Pam Gems (1 August 1925 – 13 May 2011) was an English playwright. The author of numerous original plays, as well as of adaptations of works by major European playwrights of the past, Gems is best known for the 1978 musical play Piaf.
Iris Pamela Price was born in Bransgore, Hampshire, and had her first play – a tale of goblins and elves – staged when she was eight by her fellow pupils at primary school. She studied psychology at Manchester University from which she graduated in 1949. She was in her forties when she started to write professionally. She is best known for her 1978 musical play Piaf about French singer Édith Piaf.
She was 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 adapted works by dramatists ranging from Henrik Ibsen, Federico García Lorca and Anton Chekhov to Marguerite Duras.
She married architect Keith Gems; the couple had four children. Her husband and children survive her.
List of works
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 Roundhouse, 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, (1977–2000)
- Franz Into April (1977), ICA, London
- Queen Christina (1977), Other Place, Stratford-on-Avon
- Piaf (1978), Other Place, Stratford-on-Avon
- Ladybird, Ladybird (1979), The King's Head, Islington, London
- Sandra (1979), London
- Aunt Mary (1982), Warehouse Theatre, London
- The Treat (1982), ICA, London
- The Cherry Orchard (adaptation) (1984)
- Variety Night (1982), London
- Camille (adaptation) (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)
- The Snow Palace (1998)
- Ebba (1999)
The Late Plays (2000-)
- Girabaldi, Si! (2000)
- Linderhof (2001)
- Mrs Pat (2002), Theatre Royal, York
- Yerma (adaptation) (2003), Royal Exchange Theatre Manchester
- Not Joan the Musical (2003)
- The Lady From The Sea (adaptation) (2003), Almeda Theatre London
- The Little Mermaid (adaptation) (2004), Greenwich Theatre, Riverside Theatre, London
- Nelson (2004), Nuffield Theatre, Southampton
- Broadway Lady (2007)
- Piaf (2008), Donmar Warehouse, London
- Winterlove (2009), The Drill Hall, London
- Despatches (2009), The Drill Hall, London
- Lyn Gardner Obituary: Pam Gems, The Guardian, 16 May 2011
- "Pam Gems profile at Film Reference.com". NetIndustries. Retrieved 11 July 2010.
- William Grimes (May 17, 2011). "Pam Gems, British Playwright, Dies at 85". The New York Times.
- Lustig, Vera (8 June 1997). "How We Met: Pam Gems And Denise Black - Arts & Entertainment". The Independent (London: Independent Print). Retrieved 11 July 2010.
- "Pam Gems". United Agents. Retrieved 11 July 2010.
- "Winterlove By Pam Gems". The Drill Hall. Retrieved 11 July 2010.
- "Despatches By Pam Gems". The Drill Hall. Retrieved 11 July 2010.
- Godiwala, Dimple (2006). Queer Mythologies The Original Stageplays of Pam Gems. Bristol, Portland, Oregon: Intellect. ISBN 1-84150-135-2.