Phoebe Frances Brown death: The Glad Game star and writer dies aged 29

·2-min read
Phoebe Frances Brown (Curtis Brown)
Phoebe Frances Brown (Curtis Brown)

Phoebe Frances Brown, the actor and writer whose show The Glad Game chronicled her experience of being diagnosed with an incurable brain tumour, has died aged 29.

Brown died from a brain tumour on 13 April at home in Nottingham, surrounded by family and her partner Jake.

The young star’s agent, Joe Powell of Curtis Brown, told The Independent: “Our industry has prematurely lost one of its brightest stars. Phoebe’s talent was matched only by her humour and determination. She was nothing but a joy to work with and was beloved by everyone she met. I’m heartbroken.”

Brown’s defiant, devastating one-woman show The Glad Game, which she wrote and starred in, was shown at Nottingham Playhouse in 2021 and came to Hampstead Theatre earlier this year.

The show won critical acclaim and was developed into a film. In The Independent’s review, theatre writer Isobel Lewis praised Brown’s inclusion of “shards of light in among the darkness”.

“‘I’m Phoebe f***ing Brown,’ is the actor’s rallying cry,” she wrote. “Watching this show, I know that Phoebe f***ing Brown is a name I won’t forget.”

The Telegraph called The Glad Game “a very moving play about hope” and The Stage hailed it as “intimate, boundary-pushing, brilliant”.

Phoebe Frances Brown in ‘The Glad Game' (Graeme Braidwood)
Phoebe Frances Brown in ‘The Glad Game' (Graeme Braidwood)

Born in Nottingham, Brown trained at The Television Workshop and received a first class degree from the University of Birmingham before having a successful career as a performer and writer for stage and screen.

Her acting credits include National Theatre productions Small Island and If We Were Older, The Way of the World at Donmar Warehouse, Life According to Saki at New York Theatre Workshop and Sorry at Soho Theatre, among others.

She played the role of Constance Pettigrew in the BBC Radio 4 series Home Front and recorded The Whisperer in Darkness for BBC Sounds.

On screen, she could be seen in last year’s BFI-selected short Animal Antics. And Hung Out to Dry is Brown’s short comedy film, which she wrote and starred in, and which was directed by Jake Kelsall.

Her feminist comedy troupe Major Labia are alumni of the prestigious Bafta-winning Television Workshop and are an associate company of the Nottingham Playhouse.

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