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Storyhouse CEO Announced As Chair of Arts Council England’s North Area Council


The DCMS has announced the appointment of Storyhouse CEO Annabel Turpin as Chair of Arts Council England North‘s Area Council, taking up the new role, as a 4 year term from 1 December 2023 and succeeding Kate Willard OBE. 

Currently CEO of Storyhouse, Turpin brings a wide range of experience in arts and culture management and an understanding of the Arts Council’s work having been involved with funded organisations for over 25 years.  

Woman wearing glasses in front of pink background.

Annbel Turpin, Storyhouse CEO

Annabel said:

It’s an honour to be appointed to this position, and as a passionate champion of the North, I am looking forward to working with colleagues at Arts Council England and beyond to further the vital role that arts and culture plays in our communities, in driving social, economic and cultural change.’


Annabel Turpin is Chief Executive of Storyhouse in Chester, one of the country’s largest
arts centres, incorporating theatres, a cinema and the city’s library, and welcoming more than 800,000 visitors a year.  

She is also Co-Director of the 140-strong Future Arts Centres national network, championing the role of arts centres in driving social, economic and cultural change. In her previous role, as CEO and Artistic Director of ARC in Stockton on Tees, Annabel established the venue as a leading North East arts organisation with national and international influence, including for its Pay What You Decide pricing and arts freelancers’ policies. She founded Venues North, developing best practice through a network of venues supporting artists making new work, and produced and toured new theatre work nationally and internationally.  

Prior to her 15 years at ARC, she was Director of Norden Farm Centre for the Arts in Maidenhead from 2002-2008. 

She is a long-term advocate of purposeful strategic collaboration, and horizontal and vertical sector partnerships. She played a significant role in securing £20 million+ investment in local creative industries as Deputy Chair and Strategic Lead for Creative Place for the Tees Valley Combined Authority’s Business Board. She has previously held a number of board positions including North East Culture Partnership, North East Screen industries Partnership, Sunderland Culture and Tangled Feet. 

Sarah Maxfield, Arts Council England’s North Area Director said: 

I’m delighted to welcome Annabel Turpin as the new Chair for our North Area Council. We have worked with Annabel for many years and she brings valuable experience of creativity and culture across the North and we’re looking to her joining us in December. At the same time, we must thank Kate Willard, our outgoing North Area Council Chair, for her commitment and achievements over the last few years. 



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For more information, contact:   

Nancy Davies   


07886 743531  


About Storyhouse   

Storyhouse is one of the UK’s foremost cultural centres incorporating a library, theatres and a cinema. It is one of the country’s most successful arts buildings, with more than one million customer visits each year.  

The pioneering new library within Storyhouse, where members of the community work alongside city librarians, boasts the longest opening hours of any UK public library and is open every day until 11pm. It runs over 2,000 sessions a year for marginalised communities  

The company also runs a highly successful theatre company and the country’s most successful regional open-air theatre, in the city’s Grosvenor Park and Moonlight Flicks open air cinema.   

Storyhouse currently holds the official title as the UK’s Most Welcoming Theatre and was the overall national winner in the 2018 Guardian Public Service Awards  

Website: To subscribe, visit Twitter: @storyhouselive Facebook: 

Address: Hunter Street, Chester, CH1 2AR  

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About Arts Council England 


Arts Council England is the national development agency for creativity and culture. We have set out our strategic vision in Let’s Create that by 2030 we want England to be a country in which the creativity of each of us is valued and given the chance to flourish and where everyone of us has access to a remarkable range of high-quality cultural experiences. From 2023 to 2026 we will invest over £467 million of public money from Government and an estimated £250 million from The National Lottery each year to help support the sector and to deliver this vision.