The Royal Court’s international director, Elyse Dodgson, has died.
Dodgson, who worked at the Royal Court for more than 30 years and held the role of international director since 1996, died suddenly on October 23.
Her death was confirmed by the Royal Court. However, the cause of death is not yet known.
In a statement on Twitter the theatre said: “We are in shock, as we know those of you who are hearing this for the first time will be too.
— Royal Court (@royalcourt) October 24, 2018
“We regret that the only way we can communicate this is by social media, but it is testament to the extraordinary reach of Elyse, and her work over 30 years, that we have not been able to contact all the people we want to individually. Please forgive us.”
Since taking up the international director role, Dodgson has brought more than 30 full productions of new international plays to the Royal Court’s stage, and has led development projects in countries including China, Brazil, India, Nigeria, Syria and Russia.
She received an MBE in 2010 for services to international theatre and young writers overseas.
Dodgson also oversaw the Royal Court’s international residency for emerging playwrights, which she started in 1989.
Just this week the theatre announced a special European edition of the programme for 2019, in which 10 European playwrights will take part to mark the year that the UK is scheduled to leave the EU.
Those to pay tribute to Dodgson on social media included National Theatre director Rufus Norris, producer Sonia Friedman and director Phyllida Lloyd, who said: “The death of the indomitable Elyse Dodgson is the falling of a gigantic oak tree in world theatre. While others would close borders she threw them open and gave voice and possibility to thousands worldwide.”
The playwright David Greig tweeted: “Elyse Dodgson invited me to Palestine in 1999 and thereby changed the course of my working life. She loved connection, writers, theatre, makers, doers, 1960s girl groups and Palestine. She had a heart the size of Manhattan. To me, and so so many others, she meant the world.”
Among others paying tribute were playwrights Simon Stephens, David Eldridge and Roy Williams.
The heart has been taken out of The Royal Court Theatre this week, but never its soul. Everything Elyse Dodgson stood for and believed in still lives in on in that building, and it will continue to do so.
— Roy Williams (@royboywilliams) October 25, 2018
The Royal Court said it would soon announce plans to celebrate Dodgson’s life.