The Association for Cultural Enterprises is delighted to announce its new Chair of the Board of Trustees – Melanie Lewis, CEO, Shakespeare North Playhouse.

Melanie will take over as Chair in March, following the Cultural Enterprises Conference, when current Chair Caroline Brown, Director of Commercial Services, The British Library will step down after 8 years in the role.

Melanie joined Shakespeare North Playhouse in September 2021. As Chief Executive she leads this new ground-breaking cultural attraction along with her incredible team.

Melanie Lewis

Throughout her career Melanie has worked in iconic venues and on a wide array of projects and initiatives. Her passion lies with shaping and enriching the whole visitor experience and bringing lifelong learning to the people they serve, be that in the local community, the city, from across the UK and around the world.

Melanie worked at National Museums Liverpool for nine years, including seven years as an Executive Director, responsible for all commercial outputs, visitor experience, strategy and planning. Prior to this she held senior roles with Everton Football Club and Blackburn Rovers Football Club with a keen focus on creating excellent visitor experiences. Melanie is a member of the newly formed Liverpool City Region Business and Enterprise Board which provides a voice for business in the area.

Outgoing Chair Caroline Brown said, “Being Chair of the Board of Trustees for the past eight years has been a wonderful experience and one from which I have learned so much. Working with such a committed and dynamic team, great trustees and a membership full of inspiring and positive people has been a privilege and a joy. It is a wonderful organisation and I’d like to welcome Melanie as our new Chair – I hope she enjoys it as much as I have, and I know that she will bring immense skill and passion to the role and that I am leaving the organisation in great hands.”

Gordon Morrison, Cultural Enterprises CEO commented, “With cultural organisations facing unprecedented budgetary challenges due to ongoing funding squeezes, the rapidly increasing cost of doing business and the continued issues with recruitment and over-stretched resources, the role of Cultural Enterprises in supporting the sector to generate more of its own income has never been more important.

“I am therefore delighted that the Association has secured Melanie as our new Chair. As well as bringing a wealth of experience to the role, Melanie has an acute understanding of the challenges facing the sector, and we have a shared vision of how Cultural Enterprises will utilise its expertise, knowledge, insights and influence to support the sector to not just survive, but to thrive in the face of these challenging conditions.”

Melanie said, “The Association for Cultural Enterprises is an important organisation within our sector and plays a vital role delivering best practice, innovation and collaboration opportunities for our members. The role of the Association is more important now than ever and so I’m excited to support Gordon and the team to achieve its ambitious plans.

“I’m thrilled to be the next Chair – it is an organisation that has supported me throughout my career and so I’m keen to give back. In Caroline, the Association has had the most brilliant Chair for the past eight years, giving so much to us all, inspiring thought leadership and enabling great connections. Thank you, Caroline.”

Joanne Whitworth
By Joanne Whitworth
Jo is Communications & Media Manager at the Association for Cultural Enterprises.
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