Four shows scheduled for Sir Edward Heath Charitable Foundation Festival at Sarah Thorne Theatre

The festival focuses on the late former PM Ted Heath

A play coming to the Sarah Thorne Theatre in Broadstairs will star actors including Jack Klaff -of Star Wars – and Nicholas Robinson who played evacuee William Beech alongside John Thaw as the reclusive Tom Oakley in drama  Goodnight Mister Tom.

Maggie & Ted- Live on Air is one of four shows at the venue focused on former Broadstairs resident and Prime Minister Ted Heath.

The play is written by Michael McManus, who was the former PM’s political secretary for five years.

Michael is now a trustee of the Sir Edward Heath Charitable Foundation which is presenting the four show festival to raise funds for music scholarships.

Photo Nick Evans (At Sunshine Coast’s End – The Broadstairs Story)

Ted Heath was born in Broadstairs in July 1916 and was a student at Chatham House Grammar School in Ramsgate and later a member of Broadstairs Sailing Club. He was Prime Minister from 1970-1974. He died, aged 89, in July 2005.

The foundation also raises funds to go towards the preservation of the late MP’s home in Salisbury which is one of just two former Prime Minster homes open to the public with the other being Sir Winston Churchill’s at Chartwell.

The Sir Edward Heath Charitable Foundation Festival was first held in Broadstairs last year featuring  TV presenter Gyles Brandreth and his one man show.

Gyles is back this year for the expanded events programme.

Maggie & Ted – Live On Air takes place on July 13 from 5pm.

Jack Klaff_©Rebekah Tolley-Georgiou

It follows Broadstairs boy Ted Heath (Jack Klaff, Star Wars) fighting for his political life as he is challenged by his one-time protegée Maggie Thatcher (Clare Bloomer). Also in the cast is Nicholas Robinson, Lisa Bowerman (Casualty, Doctor Who), Jon Glover (Spitting Image) and, as narrator, Deputy Speaker in the last House of Commons, Sir Roger Gale.

Nicholas Robinson

Michael said: “It is the first time this version of the play has been performed so it is a world premiere. Sir Roger is the link man, narrator. He was  an actor in the 60s appearing in series including Z Cars.”

Clare Bloomer

Tickets £22 + £1 booking fee Book now

The first festival show is British General Election Campaigns on July 13 at 11.30am-12.45pm.

LBC’s Iain Dale will lead a discussion and Q&A about his recently published collection of essays on British General Elections.

He’ll be joined by other contributors to the book, including distinguished journalist Michael Crick.

Tickets £15 + £1 booking fee  Book now

This is followed by For The Many Live at 2pm on July 13.

The award-winning podcast features former Home Secretary Jacqui Smith and author and LBC presenter Iain Dale.

They will record the podcast live before an audience at the Sarah Thorne Theatre, with special guest Gyles Brandreth.

Tickets £25 + £1 booking fee  Book now

The last show of the four is Gyles Brandreth gives a Ted Talk on July 14 from 2pm.

TV presenter Gyles Brandreth will be at the Sarah Thorne Theatre

Gyles  reminisces of Ted Heath and Westminster, including candid extracts from Gyles’s diary.

It is followed by a Q&A and signing of the paperback edition of his memoir “Breaking the Code.”

Tickets £27 + £1 booking fee Book now

All shows are at the Sarah Thorne Theatre in Broadstairs.

Michael says when the shows were arranged the General Election had not been announced but the timing was “wonderful.”

He added: “It is a big event for the Sarah Thorne Theatre and it is supporting local theatre. With Maggie and Ted we are looking back at a time when there was a slightly better quality in Parliament than nowadays. We didn’t know there was going to be a General Election when we were booking the shows in. Maggie and Ted is fun, it is a comedy and Giles is also a witty and entertaining man.”

Those who buy tickets to all four shows will receive a discount of £9, making an £80 total ticket price.


  1. given what i have read about heaths unsavoury behaviour during his lifetime , he is not someone i would have wished to have any involvement with .

  2. True, I was at the same school but he sold the country down the river by lying about the Benefits of the EU and signing the country up to servitude without any consultation of the people. He was a traitor of the worst kind.

  3. Whatever your views on the EU, or Mr Heath, I don’t think you could accuse him of taking us in without consultation. He was after all the leader of the Tory Party, and joining the Common Market (as it was then) was included in the Conservative manifesto for the 1970 election. In addition, he hardly made a secret of his obsession with the idea. And unlike certain modern day tories he wasn’t out to make a dodgy fortune for himself. He thought it would make trade easier, but more importantly, having fought during the war and witnessed the horror, believed a united Europe might make another terrible conflict less likely. And on this manifesto he won the 1970 general election. The Tory majority in the Commons won the vote there, and into Europe we went in 1973. That’s parliamentary democracy.
    When Labour regained power in 1974 we were promised a referendum on remaining. I remember a local debate in the Granville Hotel, where our local tory MP, William Rees-Davies (aka the “one armed bandit” owing to his loss of an arm during the war) argued for remain on the grounds that Europe needed to stick together to ward off the forthcoming “yellow peril” (his words) from China. Perhaps he showed remarkable prescience there, even if the threat today comes from a little closer. The result of that 1975 referendum was a bit more conclusively the “will of the people”, 67% to 32% to remain, than was the 52/48 to leave vote in 2016. And achieved without a single big fat lie on the side of a bus, just some old fashioned British common sense, no doubt aided by Ted’s replacement as Conservative leader, Mrs Thatcher, vigorously campaigning to remain, and attending rallies in a sweater embroidered with the EEC member states’ flags.

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