26 February 1939
Sheffield, Yorkshire, England, UK
|Died||4 June 2016 (aged 77)|
Eastbourne, Sussex, England, UK
|Alma mater||University of York, Goldsmiths|
Described in The Guardian as "one of the arts world's best-known secrets" who "shaped some of the most influential players in British theatre" and had a "genius for doing work that is unfashionable". Peter Brook described her as an "outstanding director of European classical and contemporary plays".
She was regarded as an expert on the dramas of Bertolt Brecht, William Shakespeare, Anton Chekov and Henrik Ibsen, as well as being noted for her championing of new talent in British theatre and the arts, including work with new playwrights and the training of new directors. In supporting the development of British theatre, she was often likened to Joan Littlewood – the "mother of modern (English) theatre".
She was the eldest child of three born to Ida Castledine (née Armstrong) and Walter Cecil Castledine, who worked as an electrical engineer employed by the National Coal Board at coal mines including Kiveton Park Colliery. Her mother worked to run the household and bring up three children, while also donating time to the NSPCC. Ida and Cecil were keen on plays and theatre and placed an emphasis on education as a means of betterment. Castledine claimed to have been well-versed with Greek and Roman mythology and literature at the age of 5. A bright student, she considered her early career prospects to be firmly established by her gender and class – in press interviews she recalled making the choice to work as a teacher, having been presented with a choice between becoming a teacher or becoming a nurse.
Castledine attributed some of her early interest in theatre directing to the influence of Honor Mathews, who had been the head of drama at Goldsmiths College, London, during her own training. After working in London state schools as a teacher, and as senior lecturer in drama at Bulmershe College, Castledine attended the University of York as a mature student and found herself becoming preoccupied with directing plays. This early work was spotted by Michael Winter, the then director of York's Theatre Royal, who offered her the chance to be his Arts Council trainee in 1979.
Theatres and theatrical companies
Much of Castledine's theatrical work was carried out on a freelance basis and involved productions for a great number of British theatres and companies, including the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Royal National Theatre.
Her career also included periods as the artistic director for Derby Playhouse (1987–90). Prior to which she was Associate Artistic Director at Theatr Clwyd (1985–87). She also worked regularly at Chichester Festival Theatre.
While based in York, early in her directing career, Castledine ran her own small production company – Northern Studio Theatre. Later in her career, she frequently collaborated with Complicite.
Repeat collaborators included Stephen Daldry, Neil Bartlett, Simon McBurney, Annabel Arden, Josette Bushell-Mingo, Iona McLeish, Kathryn Hunter, Marcello Magni, Maureen Lawrence, Gillian Wright, Bryony Lavery, Beatrix Campbell, Corin Redgrave, Kika Markham, Jane Birkin, Mark Wheatley Polly Irvin, Roger Allam, Colin Ellwood  and Catherine Bailey.
Selected productions include:
- In 1990, Annie Castledine directed a production of The Caretaker by Harold Pinter at the Sherman Theatre in Cardiff. It was noted as the first-ever production to have the title part played by a woman, Miriam Karlin.
- In 1991, she co-directed with Stephen Daldry "a revelatory, award-winning pair of 1920s plays", Pioneers in Ingolstadt and Purgatory in Ingoldstadt, by Marieluise Fleißer, at the Gate Theatre (London). These productions won the Time Out London Award for Best Director (1991).
- In 1992–93, she directed Marching for Fausa by Biyi Bandele, the first African play to be staged at the Royal Court in London since 1966.
- In 1993, she directed From The Mississippi Delta by Endesha Ida Mae Holland at the Cochrane Theatre. Winner of the Bass Charrington London Fringe Award for Best Ensemble and Best Director.
- At the Royal National Theatre in 1995, she directed an "impressive" and "unforgettable" production of the Women of Troy. 
- In 2002, she directed Meredith Oakes' play Man for Hire in a season of new plays commissioned by Laura Harvey and Alan Ayckbourn at the Stephen Joseph Theatre.
- In 2010, at the Arcola Theatre in 2010, she co-directed with Annabel Arden Thomas Bernhard's last play Heldenplatz. It was reviewed in the British press: "The superb Arcola staging made the case for Bernhard, a major European dramatist, for the first time, in effect, in this country."
- Annie Castledine played a role in the creation of The Encounter, based on the book Amazon Beaming by Petru Popescu. The one-person show was first devised, directed and performed by Simon McBurney in 2015. Castledine had suggested the piece for adaptation to McBurney, with the gift of an inscribed book, 20 years before. It has been performed across the UK and Europe.
By Annie Castledine and Pier Productions:
- Book at Bedtime: Three stories written by Stefan Zweig. Originally broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in January 2005.
- Sister Under the Skin written by Corin Redgrave, starring Corin Redgrave and Kika Markham. Originally broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in March 2005 
Directed by Castledine and produced by Catherine Bailey Productions:
- Gaslight written by Patrick Hamilton, starring Juliet Stevenson, Roger Allam and Corin Redgrave. Originally broadcast on BBC Radio 4.
- Lady Audley's Secret written by Mary Bradden, adapted by Bryony Lavery, starring Francesca Annis. Originally broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in 2000.
- Oh Sorry, Were You Asleep? written by Jane Birkin, starring Jane Birkin and Corin Redgrave. Originally broadcast on BBC Radio 4.
- Hymn to Love – Homage to Piaf. Originally broadcast on BBC Radio 3.
- One Small Step written by Mark Wheatley. Originally broadcast on BBC Radio 4.
- One Small Good Thing adapted by Mark Wheatley from a short story by Raymond Carver. Originally broadcast on BBC Radio 4.
- The Lovers of Viorne written by Marguerite Duras, adapted by Bryony Lavery. Originally broadcast on BBC Radio 3 in October 2004.
- Boniface and Me written by Gillian Plowman. Originally broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in December 2007.
- Gracey and Me written by Gillian Plowman. Originally broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in October 2010.
- Gilead adapted by Mike Kenny from the novel by Marilynne Robinson. Originally broadcast on BBC Radio 3 in November 2010.
Produced by Annie Castledine:
- Henry IV written by William Shakespeare, adapted and directed by John Caird, starring Ronald Pickup. Originally broadcast on BBC 2 on 28 October 1995.
Directed by Annie Castledine:
- The Colour of Light written by Sheila Yeger, starring Kim Hicks, Barbara Marten and Rob Pickavance. Originally broadcast on BBC 2 on 24 July 1997.
- Bulmershe College
- Guildhall School of Music and Drama, including productions of When Nora Left Her Husband by Elfriede Jelinek.
- Rose Bruford College: Placement Tutor from 2004 to 2010; teacher of the 'New Writing Production Module', 'The BAC Final Production Module', 'The Brecht Course', 'The Chekhov Course', and 'Lectures on Classic Texts'. Honorary Fellow.
- University of Manchester/Rose Bruford College: creation (2009–10) of a distance learning course with Polly Irvin, 'Four Contemporary Directors and the Stories They Tell'.
- University of Cambridge, Cambridge Greek plays.
Castledine was also a long-standing Patron of the British Regional Theatre Young Director Scheme, serving alongside fellow Patrons Phyllida Lloyd, Trevor Nunn, Adrian Noble, Michael Boyd, Michael Grade and Michael Billington.
- Plays by Women, Volume 9, first published by Methuen Drama for Bloomsbury Publishing in 1992, edited and introduced by Annie Castledine.
- Plays by Women, Volume 10, first published by Methuen Drama for Bloomsbury Publishing in 1994, edited and introduced by Annie Castledine.
- Interviewed in On Directing: Interviews with Directors, edited by Gabriella Giannachi and Mary Buckhurst, published by Faber & Faber 1999.
She died in June 2016, aged 77, in hospital in Eastbourne.
Quotations by Annie Castledine
- "Our priority then and now is to extend our hands across cultural barriers to grasp our common humanity. If we ignore that, we are condemning the whole human race."
- "Too many theatres are driven by caution and a desire to do work that is proven."
- "I hadn't realised regional rep was about money. I thought it was about encouraging the young and being radical."
- "When you spend so many weeks in the presence of a great playwright with a challenging voice and a political consciousness, then your quality of life goes into the stratosphere."
- "If women playwrights are not given enough practice through production and have to snatch what experience they can... it is because their work is not the first choice of those in power in our theatre."
- "The curse of our theatre is the linear, suburban imagination which has to be literal about time and place."
- "In doing it for us, the characters allow us to also experience the scream. Hugely cathartic, hugely important. Classless, timeless, placeless."
- "Theatre is an abused art form here. And it is undervalued because it is underfunded."
- "When you have nothing else you have words, so use those words."
Quotations about Annie Castledine
- Stephen Daldry CBE, director & producer: "A giant, a mother and a force for all that's best in the theatre."
- Sarah Brigham, artistic director and chief executive of Derby Playhouse: "Annie was fearless in her programming of Derby Playhouse, encouraging innovation, work of the highest quality and encouraging audiences to take as many risks as we ask artists to."
- Mike Kenny, playwright: "I don't think they make them like Annie any more... She had a belief in the creativity of ordinary people and never compromised on a parallel belief in excellence. She promoted women's work and diversity when it wasn't fashionable. She threw together volatile groups of creative people and often produced magic and sometimes, it has to be said, chaos. If you were an actor in her rehearsal room, every day was like having a full house – the quality of the attention she paid you was as enormous as she was as a personality. I did smile when I heard that she died on the same day as Muhammad Ali. If those two met at the Pearly Gates, I wouldn't fancy his chances."
- Lyn Gardner, critic and journalist: "[O]ne of the most energising and dynamic talents in the business. She was always a late starter... Castledine's work... combines an English working-class and feminist toughness tempered by a lyric, European sensibility."
- Peter Brook CH CBE, director: "[Castledine] has defined herself as an outstanding director of European classical and contemporary plays, bringing a compelling visionary power to the stage."
- Coveney, Michael (7 June 2016). "Annie Castledine obituary". theguardian.com. Retrieved 8 June 2016.
- Gardner, Lyn (4 April 2001). "The power behind the scenes". The Guardian. London, UK.
- Foreword to On Directing: Interviews with Directors, Faber & Faber, 1999.
- Gardner, Lyn (4 April 2001). "Annie Castledine: British theatre's unsung hero". theguardian.com. Retrieved 8 June 2016.
- "News: Death of Annie Castledine at the age of 77". britishtheatreguide.info. Retrieved 8 June 2016.
- "Trojan woman". independent.co.uk. 15 March 1995. Retrieved 8 June 2016.
- On Directing, Faber & Faber, 1999, p7.
- "`Your actress was great. But it's the boys that I'll remember'". The Independent. 15 July 1997. Retrieved 8 June 2016.
- On Directing: Interviews with Directors, p. 7, Faber & Faber
- "Greek tragedy: setting the stage today". cam.ac.uk. 1 February 2008. Retrieved 8 June 2016.
- "Complicite - Annie Castledine". complicite.org. Retrieved 8 June 2016.
- "India Song - Iona McLeish - Theatre Design". cargocollective.com. Retrieved 8 June 2016.
- Billington, Michael (7 January 2000). "An uneasy affirmation". theguardian.com. Retrieved 8 June 2016.
- "Gillian Wright - Burnett Crowther Ltd". bcltd.org. Archived from the original on 1 July 2016. Retrieved 8 June 2016.
- Gardner, Lyn (30 January 2003). "And All the Children Cried, New End, London". theguardian.com. Retrieved 8 June 2016.
- Corin Redgrave, roguesandvagabonds.wordpress.com; accessed 13 June 2016.
- Billington, Michael (22 January 2001). "Reviews: theatre: A Wedding Story". theguardian.com. Retrieved 8 June 2016.
- "The way I see it: Jane Birkin". newstatesman.com. Retrieved 8 June 2016.
- "Complicite - Foe". complicite.org. Retrieved 8 June 2016.
- "Sign Up - LinkedIn". linkedin.com. Retrieved 8 June 2016.
- "Gilead, Drama on 3 - BBC Radio 3". bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 8 June 2016.
- "Bread In The Bone theatre - about us". bredinthebone.co.uk. Retrieved 8 June 2016.
- Deacon, Alison Deacon, Nigel. "Catherine Bailey, DIVERSITY website - radio drama, plays". suttonelms.org.uk. Retrieved 8 June 2016.
- On Directing: Interviews with Directors, Faber & Faber, p7. 1999.
- Archives, The National. "The Discovery Service". nationalarchives.gov.uk. Retrieved 8 June 2016.
- Wandor, Michelene; Castledine, Annie (1 January 1994). "Plays by Women". Methuen. Retrieved 8 June 2016 – via Google Books.
- Giannachi, Gabriella; Luckhurst, Mary (11 September 1999). "On Directing: Interviews with Directors". Palgrave Macmillan. Retrieved 8 June 2016 – via Google Books.
- "Simon McBurney: 'Theatre only exists in the eyes and minds of the audience' - Interviews - The Stage". thestage.co.uk. 19 February 2016. Retrieved 8 June 2016.
- "Book at Bedtime: Passionate Encounters -a Selection of Stories by Stefan Zweig - BBC Radio 4 FM - 26 January 2005 - BBC Genome". bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 8 June 2016.
- "Afternoon Play: My Sister under the Skin - BBC Radio 4 FM - 9 March 2005 - BBC Genome". bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 8 June 2016.
- "Saturday Playhouse: Gaslight - BBC Radio 4 FM - 11 October 1997 - BBC Genome". bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 8 June 2016.
- "Braddon Lady Audleys Secret BBC Radio 4". sensationpress.com. Retrieved 8 June 2016.
- Romney, Jonathan (8 September 1999). "'It could have been ghastly. People might have said I was worthless without him'". theguardian.com. Retrieved 8 June 2016.
- "This insecure creature, c'est moi". telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 8 June 2016.
- Deacon, Alison Deacon, Nigel. "radio plays, drama,bbc,Hymn to Love: Steve Trafford, DIVERSITY website". suttonelms.org.uk. Retrieved 8 June 2016.
- "BBC Radio 4 FM". bbc.co.uk. 1 May 2001. Retrieved 8 June 2016.
- "Drama on 3 - The Lovers of Viorne". bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 8 June 2016.
- "Boniface and Me, Afternoon Drama - BBC Radio 4". bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 8 June 2016.
- "Gracey and Me, Afternoon Drama - BBC Radio 4". bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 8 June 2016.
- "BFI Screenonline: Henry IV (1995)". screenonline.org.uk. Retrieved 8 June 2016.
- "The Colour of Light (1997)". bfi.org.uk. Retrieved 8 June 2016.
- "Fellows & Honorary Fellows - Rose Bruford College". bruford.ac.uk. Retrieved 8 June 2016.
- Bloomsbury.com. "Plays By Women". bloomsbury.com. Retrieved 8 June 2016.
- Billington, Michael (3 September 2003). "The time is right for regional theatres to start taking risks". theguardian.com. Retrieved 8 June 2016.
- From the Introduction of Plays by Women: Nine ed. Annie Castledine, published by Methuen, 1991.