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Performer Josephine Melville has died backstage at Nottingham Playhouse, venue announces in statement

The venues and its co-producer announced the news this afternoon

Josephine Melville

Actress Josephine Melville has died backstage after a performance of Nine Night at Nottingham Playhouse.

The venue and co-producer Leeds Playhouse issued the following statement: "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. Josephine's family have been informed, and our thoughts and deep condolences are with them.

"Josephine received immediate assistance from Nottingham Playhouse first aiders and a medically qualified member of the Nine Night audience. The subsequent very swift arrival of paramedics meant she was quickly and expertly treated but sadly she passed away at the scene.

"Nine Night is a co-production between Leeds Playhouse and Nottingham Playhouse. The entire company, and staff at both theatres are in 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. We are offering our full support to her family, our onstage and production crew and all staff at this awful time.

"In light of these events, all performances of Nine Night at Nottingham Playhouse have been cancelled."

Nottingham Playhouse chief executive Stephanie Sirr said today: "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 company of Nine Night and to the whole Nottingham Playhouse team who managed the situation with empathy and professionalism."

Chief executive and artistic director of Leeds Playhouse, James Brining said: "We are profoundly saddened by Jo's passing and add our condolences to her family and loved ones. We were truly honoured to work with her on this wonderful co-production of Nine Night and are doing everything we can to support her family, the company and staff across both theatres."

Nine Night had originally opened in Leeds before transferring to the Nottingham venue.