British actress Josephine Melville, a former EastEnders star, died suddenly backstage after performing in a play on Thursday. The Nottingham Playhouse confirmed the tragic passing, noting it happened after a production of Nine Night.
Melville played Tessa Parker on the iconic soap opera EastEnders, a college friend of Kelvin Carpenter, Paul J. Medford, and Harry Reynolds, Gareth Potter. She later would return to the show in 2005 as the character Ellie Wright.
We are deeply saddened that last night (20 Oct) the actor Josephine Melville, passed away following the performance of Nine Night, our co-production with Leeds Playhouse.— Nottingham Playhouse (@NottmPlayhouse) October 21, 2022
Our thoughts and deep condolences are with her family and loved ones. https://t.co/O9qnBGXqkR pic.twitter.com/h1pCfchXPh
Away from EastEnders, Melville also appeared on The Bill, Casualty, and Prime Suspect. In 2021, she released a short film titled Assistance and most recently appeared in the music video for Ella Henderson's "Brave." She also will appear in the sci-fi film Slammer upon its release.
According to Nottingham Playhouse, Melville was treated by paramedics and a "medically qualified" member of the audience, but she died at the scene. No cause of death has been released yet.
"We are deeply saddened to announce that last night the actor Josephine Melville passed away backstage at Nottingham Playhouse following the performance of the play Nine Night, in which she was performing," the playhouse said in a statement. "Josephine's family have been informed, and our thoughts and deep condolences are with them."
Stephanie Sirr, the chief executive at the Nottingham Playhouse, also released some comments on the shocking death. "We send our love and condolences to Jo's family and friends," she wrote. "On a deeply tragic and extremely difficult evening, we want to pay tribute to the company of Nine Night and to the whole Nottingham Playhouse team who managed the situation with empathy and professionalism."
All remaining performances of Nine Night have been canceled after Melville's tragic death. Rest in peace.