Annabel Turpin, Chief Executive and Artistic Director of ARC, to leave for a new role

Photograph of Annabel Turpin, a woman in her early 50s, with a blond bob cut. She is wearing black glasses, red lipstick, and a dark purple top, and is standing in front of a pink background.

After fifteen years of visionary leadership, Annabel Turpin will step down from her role here at ARC later this year to take up a new post as Chief Executive of Storyhouse in Chester.

During her time at ARC, Annabel has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to our local communities, making significant contributions not only to ARC as an organisation, but also to Stockton and to the wider Tees Valley.

Under Annabel’s inclusive leadership, we have been able to establish ARC as one of the most welcoming venues in North East England. This has been thanks to the introduction of multiple projects and initiatives that have put audiences and communities at the heart of our work, making sure everyone is welcome and that any barriers to access are removed.

In addition to the exceptional work with our local audiences, artists and communities, Annabel has significantly raised our profile on a national level, developing multiple sector-leading initiatives and partnerships including Venues North, Future Arts Centres, and North East Exchange to name a few. Annabel’s commitment to supporting the wider cultural sector is evidenced by her generosity in generating policies and resources that are regularly drawn upon – most notably ARC’s Pay What You Decide toolkit – an approach that has become synonymous with ARC, and influenced venues and festivals from Hartlepool to Philadelphia.

Reflecting positively on her time at ARC, Annabel said: “Since I arrived in Stockton, back in 2008, I have enjoyed incredible warmth and support, and been privileged to work with so many inspiring people on hundreds of memorable projects. I’ve had an amazing time working with fantastic staff, partners, artists and above all local people. With such a great team in place, and so much local support, it’s the perfect time for someone new to come in and lead ARC into an exciting new phase.”

Kate Craddock, Chair of the Board of Trustees said: “On behalf of the Board, I want to say a huge thank you to Annabel for leading ARC so brilliantly over the last 15 years. Annabel’s dedication to the successful running of ARC and to creating opportunities for individuals and communities has been extraordinary to witness, both inside ARC and beyond the walls of the organisation. I know how much time and dedication Annabel puts into supporting and nurturing ARC’s staff team, and into supporting hundreds of artists, and just how much she values each and every audience member or participant who enters the building. Annabel will be greatly missed by all who have been lucky enough to encounter her. We wish Annabel lots of luck in her new role, and we look forward to launching our recruitment process to find ARC’s new leader in the coming weeks.”