• Tim Mascall designs INVINCIBLE at the St James Theatre
  • James Turner designs THE HACKNEY VOLPONE at Rose Lipman Building
  • James Perkins designs MOCK TUDOR at the Pleasance (Edinburgh)
  • Gregory Clarke designs sound for MY NIGHT WITH REG at the Donmar
  • See Sue Kelvin as Madam Morrible in WICKED West End
  • Catch Katherine Parkinson in THE HONOURABLE WOMAN at 9pm on BBC2
  • Read THE ICEBERG a beautiful memoir by Marion Coutts, out in hardback
  • Gregory Clarke designs sound for MEDEA at the National Theatre
  • Read Michael Simkins' THE RULES OF ACTING, out now in paperback
  • Read Harry Sidebottom's IRON AND RUST, out now in hardback
  • Catch Uriel Emil in THE HONOURABLE WOMAN at 9pm on BB2
  • Rhys Jarman designs HOLES at the Arcola Theatre
  • See DAYTONA in the West End's Haymarket Theatre from 28th June .......
  • Read Joanna Trollope's BALANCING ACT, out now in hardback
  • OUTINGS by Thomas Hescott & Matthew Baldwin at Edinburgh Festival
  • Catch PAXO at the Pleasance London prior to Edinburgh 14 & 15 August
  • Read Chris Bryant's PARLIAMENT: THE BIOGRAPHY, out now in hardback
  • Catch Genevieve O'Reilly in THE HONOURABLE WOMAN at 9pm on BBC2
  • Catch Tom Bateman in THE HONOURABLE WOMAN at 9pm on BB2
  • Douglas Dunn has won Queen Gold Medal for Poetry 2014
  • Read Justin Cartwright's LION HEART, out now in paperback
  • Ellan Parry designs THE NIGHTMARES OF CARLOS FUENTES at Arcola Theatre

News article

PAM GEMS 1925 - 2011

PAM GEMS 1925 - 2011

It is with great regret that we announce the death of Pam Gems who died peacefully in her sleep on the evening of Friday 13th May.

It is well documented that Pam only took up writing in her forties – but in the years that followed she carved out a reputation as a passionate, political and fiercely funny playwright with an oeuvre that tackled the great women of history, as well as a startling number of original plays and adaptations of work by Ibsen, Chekhov, Lorca and many others.

Originally from the New Forest, Pam studied Psychology at Manchester University and made her West End debut in 1976 with DUSA, FISH, STAS AND VI – a feminist play with a beating, palpable heart.  QUEEN CHRISTINA, a year later, marked her debut as a Royal Shakespeare Company playwright.

This was swiftly followed by arguably her most famous play, PIAF, celebrating (with a refreshing absence of nostalgia) the life of the great French chanteuse.  The play transferred to the West End then Broadway where its star, Jane Lapotaire, was awarded the 1981 Tony Award for Best Actress.  Her further work for the RSC includes adaptations of CAMILLE and THE BLUE ANGEL.

Her work at the National Theatre includes an acclaimed adaptation of THE SEAGULL (with Judi Dench as Arkadina) and STANLEY.  This evocative life of the Cookham artist Stanley Spencer was another West End hit, winning the 1996 Evening Standard Award for Best Play, and in the following year, the Olivier Award for Best New Play.  It also transferred to Broadway, where it was nominated for the 1997 Tony Award for Best Play.

She also went to Broadway in 1999 with MARLENE, which had been written for Sian Phillips, and was nominated for Tonys.

Pam’s adaptations were varied, bright and powerful – THE CHERRY ORCHARD revived by Jonathan Miller in 2007; THE LADY FROM THE SEA at the Almeida in 2003; and YERMA (with her friend and collaborator Denise Black) at the Royal Exchange in 2003 to name a few.

We will remember her wit, her passion and her generosity of spirit.  

She will be greatly missed.

Link to Lyn Gardner's obituary of Pam Gems


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