Josephine Melville, the actress best known for her work on EastEnders, died backstage in a theater after a performance.
Melville had appeared as Aunt Maggie in a production of Nine Night at Nottingham Playhouse.
The theater said the actor was treated by paramedics and a medically qualified member of the public, but died after performing on Thursday. No cause of death was provided.
In a statement posted on Twitter, it reads: “We are deeply saddened to announce that actor Josephine Melville died backstage at the Nottingham Playhouse last night following the performance of the play Nine Night, in which he was performing.
“Our thoughts and deepest condolences go out to his family and loved ones.”
Born in Essex, Melville’s acting credits included parts in EastEnders, The Bill and Casualty, as well as several theatrical roles.
In 1985, she played Kelvin Carpenter’s girlfriend Tessa Parker in EastEnders for eight episodes. Earlier this year, she Melville appeared in the music video for Ella Henderson’s single Brave.
The venue paid tribute to Melville, who was also a writer and director, describing her as a “wonderful and loved person” and a “revered and deeply respected performer”.
Bridgerton actor Adjoa Andoh wrote: “Ach… I’m so shocked. A wonderful actress. Incredible comic timing. Part of a community of artists who have understood the power of black stories. All blessings and condolences to the family. Full of light, rest in your power Jo.
Andrea Davy, Nine Night co-star and Coronation Street actor, said, “It is a pleasure and an honor to work with you Josephine. RIP. Our #NineNight family is lost without you. A love aunt Maggie! Trudi. “
All remaining performances of Nine Night, a co-production between Nottingham Playhouse and Leeds Playhouse, have been canceled.
Nottingham Playhouse CEO Stephanie Sirr said, “We send our love and condolences to Jo’s family and friends.
“On a deeply tragic and extremely difficult evening we want to pay tribute to the Nine Night company and to the whole Nottingham Playhouse team who handled the situation with empathy and professionalism”.
Leeds Playhouse Managing Director and Artistic Director James Brining said: “We are deeply saddened by Jo’s death and add our condolences to her family and loved ones.
“We were truly honored to be working with her on this wonderful Nine Night co-production and are doing everything we can to support her family, company and staff in both theaters.”