The new artistic director at the Orange Tree Theatre has promised audiences an exciting new era for the Richmond playhouse.

Paul Miller takes over the role at the end of June, replacing the outgoing Sam Walters, who founded the theatre in 1971.

The incoming director took time to pay tribute to Walters as he looked ahead.

He said: "I will be taking forward the fundamental artistic principles of the theatre forward.

"Sam has developed this way of mixing new plays with rediscoveries and that works. But of course it is going to be in my own way with some new people and new designers.

"There will be new voices in the space which will be exciting and there will be an interesting mix for the regular audiences."

Miller lives upstream in Chelsea and said he knows the Orange Tree Theatre well, having been a regular punter over the years.

He admitted he was filling an ambition to finally direct at a theatre so close to his heart.

He said: "I know it well as I have been coming here since it moved to its current premises some years ago.

"I am very used to coming here to see plays but have never directed at the Orange Tree.

"Sam does plays you have either never heard of before or something that you know will be good.

"My tenure is starting with a DH Lawrence play, the Widowing of Mrs Holroyd - everyone knows Lawrence as a brilliant novelist but people don't know he wrote three amazing plays as a young man."

Miller has been a freelance director throughout his career, which includes work at the National Theatre.

He also has worked as an associate director at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, where he directed Hamlet, starring John Simm.

"Working on Hamlet with John Simm was a particular highlight," he said.

"Also I did a new play called Sing Your Heart Out for the Lads, which I was very proud of."