Andrew Bentley BEM, founding Chief Executive of Storyhouse is stepping down after 17 years and having led the organisation to great success, including expertly navigating the organisation through a global pandemic when Storyhouse remained connected and accessible to its communities to continue its vital work of entertaining, inspiring, supporting and welcoming visitors.
Andrew has led the charity since 2005 and has worked alongside Cheshire West and Chester Council to realise the vision and development of Storyhouse.
During this time, Storyhouse has evolved into a significant and innovative regional cultural charity. It runs one of the country’s most successful arts buildings, with more than one million visits each year. Storyhouse is also an acclaimed theatre producer and runs the country’s most successful regional open-air theatre, Grosvenor Park Open-Air Theatre, which Andrew created in 2010 with Storyhouse’s founding Artistic Director Alex Clifton.
Andrew received a BEM in the Queen’s 2020 Birthday Honours List, for services to Arts and Libraries.
Andrew said: ‘It has been an enormous privilege to lead such an amazing organisation, but after a 17-year journey with the charity, I am ready to make a change. Together with my previous artistic director, Alex Clifton and the team, we managed to build and create a true community space, a ‘third space’ outside home and work, and it is this I am most proud of.
‘In any year, well over 1,000 individuals – communities, artists, practitioners – are involved in making work that accounts for over half of our turnover. We have empowered young people with industry-leading youth leadership, with meaningful influence and direct control over programmes, production, and governance. We seek to put communities in control and manage resources to empower those least likely to feel they belong.
‘I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all of the team at Storyhouse, and all our wonderful customers, creatives, city stakeholders and supporters for giving me one of the best working experiences of my life. My children have grown up in and around Storyhouse and it will continue to hold a very special place in myself and my family’s hearts.’
David Watson, Chair of the Board of Trustees commented: ‘Andrew steps down after 17 years at the helm and on behalf of the Board of Trustees, I would like to sincerely thank Andrew for his outstanding contribution, and for leading the organisation with such energy, passion and resilience, and particularly recently through one of the most challenging moments of our lifetime, with such a steady hand, ensuring we came out the other side in a healthy position, and we’re now able to move forward with confidence and stability.
‘Andrew’s leadership has ensured Storyhouse has cemented itself as a beacon of inspiration for many other cities and towns for the role it has played in social and economic regeneration, its hugely successful and unique integration of world-class theatre, cinema and library facilities as well as its bold, exciting, diverse, and award-winning programming. His achievements during his tenure are vast, but perhaps most importantly, being bold and ambitious and unwavering in his purist view to realise Storyhouse to even begin with, and 17 years later, it now being one of the most successful, inspiring and important arts organisations in the country.’
Storyhouse will begin the search for his successor imminently.
– ENDS –
For more information, contact:
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: www.storyhouse.com To subscribe, visit https://www.storyhouse.com/subscribe Twitter: @storyhouselive Facebook: www.facebook.com/storyhouselive Address: Hunter Street, Chester, CH1 2AR To become a member: https://www.storyhouse.com/storyhousecard