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David Watson

David is currently the Executive Director of Audiences and Media at National Museums Liverpool.

He is also founder and creative director of The Great British Gala, creative director of MikMen and a trustee of One Dance UK, the national body for dance.

His previous roles include Director of Brand and Advocacy for Birmingham Royal Ballet and Head of Digital / Digital Editor in Chief for Hull City of Culture 2017.


Ngunan Adamu

Ngunan Adamu is a trained journalist, multi-media trainer and entrepreneur, working for varying departments within the BBC with a focus on outreach, youth and music. Ngunan has been at the BBC for fifteen years working locally, nationally and internationally, with a passion for working with women and young people, using media – especially radio to empower and educate the masses.

She is currently the producer and presenter of Upfront which is a Black Magazine show at BBC Radio Merseyside focusing on news, current affairs, stories and music that is of interest to the Merseyside Black community. She’s also an international multimedia trainer for the BBC World Service, travelling the globe to train foreign journalists and editors for the BBC World Service. Ngunan is also the founder of iWoman Academy CIC – a radio academy for women.


Erik Boekesteijn

Erik is a Library Avenger and one of Europe’s most respected librarians; he was responsible for much of the design for Storyhouse’s library. He lives in the Netherlands where he is Senior Advisor at the National Library at the Netherlands (KB). He is the Consultant Public Libraries 2020 and founding father of Public Libraries 2030. Facilitator and consultant for IFLA. Owner of Shanachie Media and producer of This Week in Libraries and ShanachieTours, a worldwide tour of searching for best practice in libraries.

Presenter, motivator, musician and author. Erik was LJ’s Mover and Shaker of the Library World 2009; and literally and officially the Best Librarian in the Netherlands 2015!


Bense Burnett

Bense’s career spans senior leadership roles across numerous countries within a global healthcare business. He brings expertise in Business Strategy, Project Management, Change Management and Governance having delivered complex, cost-effective services and major organisational change programmes internationally.

Throughout his career, he has been passionate about applying his expertise to deliver a ‘best in class’ consumer experience. His knowledge and advice have been used by the UK Government’s Business, Skills & Innovation Department to assess Shared Services capabilities for its Research Councils in order to drive a major strategy delivery plan. His long-held interest in the arts, together with his recent retirement means that he now has the opportunity to apply his commercial experience to supporting Storyhouse moving forward.


Michaela Dalton

Michaela was born and raised in Chester, and although now living just over the Welsh border, still considers Chester home. She feels passionate about putting back into a community that she has drawn so much from over the years. Currently working as part of the Cheshire West and Chester local authority-commissioned Emotional Health and Wellbeing Service within Children’s Social Care, allows her to combine her personal and professional experiences to support the some of the most vulnerable, disadvantaged or under represented young people in our community.

Coming from a Neuro-diverse family, coupled with raising a child with a complex physical disability has led to a 1st class honours degree in Education Studies and Inclusion at Liverpool John Moores University, followed by a Masters Education in Society at the University of Chester, and an ongoing PCET at Wrexham Glyndwr University. Michaela has a background in alternative educational provision, working primarily with what are often described as ‘hard to reach’ young people. Inclusion is at the heart of everything she does and she is an advocate for fair access to education for all.


Andy Fergus

Andy Fergus is the Commercial Director of Hope House and Ty Gobaith Children’s Hospices, responsible for the charity’s finance, retail, estates, digital and governance functions. He graduated with a Management Science degree from University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology before joining MBNA in the US and then in Chester.

His work in financial services was followed by time as an entrepreneur in the retail and hospitality sectors and as a consultant. He has been with Hope House since 2013. Andy holds a Master’s degree in Charity Leadership and Management from the University of Chester and co-founded the Dragonsong youth choir in Wrexham.


John Grout

John qualified as a chartered accountant with Ernst & Young before working in the UK and internationally with commercial, banking and charitable organisations. He retired as Finance Director of CAF Bank in 2020 and now works part-time as Treasurer of Charities Aid Foundation.


Sioned Jones

Sioned is a senior manager and leader in the not-for-profit sector where she has worked for over two decades. In that time she has had a variety of roles in a range of organisations including Oxfam, the UK’s leading sight loss charity – RNIB, the women’s rights NGO founded by Annie Lennox – The Circle, and currently is a Director at the Tax Justice Network. In addition, she is a trustee at Magic for Smiles, a small charity working to support the wellbeing of refugee children through magic shows and tuition.

The common thread weaving through Sioned’s professional and personal life is her desire for social justice. Originally from North Wales, having moved to London in the late 80’s for work, Sioned returned to the North West and settled with her family in Chester in 2017. In her spare time, she attends live music and events and is thoroughly enjoying experiencing the wonderful array of cultural arts venues and events across the region, but of course, especially Storyhouse.


Kirsty Lowe

Kirsty has spent her career to date working in education, her current role is focused on mental health, emotional well-being and safeguarding. She has a passion for inclusion and removing barriers to learning in the broadest sense. Personally and professionally she has witnessed the transformative benefits of participation in community, culture and the arts and she is committed to broadening access to such opportunities for all.

She has studied educational leadership to post-graduate level and is experienced in governance at a number pf different settings as well as working with three different local authorities on admissions and exclusions appeals. Kirsty and her family have been enthusiastic supporters of Storyhouse since it opened, particular favourites are the cinema and the Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre each summer.


Maria Perny

Maria has over 25 years experience in the global energy marketing and trading industry being based in Houston, Texas for the majority of her working life while holding senior executive positions with responsibility for teams in the USA, UK, India and Singapore. Her roles have covered Commercial Trading and Financial Management, Risk Management, large-scale technology project implementation, Change Management and Operations in addition to strategic leadership responsibilities. She is a member of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants.

While living in Houston, she was on the Operating Committee of Books Between Kids, a wonderful charity working to help impoverished and at-risk children own books of their own and to develop a love of reading. In 2021, she moved to Chester and having recently retired is delighted to be able to leverage her expertise for the benefit of the wonderful welcoming community of Chester and specifically the Storyhouse mission.


Vidya Venugopal

Vidya is an international development lawyer working in a multilateral development bank and has predominantly worked in the banking sector over the last decade. At her current role, she is responsible for advising clients in South Asia on the legal and operational issues concerning the projects being financed by the institution. Prior to coming to Chester with her spouse, she lived, studied and/or worked for significant periods in India, Middle East and the US.

With a passion for art and literature and specifically the institutions and places that enables their impact, she is looking forward to applying her skills to support the Storyhouse mission. Most days when in Chester, she can be found taking her break in one of the many indie coffee shops that dot the city.


Ric Watts

Ric is a producer of theatre, arts and festivals, based in Manchester. He is currently Executive Producer for Factory International, producing world-class work across a range of artforms for the newly opened Aviva Studios and the city-wide festival of original work Manchester International Festival, alongside helping manage a busy, large producing team.

Previously, Ric was Senior Producer at the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester for four years, producing over 30 main-stage productions. Additionally, he has worked in producing roles for a number of leading theatres and festivals, including HOME, Theatr Clwyd, Contact, Transform Festival and Queer Up North International Festival. During a 20-year producing career he has also spent significant time working with independent artists, producing award-winning work on tour around the UK and internationally, and providing strategic development support and mentorship.