Josephine Melville was a well-known British director and actor. She collapsed backstage and died after she had appeared in “Nine Night” in Nottingham. She was 61.
Melville, who was playing Aunt Maggie at the Nottingham Playhouse, died on Thursday night. Melville was immediately assisted by first aid staff, and an audience member before paramedics arrived. She died on the spot. There was no immediate cause of death.
This play is a collaboration between Nottingham Playhouse (NNorth and Leeds Playhouse (Leeds Playhouse).
The entire company and all staff of both theatres are shocked. Josephine was a wonderful, well-loved, respected performer, director-producer archivist, writer, and Auntie Maggie in “Nine Night.”
After Melville’s death, all performances of the play were canceled.
Melville was Tessa Parker in the 1986 British soap EastEnders. She played the role of a college friend to Harry Reynolds and Kelvin Carpenter. Eight episodes featured her. In 2005, she was back on the BBC soap as Ellie Wright.
Her acting credits include roles in “The Bill”, “Prime Suspect” or “Casualty.” Melville was last year part of “Know Your Roots,” which held workshops and recorded interviews in Essex to celebrate and preserve the history and hairstyles of Black women. Last year, she produced and directed “Assistance,” a short thriller.
“We send our condolences and love to Jo’s loved ones. “On a deeply sad and very difficult evening, we want to pay tribute to e company of “Nine Night” and the entire Nottingham Playhouse team that handled the situation with empathy & professionalism,” stated Stephanie Sirr chief executive of Nottingham Playhouse.
Adjoa Andoh, the actor in “Bridgerton”, paid tribute to Melville on Twitter.
“Ach,… I’m so stunned. A wonderful actress. Amazing comic timing. As part of a group of artists who understand the power of black stories. All condolences and blessings to the family. Rest in your power Jo, full of light.