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PAM GOWER (d.January 2023)


The Car drew up to the kerbside. As I opened the passenger door I saw that Pam was seated behind the steering wheel with a large teddy bear positioned on her lap. "Aha, Jump in. Allow me to introduce you to James Edward McBear. Let me make one thing clear, in this car he does the driving!". I closed the door and off we drove to Worcester to assist Sir Terry Pratchett in opening the new high-street branch of Hammix books. This instance was typical Pam,

Pam spent her early years in Northamptonshire and after the war she auditioned for and was accepted at the London Academy if Music and Drama (LAMDA) where she won two medals for acting. Her potential casting was was affected by a protruding lower jaw, she was later the recipient of a pioneering operation to restructure and re-set it. On completing the course she entered the profession and played in a number of productions and for various rep companies. After one such an engagement she needed accommodation in London and one of her fellow actors, Arthur White, said she could stay with his family in London. While staying there she clearly remembered his 15-year-old brother, David, who also wanted to be an actor. This he later did although, as the name David White was already taken by another Equity member, he changed his to David Jason.

Pam's professional acting career was curtailed by the illness of one of her parents whom she had to look after. She later became a travelling rep for the Hoover company (Which is why, incidentally, in her 70s she drove with a teddy bear on her lap on long journeys, as one of the soft toys antecedents had saved her from injury in a crash in the days before airbags were installed in cars). Once her lifestyle became less transitory her thoughts turned back to the theatre again and the urge to act returned.

Pam joined the Questors in the late 1970s. She recalled finding her acting audition panel comprised entirely of Emmets (Alfred, Kit, and David) a slightly daunting prospect. As part of our acting company she carved out a 25 year career playing Queens, Grandmothers, witches and dowager duchesses. I first recall seeing her as Donna Lucia d'Alvadorez ("From Brazil, where the nuts come from") in our 1988 production of 'Charley's Aunt'. Her deep commanding voice lent gravitas to any part she played and her performances always reached the back of the theatre. In addition to her many Questors roles she also appeared in productions at the Mary Wallace Theatre for The Richmond Shakespeare Society.

Pam was a huge fan of Terry Pratchett's books and she was a regular attendee of the Discworld conventions where she would participate in their character costume competitions. On her first appearance as Granny Weatherwax she created such an impression on those assembled that apparently she became the de-facto model for the character, subsequently featuring on many book cover illustrations and 3D figures. She was part of the group of Questors members who Brought 'Mort' to the playhouse stage in 1998 and one of the driving forces behind Point 303 Theatre Company who mounted several other adaptations of his work on the Questors Stages in following years (Several of which were attended by Sir Terry).

I once witnessed her bring a noisy pub to a standstill on entering, an apparently unremarkable elderly lady wearing a long raincoat and headscarf, only to produce an enormous broadsword from under her coat and lay it in the centre of a table. She enjoyed playing on and subverting people's expectations of the older generation, for instance turning up to parties and presenting the host with a bottle of novelty wine called 'Utter Bastard' (Which was surprisingly nice). She took a dim view of what she would call 'passing fads', I recall on the same car journey waiting for the traffic lights to turn outside a branch of New Look, She peered over at the shop front unimpressed and remarked 'Hmm, I remember the original New Look!' and put her foot down on the accelerator.

In later years she moved out of London to the appropriately named Rose Cottage in Wincanton her only regret being that: 'there aren't many people I can really talk to theatre about out here'. Her roles at The Questors were always memorable. Professional theatre's loss was most definitely our gain.

She died aged 92.

PAM GOWER at the Questors
1980 Macbeth
1980 Medea
1980 Pygmalion
1980 The White Devil
1981 The Oresteia
1981 A Streetcar Named Desire
1981 The Winter's Tale
1982 Bacchanalia
1982 Now You See Him, Now You Don't
1982 The Relapse
1983 Waldo and the Wonderful Web
1983 Columbanus
1984 Don Juan Comes Back from the War
1984 Words and Wine
1985 Misalliance
1986 Blithe Spirit
1986 Destiny
1986 The Excess Factor
1987 The Story of Aesop
1987 Lady Susan
1987 Ealing Mystery Cycle (Episodes 8 and 12)
1988 Charley's Aunt
1988 The House of Bernarda Alba
1989 The Penny Showman
1989 Under Milk Wood
1989 Mountain Language
1990 The Queen of Spades and I
1990 Fanny's First Play
1990 Lopsided Moon
1990 A Night to Make The Angels Weep
1991 Iphigenia
1991 Men Should Weep
1991 Richard III
1992 Too Clever by Half
1993 Trelawny of the Wells
1993 Kind Hearts and Comedies
1993 The Arbitration
1994 Alice through the Looking Glass
1994 Winnie the Pooh
1996 Oedocles - King of Thebes
1996 Trapped

2000 Pygmalion
2001 The Fan