THE boss of Chester's Storyhouse has been announced as the new chair of a prestigious arts council.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport 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 four-year term from December 1 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.  

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. 

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.”