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Our Leadership Team

Annabel Turpin

Turpin comes from a highly successful 15-year stint at ARC Stockton Arts Centre – one of the North East’s largest arts venues.  She is also Co-Director of Future Arts Centres, a national network of 130+ arts centres, committed to championing their artistic and social contribution to the cultural and civic life of UK towns and cities. 

She is Deputy Chair and Strategic Lead for Creative Place for the Tees Valley Combined Authority’s Business Board (LEP) and sits on a number of other boards and advisory groups. Her consultancy work includes organisational development for theatre companies, venues and local authorities, and mentoring and facilitation at both executive and board level. 

In 2020-21 she led the independent Tees Valley Creative & Visitor Economy Task Force, established by the Tees Valley Mayor, and currently co-chairs the Tees Valley Creative Place Advisory Group. 

She launched and chairs Venues North, a group of 45+ venues from across the greater North committed to helping artists get their work seen more widely. She has produced and toured work nationally by artists, writers and theatre-makers including Jonathan Coe, Daniel Bye, Patrick Gale, Jackie Kay and Luca Rutherford. 

Turpin joins Storyhouse at an exciting time, as it prepares to launch its new 3-year strategy and positions its charity for its next stage of development. Turpin’s broad and diverse leadership credentials will enable Storyhouse to maximise its offer to the widest range of audiences in its unique programme of work.  


A black and white photograph of Suzie Henderson - Storyhouse's creative director.

Suzie Henderson
Creative Director

Suzie joined Storyhouse in January 2022.

As Creative Director, Suzie leads on our Artistic programme including our engagement and communities programmes, as well as leading our festivals and talent development programmes.

Suzie trained in Drama at the University of Bristol, after finding her way in to the arts as a teenager via her local youth theatre. Before joining Storyhouse, Suzie was the Head of Creative Development for Contact in Manchester. There, she led on the development of The Agency – a UK-wide social entrepreneurship programme in partnership with Battersea Arts Centre, People’s Palace Projects and Brazilian Artist and Cultural Leader Marcus Faustini.

As well as leading the development of socially engaged theatre pieces, focused on unheard and underrepresented voices, Suzie has worked extensively both nationally and internationally in youth governance and leadership, co-curation with young people, and with communities and arts for social change. Suzie has a particular interest in the civic role of arts organisations. She is also an expert in reality TV and gin-based cocktails.

Oliver Hill
Operations Director

As our Operations Director, Olly runs all of our venue operations, customer service, food & drink and all event programmes.

He has worked in hospitality and operations for 20 years, as a general manager, cluster manager & operations manager as well as in brand development and marketing.

He has run numerous restaurants, bars and live music venues in London, Sheffield, Leeds, Manchester and Nottingham, as well as working on festivals and as a consultant on over 10 new bar openings. He came to Storyhouse having spent a number of years as the General F&B Manager for Chester Zoo.

Kate Mylchreest
Development Director

As our Development Director, Kate runs our fundraising and stakeholder management programmes.

She has a degree in Sociology and Anthropology from Newcastle University and has worked in fundraising for the not-for-profit sector for over 20 years. She is an avowed champion of Storyhouse’s community programme, particularly supporting young people from disadvantaged backgrounds.

She has considerable experience in the NHS and held senior positions at both the Countess of Chester and The Royal Liverpool University Hospital, where she set up the R Charity. Kate has specialist experience of managing large capital fundraising campaigns and has lectured at University of Liverpool on this area. She continues to mentor other fundraisers.

She started her career in human rights and disability charities in London before coming home to Chester. She’s a long-suffering and active member of the local Labour party and knows Chester like nobody else.

Sharon Peake-Jones
Director of Finance and People

Sharon joined Storyhouse in March 2024.

As Director of Finance and People, Sharon has overall responsibility for the charity’s financial health and management of resources.  In an operational and strategic role for Finance, Legal, Governance and HR, Sharon is a key part of the leadership team to deliver the highest standards of service at Storyhouse.

Sharon qualified with ACCA whilst working at M&S Bank in Chester. Originally from North Wales and having spent her early career in Chester, Sharon then moved to the US with Bristol-Myers Squibb and over the last twenty years worked with International Pharmaceutical and Medical Device companies in a variety of Strategic Roles. Her time in the US has been split between the North East and the city of Savannah, GA where she was CFO for the Savannah Music Festival, a World of Music in one city. She still has ties with the city and the performing arts in the US and when not walking in the hills of Wales or enjoying the city of Chester, she can be found in Savannah or sailing somewhere not too far from there !