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Storyhouse appoints new CEO: Annabel Turpin

Storyhouse, Chester’s award-winning theatre, cinema and library has appointed Annabel Turpin as its new Chief Executive (CEO)

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. 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.  

David Watson, Chair of Storyhouse Board of Trustees said:  

“After an extensive search, we are truly delighted that Annabel is joining the Storyhouse family as Chief Executive this autumn. She comes with an incredible wealth of knowledge and experience as well as a sound reputation as an inspirational leader brimming with vision and passion. Annabel proved herself to be an exceptional candidate and demonstrated a clear respect for the organisation’s roots and local importance, whilst sharing our ambition for the future which sees Storyhouse continue to widen its reach and increase its impact across communities as well as engage, entertain and inspire the nation and the rest of the world through our outstanding work across all our stages and spaces.” 

Annabel Turpin said:  

“I can’t wait to make Chester my home, and join the fantastic team at Storyhouse. It’s already established as a key local institution, and I’m excited to work with local partners and communities to build on its success.” 

Councillor Louise Gittins - Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Culture and Arts said:  

“I’m delighted to welcome Annabel to Storyhouse, her experience and ambition provide a fabulous opportunity to further enhance the high-quality, impactful, creative and cultural offer across Cheshire West and Chester. We look forward to seeing Storyhouse continue to develop and innovate and are delighted that Annabel’s appointment will further strengthen our collaboration and partnership with Storyhouse, creative partners and communities across Cheshire West. Annabel’s range of experience and ambition, valuing the importance of connection, community and inclusivity, will enhance the importance of arts, culture and creativity for our borough. We look forward to this next exciting and ambitious chapter with Annabel, Storyhouse and our communities.”

Jen Cleary, Director North, Arts Council England said,  

“I’m delighted to hear that Annabel is joining Storyhouse as its new CEO. She has been an extraordinarily effective leader of ARC in Stockton for many years and done so much to raise awareness of how cultural organisations contribute to their localities and communities, as well as leading the way in helping venues to be ambitious in their programming, to widen their audiences and share best practice across the North. I look forward to welcoming Annabel to the North West in October.” 

Turpin will take up post at the end October.  


For more information, contact:   

Jade Palmer