In July 2005, Dr. Castagno came to UNCW from Ohio University where he served as Director of the School of Theater and Head of the M.A. Programs.
His latest work, published by Routledge in December 2011 is New Playwriting Strategies: Language and Media in the 21st Century. It represents a complete revision and updating of his canonical, New Playwriting Strategies: A Language Based Approach to Playwriting (Routledge 2001) which Choice has reviewed as "highly recommended-beyond its genre," and has now been widely adopted as the "new poetics " in playwriting. The new edition marks the "tipping point" of new playwriting techniques into the mainstream; Already receiving strong professional endorsements, it explores the work of significant women playwrights who have emerged over the past 10 years. Castagno demonstrates how new media such as You Tube and Wikipedia are changing how plays are made and disseminated.
His earlier book on the commedia dell' arte (The Early Commedia dell'Arte 1550-1621: The Mannerist Context) is a model for interdisciplinary studies, and was described by JDTC as a "canonical work."In 2008, he followed up his interests in commedia in directing the successful production of Scapino! to inaugurate the opening of our SRO Theatre. Last summer he presented on the commedia in Castiadas, Sardinia, Italy, and researched commedia at archives in the Vatican and Siena, while establishing a relationship with the Venetian company, Teatro Immagine. In affiliation with International Programs, Castagno has initiated a Summer Theatre Intensive in Italy and invites students to study abroad this summer (2012). Please check out the international programs website for more information, or contact Paul, directly.
Castagno will direct Len Jenkin’s Margo Veil on mainstage this April. In 2009, he helmed our mainstage production of Sarah Ruhl's Dead Man's Cell Phone, and continued last spring with Troy Women, which successfully utilized Suzuki acting techniques in the first departmental production of a Greek tragedy.
Dr. Castagno has published numerous articles in journals such as: Theatre Topics, New Theatre Quarterly, Theatre History Studies, Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism, and others, including seminal anthologies such as, Dramaturgy in American Theatre: A Sourcebook. In 2007, he published the first online introduction to theatre text:Theatre Beyond: A Cyber Journey through the World of Theatre with Kendall Hunt and Great River Technologies; the work includes a text and entire website with videos, interviews, powerpoints and course management system. He has been active as a playwright/adaptor and had his new play What Will I do Arlecchino read in Chicago at the MATC.
Professor Castagno was the founding chair of the Department of Theatre and served in that capacity from 2005-2009. His notable achievements include the execution of the theatre portion of the Cultural Arts Building, including fitting all theatres and shops with the highest grade of equipment. Castagno was active in diversity and fundraising, and the number of minority students and scholarships or award increased multifold during his tenure. Fundraising included the Doug Swink Award, The Pat Hingle Guest Artist Award, and developing a minority-based endowment with Nikkita Johnson. As an administrator, Castagno has presided over and written successful regional and NAST accreditations, served as an onsite reviewer in the US and Canada, and published two articles in The Department Chair. He has served as producer for numerous productions at Ohio University and here, at UNCW.
During his tenure at the University of Alabama, from 1989-2001, where he was director of the M.F.A. Playwriting/Dramaturgy Program, Castagno was founding editor ofthe annual, Theatre Symposium, which is now in it sixteenth edition. UNCW will host this year’s conference. He has been active for years in SETC and ATHE. In his spare time, Paul has been playing bass with the music group, The Fustics, voted by STAR NEWS as Wilmington's best original band. In the seventies, Paul studied music and harmony with the noted theorist, Ray Cassarino, at the Hartford Conservatory.
Castagno received his Ph.D. from Ohio State University with prior graduate work at Stanford University, and completed his B.F.A. from the University of Connecticut, studying with designer Jerry Rojo during his seminal period working with Richard Schechner and the Performance Group. He is the proud father of three strapping lads.