It has been a centre of worship at the heart of the nation's capital for more than 100 years.

But now Edinburgh councillors are being asked to approve an ambitious plan to turn the Charlotte Baptist Chapel, in Rose Street, into a £1.8m new theatre and centre for the performing arts.

In recent years there has been controversy over the building's fate, with plans for a 'super pub' on the site abandoned, but Peter Schaufuss, a ballet star and lauded director, is prepared to transform the building into the Rose Theatre.

The Danish director is pledging his own money to transform the baptist chapel into a 600-seat theatre and year-round performing arts hub.

His bid, to be considered tomorrow by the City of Edinburgh's Development Management Sub-Committee of

the Planning Committee, has secured the backing of ballet star Darcey Bussell, the Ralph and Meriel Richardson Foundation, the actress Felicity Kendal, and theatre owner and Edinburgh Comedy Awards director Nica Burns, among others.

Councillor Richard Lewis, culture convener at Edinburgh City Council, also backs the plan, believing it would provide the city with a medium-scale theatre it needs.

An impact study estimates the theatre and dance complex would inject £5m to the local economy, and attract 80,000 visitors over the annual Edinburgh Festival period.

Schaufuss, who performed many times in Edinburgh's festival as a dancer and directed many times in the city, said he is hopeful the councillors will give the plan a green light.

The committee is hearing, at the same meeting, rivals plans for a restaurant and bar to be built in the same 1908 building.

Schaufuss, whose affection for Edinburgh goes back to his parent's both appearing in a production at Edinburgh's festival in the 1950s, is providing most of the initial investment from his personal wealth and will not require any public funding.

He said: "I have great hopes - I truly love the place and I love this building - if the plans go ahead we can begin putting on performances in August 2016."

Schaufuss, knighted in Denmark, has a distinguished career as a dancer, director and choreographer.

He was director of the London Festival Ballet, now English National Ballet, where he founded the English National Ballet School, Berlin Ballet at Deutsche Oper Berlin and the Royal Ballet in Copenhagen, and now has his own company, the Peter Schaufuss Ballet based in Holstebro, Denmark.

Bussell, in a letter of support, says: "I can attest to Peter's extraordinary talent and unquestionable integrity, the combination of which has produced so many great results during his long career....Do what you can to ensure this extraordinary dancer shares part of his legacy with Scotland."

Ms Kendal says: "Peter's originality and commitment has been extraordinary and I cannot do more than simply add my name to the list of esteemed people who already recommend and support him in the Rose Theatre project."

Nica Burns adds: "I think this scheme has vision, ingenuity, is clearly briefed by an experienced practitioner and would be a great asset to Edinburgh."

In his vision statement for the plan, Mr Schaufuss said the venue would offer a year round schedule of music, drama, opera, dance, and exhibition, as well as the home of a "world class dance company and its school."

The first and second floors would be a theatre, with seating between 210 and 623 depending on its configuration.

The street level would house the foyers for both theatres, the ancillary theatre café and bar, as well as a separate small entertainment venue.

He writes: "I am confident that Charlotte Chapel can be transformed into an international artistic centre, one where highly regarded established companies would be found cheek by jowl with new, innovative groups, all offering productions of the highest standard, making the Rose Theatre a watchword for matchless creativity in theatre and dance, fulfilling the need in Edinburgh for a dance house and venue of this size, complementing the much larger venues in the city."

People who live in the area will be offered discounted tickets, while senior citizens and school children will, for much of the year, be admitted free, in the plan.