Tributes have been paid to Theatre Royal Drury Lane’s former stage door keeper Jill Hudson, who worked at the venue for more than 30 years and has been described as a “second mother to many”.
Hudson died of cancer on January 6. She had made light of her diagnosis on Twitter, calling her tumour Tommy and revealing details of her treatment.
She joined the Theatre Royal Drury Lane in 1986, and LW Theatres’ general manager of theatre operations, Rupert Bielby, described her as “a permanent fixture at the stage door”.
“She made many friends, not only amongst her colleagues at the theatre but especially with people in or associated with the many productions that played at the Lane during her tenure. She was always available for a chat and happy to put the kettle on, make a brew and offer a shortbread biscuit to anyone who came to visit, of which there were many,” he said.
He added: “She really did touch the lives so many people who passed through that famous old stage door and was like a second mother to many. Her love of Chelsea football club was always to the fore, evidenced by the collection of Chelsea teddy bears wearing their home strip adorning the shelves behind where she sat.”
Hudson’s first show at the theatre was 42nd Street, with the revival of the musical also being her last, when she retired in 2017.
“She was determined to work through until the end of the run before retiring but unfortunately, ill health forced her to hang up the last set of dressing room keys in the cupboard nine months into the run at Christmas in 2017,” Bielby said.
Others have also paid tribute to Hudson, with actor Jack Malin saying she had the “biggest heart”.
My lovely friend, Theatre mother Jill Hudson passed away this morning after losing her battle with Tommy the Tumour!
She had the biggest heart and the best personality❤️
Will miss you lots!
R.I.P To this legendary lady
Love this photo of Jodie, Jill & myself ❤️ pic.twitter.com/eBL57n3Wwr
— Jack Malin (@RealJackMalin) January 6, 2020
The Stage Management Association said Hudson was a “good friend to many” and described her as “warm-hearted and welcoming”.
We’re deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Jill Hudson, a Stage Door Keeper for many years at Theatre Royal Drury Lane. Jill was a good friend to many who passed through that door over the years, warm-hearted & welcoming. Our thoughts are with her family & all close to her.
— Stage Mgt Association (@SMAssoc) January 6, 2020
Meanwhile, Sevan Stephan described her as “welcoming and adorable”.
Yes, Jill Hudson was a wonderful presence at Drury Lane, a warm, welcoming and adorable person. I performed in two shows there, “My Fair Lady” and “Lord of the Rings”, and my time was all the happier there for her presence. RIP dear Jill.
— Sevan Stephan (@SevanStephan) January 7, 2020