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Pam Gems (born 1 August, 1925) is an English playwright. She is the author of numerous original plays, as well as of adaptations of works by major European playwrights of the past. She is best known for the hit musical Piaf.

Career

Born in Bransgoremarker, Hampshire, Gems studied psychology at Manchester Universitymarker. She was well into her forties when she started to write professionally. She is perhaps best known for the 1978 musical play Piaf about Édith Piaf, starring Jane Lapotaire and, later, in 1992 Elaine Paige and Elena Roger in 2008.

Other plays include Stanley (1996), about the painter Stanley Spencer, starring Antony Sher. Much of Gems' work may be regarded as having feminist themes, and she is considered to be part of the English Feminist Theatre group, which includes Caryl Churchill.

She has been nominated for two Tony Awards: for Stanley (Best Play) in 1997, and for Marlene (Best Book of a Musical), starring Siân Phillips as Marlene Dietrich, in 1999.

Gems has adapted works by dramatists ranging from Henrik Ibsen, Federico García Lorca and Anton Chekhov to Marguerite Duras.

List of Works

Cinema

The Early Plays, (1972-1976)

(work, year, place first produced)
  • Betty's Wonderful Christmas (1972) Cockpit Theatre, London
  • My Warren And After Birthday (1973) Almost Free Theatre, London
  • Miz Venus and Wild Bill (1973) Almost Free Theatre, London
  • After Birthday (1973)
  • The Amiable Courtship Of Miz Venus And Wild Bill (1974) Almost Free Theatre, London
  • Go West Young Woman (1974) The Roundhousemarker, London
  • Up In Sweden (1975) Haymarket, Leicester
  • My Name Is Rosa Luxembourg (adaptation) (1975)
  • Up In Sweden (1975)
  • Rivers and Forests (adaptation) (1976)
  • Dead Fish aka Dusa, Fish, Stas And Vi (1976) Edinburgh Festival
  • Guinevere (1976) Edinburgh Festival
  • The Project (1976) Soho Poly, London
  • Dusa Fish Stas and Vi (1976) Edinburgh Festival


The Middle Plays, (1976-2000)

  • Uncle Vanya (1978) Hamstead
  • Franz Into April (1977) ICAmarker, London
  • Queen Christina (1977) Other Place, Stratford-on-Avon
  • Piaf (1978) Other Place, Stratford-on-Avon
  • Ladybird, Ladybird (1979) The King's Headmarker, Islington, London
  • Sandra (1979) London
  • Aunt Mary (1982) Warehouse Theatre, London
  • The Treat (1982) ICAmarker, London
  • The Cherry Orchard (adaptation)(1984)
  • Variety Night (1982) London
  • Camille (adaptaion) (1984)
  • Loving Women (1984)
  • The Danton Affair (1986)
  • Pasionaria (1985) Playhouse Theatre, Newcastle upon Tyne
  • Arther and Guinevere (1990) Edinburgh
  • The Seagull (adaptation) (1991)
  • The Blue Angel (1991) Other Place, Stratford-on-Avon
  • Deborah's Daughter (1994) Manchester
  • Ghosts (adaptation) (1994)
  • Marlene (1996) Oldham
  • Stanley (1996) London
  • At the Window (1997) To be produced
  • The Snow Palace (1998)
  • Ebba (1999) To be Produced
The Late Plays (2000-)

  • Girabaldi, Si! (2000)
  • Linderhof (2001) To be produced
  • Mrs Pat (2002) Theatre Royal, York
  • Yernma (adaptaion) (2003) Royal Exchange Theatre Manchester
  • Not Joan the Musical (2003) To be Produced
  • The Lady From The Sea (adaptation) (2003) Almedia Theatre London
  • Cheri (2003) To be produced
  • The Little Mermaid (adaptation) (2004) Grenwich Theatre, Riverside Theatre, London
  • Nelson (2004) Nuffield Theatre South Hampton
  • Broadway Lady (2007) To be produced, New York
  • Piaf (2008) Donmar Warehouse, London
  • Winterlove (2009) The Drill Hallmarker, London
  • Despatches (2009) The Drill Hallmarker, London


See also

For a comprehensive analysis of Ms. Gems' work see Dr. Dimple Godiwala's Queer Mythologies: The Original Stageplays of Pam Gems (Bristol: Intellect 2006).


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