Melanie Lewis steps down as Chief Executive of Shakespeare North Playhouse

Melanie Lewis steps down as Chief Executive of Shakespeare North Playhouse

Melanie Lewis has confirmed that she is leaving Shakespeare North Playhouse at the end of June to take up a leadership role at Historic England.


Melanie, who is Shakespeare North Playhouse’s first Chief Executive, has led the organisation since 2021.


During her tenure, she has overseen the opening of the award-winning £38m venue and the growth of the charitable organisation that operates it, developing the business model to secure its sustainability.


Despite the challenges currently facing the cultural sector, Shakespeare North has triumphed, delivering on its vision and mission to bring world-class theatre, engagement and social value to the people it serves.


Shakespeare North has achieved 26 awards since its opening, including Theatre Building of the Year 2023 and New Tourism Business of the Year at the Liverpool Tourism Awards. Melanie has also received personal recognition when she was named among The Stage’s 100 Most Influential People.


Melanie commented: “Shakespeare North Playhouse is nothing short of magical, and I am immensely proud of the part I have played in its success.

My tenure here has been remarkable. I have had the privilege of collaborating with wonderful individuals whose trust and dedication have driven so many incredible achievements in such a short space of time that they are too many to count. When the time comes, it won’t be easy to leave. However, I’ve been given an extraordinary and exciting opportunity with Historic England and I’m looking forward to the challenge. I also believe that it’s the right moment for me to step away from my role at Shakespeare North Playhouse as it embarks on its next phase of growth.

This organisation and its people are bold, brave, and unwavering in their commitment. I am confident that the next Chief Executive will be as inspired by the team as I’ve been and will continue to push boundaries and deliver the organisation's vision and mission.”


Max Steinberg CBE DL, Chair of Shakespeare North Playhouse, said “Melanie's vision, leadership, and guidance have set the organisation on a strong path to success in its formative years, solidifying its place in the local community and the national sector as a key cultural asset to be cherished and supported. Melanie has been an incredible leader, and her drive, commitment and input has enabled Shakespeare North Playhouse to establish a first-class reputation within the cultural sector and beyond and we will miss her. We wish her well for her future, both personally and professionally.”

Mike Harden, Chief Executive of Knowsley Council commented:

Melanie’s leadership has firmly helped to place Shakespeare North Playhouse on the national cultural map and brought inspiring live events and performance to many thousands of people – many of whom may never have even set foot in a theatre before.  The Council is extremely proud of what has been achieved by Melanie and her team.

We wish Melanie every success in her new role and offer our sincere thanks to her for her contribution - not only to the success of the Playhouse itself - but to Knowsley as a place.”