Six New Trustees Join the Storyhouse Board

Six new members are bringing their expertise to the Storyhouse Board of Trustees.

The Board provides governance and leadership, overseeing the strategic direction of the organisation in line with its charitable objectives and the law.

Storyhouse’s Trustees come from a wide and diverse range of backgrounds and have professional or lived experience which they bring to the role.

The new members of the Board are Michaela Dalton, Andy Fergus, John Grout, Sioned Jones, Maria Perny and Vidya Venugopal.

They were approved at a recent meeting where David Watson was appointed the new Chair.

Chester-born Michaela Dalton has a background in alternative education provision, working primarily with children who are often described as ‘hard to reach’. She received a first in Education Studies and Inclusion from Liverpool John Moores University and a Master’s in Education in Society from the University of Chester, and currently works for the Cheshire West and Chester local authority-commissioned Health and Wellbeing Service within Children’s Social Care.

Andy Fergus is commercial director of Hope House and Ty Gobaith Children’s Hospices, responsible for the charity’s finance, retail, estate, digital and governance functions. He has a Master’s in Charity Leadership and Management from the University of Chester, and previously worked for MBNA in the United States and Chester. He is also co-founder of Wrexham’s Dragonsong youth choir.

John Grout qualified as a chartered accountant with Ernst & Young and worked in both the UK and internationally with commercial, banking and charitable organisations. He retired as finance director of CAF Bank two years ago, and now works part time as treasurer of Charities Aid Foundation.

Originally from North Wales, Sioned Jones worked in London for many years but settled in Chester with her family in 2017. She is a senior manager and leader in the not-for-profit sector where over the course of two decades she has worked for a range of organisations including Oxfam, the RNIB and The Circle – a women’s rights NGO founded by Annie Lennox. Sioned is currently a director at the Tax Justice Network and a trustee at the charity Magic for Smiles.

Maria Perny has more than 25 years’ experience in the global energy marketing and trading industry, being based in Houston for much of that time while holding senior executive positions responsible for teams in the US, UK, India and Singapore. Her roles have covered areas like commercial trading and financial management, risk management and large-scale technology project implementation. Recently retired, she moved to Chester in 2021.

And Chester-based Vidya Venugopal is an international development lawyer working in a multilateral development bank. In her current role she is responsible for advising clients in South Asia on the legal and operational issues concerning projects being financed by the institution. Before coming to Chester, she lived, studied and/or worked in India, the Middle East and the US.

The six new Trustees augment the size of the Board to 15 and will all serve initial three-year terms.

Storyhouse creative director Suzie Henderson said, I’m delighted Michaela, Andy, John, Sioned, Maria and Vidya have all agreed to join the Storyhouse Board of Trustees. They bring an impressive depth and breadth of experience from different backgrounds and have worked in local, national and international settings. I’m certainly looking forward to working with and learning from them.

Trustees play a vital role in our organisation in helping to shape its direction and ethos, and we’re very lucky to have such a fantastic range of talented people on our Board as we move forward.”




For more information, contact:

Nancy Davies

Marketing and PR Manager


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

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