knife crime is being planned.
The King Street theatre wants to build four new floors above the King's Mall to house a centre where youngsters from diverse backgrounds can be given a grounding in performing arts.
James Blackman is co-director for the Centre for Creative Learning project, which he hopes will steer students away from crime.
He said: "Young people have told us there is nowhere to go and nothing to do and we want to help meet that problem. We really want to work with victims and perpetrators of offences like knife crime. If we can challenge their energy into performing, that may steer them away from negative behaviour."
The theatre already teaches 11 to 19-year-olds and around 10,000 youngsters attend courses annually.
He added: "Over the last three years numbers have increased by around 300 per cent and we have run out of room."
The 28-year-old denied the extension will be a 'fame academy' and added: "If people do get a career out it that would be fantastic, but that is not the main reason we are doing this. We want this to be a place where young people can meet, rather than being on street corners."
Mr Blackman described the next three months of negotiations with potential sponsors, including the government and councils, as 'crucial.'
The centre will cost between £15 and £20million, depending on how much can be raised, and it is hoped it will be completed by 2012.