A number of tributes have been paid to a beloved actress who died backstage after a performance in Nottingham. Josephine Melville sadly passed away at the Nottingham Playhouse on Thursday, October 20, following her performance as Maggie in the play Nine Night.
The actress is best known for playing Tessa Parker in EastEnders during the 1980s. Josephine received immediate assistance from both Nottingham Playhouse first aiders and a medically qualified member of the Nine Night audience before being treated by paramedics, but sadly she passed away at the scene.
Since her death, a number of people have taken to social media to pay tribute to the actress, including from Southend-on-Sea where Josephine was based. Matt Dent, Councillor for Kursaal ward, Southend-on-Sea City Council, wrote: "I'm shocked and heartbroken to hear that Josephine Melville passed away yesterday, backstage after a theatre performance in Nottingham.
"Anyone who knew Jo knew her as an force of nature and a wellspring of endless passion and optimism. Her efforts organising the East Beach Festival this summer were rewarded with a fantastically successful event, and I was very fortunate to have crossed paths with her in many different community settings.
"Amazing energy for the East Beach festival and an inspiration for the creative arts here in Southend. Thoughts are with her family and friends."
In a tweet, Lorraine King said: "This is incredibly sad. My friend watched Nine Night yesterday at the Nottingham Playhouse and said Josephine Melvile was brilliant so to hear she died backstage is shocking. Life truly is so short. May she RIP."
A member of the ensemble for Nine Night posted a tribute on Facebook, saying: "Love and condolences to the family and friends of actress, director and writer Josephine Melville. As a member of the ensemble for 'Nine Night' I only met her over a couple of days but she was a lovely, friendly and lively person who made us feel welcomed into the company.
"I watched her final performance and she gave such a strong, powerful performance."