Nottingham Playhouse confirmed the performer died backstage at the theater on Oct. 20 after performing in the play Nine Night. While the cause of her death is currently unclear, per the playhouse, she received immediate assistance from first aiders at the theater followed by paramedics, but died at the scene. Melville was reportedly 61 years old.
“The entire company, and staff at both theatres are in a state of shock. Josephine was a truly wonderful and well-loved person, a revered and deeply respected performer, director, producer, archivist and writer, and a tremendous Auntie Maggie in Nine Night,” a statement on the playhouse’s website read. “We are offering our full support to her family, our onstage and production crew and all staff at this awful time.”
Remaining performances of the play at the theater have been canceled.
During her near-40-year career, Melville appeared in an array of television series, including the British soap opera EastEnders.
Following news of her death, fans took to social media to share their condolences. “RIP Josephine,” an Instagram comment read. “Thank you for all the great work you have done.”