Annie Castledine

There is only one subject for this, my first Outside the Box, blog. The recent death of Annie Castledine. She was the dramaturg on this show and has been my theatre mentor since I was 19. I have never worked with anyone else who matches her brilliance and rigour. Being in the rehearsal room with her was like being in a laboratory, a fierce crucible – a Holy space in the sense that Peter Brook uses the term in Empty Space. There was no sense of time. Annie was tireless even when lesser mortals were flagging. She hardly even left the room. We felt as if we were at the very heart of what mattered not just theatrically but in life. The search for theatrical truth was a collaborative one with her vision driving the process on. She was brave and uncompromising in her choice of work and how she developed it. She could also be terrifying. She was passionate about the young and was never sentimental about them or anything in fact. Her working life began as a teacher and she was always a teacher. I feel very fortunate to have encountered her when I did. She was a loyal and exacting supporter all of my life and I will miss her hugely. Her voice will always be inside me when I am making work insisting on the best and the bravest choices, asking why, insisting on simplicity, on a classical coherence. If you want to know more about her extraordinary career read the wonderful obituary by Michael Coveney that appeared in the Guardian this week. http://www.theguardian.com/stage/2016/jun/07/annie-castledine-obituary

I know I am one of many who feel the theatre lost a giant this week.