Irish Affair2024-06-24T19:21:24+00:00

Irish Affair

A New Irish Musical
Co-produced by The National Opera House and The Irish College of Music Theatre

The original cast of Irish Affair, a co-production by The Irish College of Music Theatre and The National Opera House, Ireland.


Pictured Above: The original cast of Irish Affair.

About Irish Affair

Based upon a true story, Irish Affair is the dramatic tale of a marriage between Sean Cloney, a Catholic, and Sheila Kelly, a Protestant set in 1957, Ireland. (Fethard-on-Sea, Wexford) A happily married couple (they marry three times, one civil, one Catholic and one Protestant service) whose lives and love are severely tested by the powerful religious forces swirling around them.This musical blends a legitimate musical theatre score with influences from Rock, Pop, and Traditional Irish music.

1. A Lovely Little Town – Paddy/Seán/Sheila/Full Ensemble
2. Two of Us – Sheila/Female Ensemble
3/4. Man of the People/Children Should Be Seen (but never heard) –
Father Stafford/Brigid/Female Ensemble/Eileen/Mary
5. The Way Things Are – Seán
6. Don’t Go Back on a Promise – Sheila
7. My Heart, My Treasure, My Love – Sheila/Seán
8. Modern Woman – Paddy
9. Best Have a Pint/He’s Just a Man – Lone Drinker/Full Ensemble
10. This Emerald Isle – Sheila/Female Ensemble


10a. Entr’acte
11. Irish Affair – Full Ensemble
12. She Is My Everything – Seán
13. God Knows What They Think At The Vatican Paddy/Full Ensemble
13a. Brimstone & Fire Ensemble – Full Ensemble
14. Brimstone & Fire – Father Stafford/Full Ensemble
15. This Emerald Isle (Reprise) – Seán/Full Ensemble
16. My Heart, My Treasure, My Love (Reprise) – Sheila/Seán
17. A Lovely Little Town Finale – Lone Drinker/Full Company
18. This Emerald Isle Finale – Full Company


Book, Music & Lyrics:
Stuart Brayson

Musical Director & Musical Arrangements:
David Wray

Deirdre Masterson

Executive Producer:
The National Opera House

Associate Producer:
Elizabeth Drwal

Original Artwork:
Eamonn B. Shanahan

Sean Cloney – Fionn Gardner
Sheila Cloney – Karla Tracey
Fr. Stafford – Tony Carty
Paddy – Michael O’ Gorman
Brigid – Hannah McNicholas Roche
Eileen Cloney – Lyla Keane
Mary Cloney – Allie Keane
Lone Drinker – Daniel Furlong
Teacher – Laura Carroll

Oisin Murphy
Holly Rossiter
Emma Stack
Annemarie O’ Mahoney

Children Ensemble
Clare and Ruth Stafford
Hollie and Kayden Kinsella
Keela Gaule
Layla Masterson
Kiefer Byrne
Alex Sinnott

David Wray – Piano
Katie 0’ Connor- Violin
Pat FitzPatrick – Wind
Nicky Bailey – Percussion

Creative Team

Stuart Brayson was born in Gateshead and started his career as singer/songwriter in the rock band POP.

He has so far written 28 musicals. Book, music and lyrics.

These include, Zip Fly-The Boy Who Wanted More, his first musical about his experiences in the pop business which premiered at Buxton Festival of Musicals and transferred to Liverpool’s Unity Theatre.

Mata! An epic musical about the life and times of courtesan/spy Mata Hari, which received its world premiere at Blackpool’s Grand Theatre.

From Here To Eternity with lyrics by Sir Tim Rice and book by Bill Oakes, received its world premiere at Shaftesbury Theatre in London.

Jimmy Mac, a musical comedy, received its world premiere at the Gaiety Theatre on the Isle of Man.

King Pit, received its world premiere at Sage Gateshead.

Pink Angora Sweater, a musical comedy based upon the life of cross-dressing worst film director of all time Ed Wood, has so far received workshops at Central School of Speech and Drama and PPA Academy.

Jonah and His Astounding Dancing Whale, a children’s musical, has been workshopped with young students at ‘Spirit’.

BESS-A Pop Musical, received its first performance at Bird College.

2 Dumb, a new rock musical with a book by Tim Newman, received its world premiere at Roedean Theatre in Brighton.

Stuart is currently developing his musical, Irish Affair with the National Opera House in Wexford, Ireland.

And his musical comedy, The Dolce Vita, with the Tyne Theatre and Opera House in Newcastle.

His popular, ‘An Evening with Stuart Brayson’ where Stuart and guest artists perform songs from his many shows and Stuart also candidly discusses his career in the pop business and musical theatre has been seen on both sides of the pond.

David Wray trained at Lancaster University and the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, London . He has since worked as a pianist, musical director, arranger and Producer in the fields of Opera and Music Theatre. He was assistant to the director of The English Bach Festival, London, for three years with whom he appeared in many productions at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden and throughout Europe. For this company he was Musical Director for productions of Dido and Aeneas (Queen Elizabeth Hall, London) and Handel’s Acis and Galatea (QEH, London and Barcelona, Festival di Peralda), In Ireland he has been a repetiteur for seasons with Wexford Festival Opera and Dublin Grand Opera Society and has worked as a free­lance vocal coach and accompanist with many appearances on RTE radio and TV.

David has been Musical Director for numerous productions in Ireland and beyond. In 1998 David, as producer and musical director, formed a new company Music Theatre Ireland. Their productions have included The Great American Songwriters Series (NCH, Dublin), Noel and Gertie (Opera Fringe Northern Ireland), A New York Songbook (Irish National Tour), Simply Sondheim (BBC N.I. recording/Liberty Hall Theatre, Dublin) and Irish Premieres of Songs for a New World (Pavilion Theatre, Dub­lin), I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change (Andrews Lane Theatre, Dublin) ‘The Last Five Years’(Pavilion Theatre, Dublin.) ‘Listen To My Heart: The Songs of David Friedman’ (Smock Alley Theatre, Dublin) .

David became Artistic & Musical Director for Opera in the Open in 2000. The company is now in its 14th season, presenting a programme of five abridged operas every August at Wood Quay, Dublin for Dublin City Council. Last year there was a special performance of ‘Turandot’ to mark the Chinese New Year. To commemorate its 10th Anniversary a CD of operatic highlights was produced to critical acclaim.

He is also Musical Director for The Three Irish Tenors, The Irish Sopranos and Druid – a new male vocal ensemble. With these has toured the USA and in Europe and Far East.

David has arranged and orchestrated a number of CDs (for various artists) and Projects. Recent writing credits include orchestrations and arrangements for Cork Opera House’s acclaimed pro­duction of Bryan Flynn’s ‘Michael Collins’ seen both in Cork Opera House and the Olympia Theatre, Dublin and a new Album for Simon Morgan (I’ll Be Seeing You) recorded in Prague with the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra and an album of 1940s French music for chanteuse Derby Browne (Pigalle).

Deirdre Masterson currently acts as Performing Arts Dean for Irish American University and director of The Irish College of Music Theatre, leading the introduction of Music Theatre into the Irish institution’s suite of educational offerings. Ms Masterson has an extensive background in performance- opera, operetta, recital, concert and recordings to critical acclaim.

A native from Gorey Co. Wexford, Deirdre started her music studies at a young age in the Wexford School of music under the direction of Alan Cutts. She made her Wexford International Opera Festival debut at the tender age of twelve playing the part of the “spirit,” in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas. Deirdre received a full scholarship to study opera and drama at third level with Dr. Veronica Dunne and graduated from TU with an MMus, and his currently completing a PHD. She made her professional operatic debut with Opera Ireland at eighteen playing the parts of “Sandman,” and “Dewfairy,” in Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel. She has many awards and accolades to her credit including the title of being the youngest singer ever to win the Gervase Elwes award at Feis Ceoil Dublin and winning a scholarship to study with the renowned Wagnarian soprano Astrid Varnay in Munich. Deirdre is a seasoned concert artist performing from our National Concert Hall to Carnegie Hall to critical acclaim.

A founding member of “The Irish Sopranos,” Deirdre has performed to sell out tours on both sides of the Atlantic over the last decade and enjoyed chart success with both their album releases “A Time for Us,” and “Believe.” Deirdre is a featured artist on many recordings including “Faith of our Fathers,” “Who fears to speak,” and her solo EP entitled “You Will Be the Light”, which reached the top 3 in the album charts. Deirdre successfully released two hit singles “Dreamer” and “Jealous of the Angels” in 2022-both featured tracks from the much anticipated album release “Mo Chroi”, which was released September 30th, reaching number 1in the charts.

In 2011, Deirdre formed The Irish College of Music Theatre – Ireland’s first Musical Theatre College providing fully accredited third level courses in business partnership with Dublin Institute of Technology. The Irish College of Music Theatre (IMT), currently boasts operating successful branches at The National Opera House and her home town Gorey, Co. Wexford, nurturing young talent wishing to audition for the profession and/or progress onto third level performing arts programmes. Further developments include the delivery of The Young Artists Programme in association with The National Opera House, which is a specially designed course for aspiring young Irish singers, wishing to embark on a professional singing career. In October 2021, this chosen cohort had the pleasure of officially partaking in Wexford’s International Opera Festival Fringe Event.

Deirdre is also very passionate about her vocal rehabilitation work, collaborating with ENT Surgeon Mark Rafferty and Speech and Language therapist Dr Ciaran Kenny promoting the well-being of vocal health care.

Deirdre is a regular guest speaker and tutor to visiting institutions including Trinity College Dublin, and an adjudicator for Music and Singing competitions, and very much enjoys performing in operas, concerts and recitals outside of her academic commitments.

Deirdre is delighted to collaborate with The National Opera House in presenting the premiere of Stuart Brayson’s new musical “Irish Affair”.

She would like to extend her gratitude to the cast and crew, and looks forward to showcasing this new work and gaining welcomed feedback from the home audience.

Elizabeth Drwal has enjoyed a diverse career in the performing arts, film, opera production and as a writer. Since returning to Wexford, she has specialised in singing for health and wellbeing, working as a specialist community artist and researcher. Her papers have been presented at the British Voice Association conferences, Parkinson’s UK, and Society for Music Education in Ireland’s annual conference.

Most recently, in 2023, she wrote and directed “Seedlings,” a climate change opera with music by Andrew Synott produced by Music Generation, Wexford, and performed in the National Opera House.

Elizabeth is delighted to be part of the creative team on the Irish Affair.


Fionn Gardner is an actor originally from Kilkenny, Ireland, who now calls Wexford home. He studied at The Irish College of Music Theatre and The Royal Central School of Speech & Drama, honing his skills as a performer.

With a European tour under his belt as a member of the renowned singing group “12 Tenors,” Fionn has tackled a range of roles, from the “Joker” in Choir of Man to the “Bank Manager” in Once the Musical. His talents have also graced television screens on popular shows like “The Voice of Ireland” and “I Can See Your Voice.”

Looking forward to his role as Seán in the premiere of the musical “Irish Affair,” Fionn is eager to share his love for storytelling on stage and create meaningful connections with his performances.

Karla Tracey hails from Arklow, County Wicklow and began her vocal training at the tender age of seven, where she trained and excelled in both Classical and Musical Theatre singing before embarking on a performance degree at third level education.

Karla successfully graduated in 2022, from The Conservatoire at Technological University Dublin, with an Honours Bachelor Degree in Performance.

In 2023, she was cast as Maria, in West Side Story, with Gorey Musical Society, where her legitimate training and passion for the musical theatre stage earned her a national AIMS nomination and best overall show award. 

In April 2024, Karla played the role of Christine Daaé in the National Opera House (NOH), with Wexford Light Opera Society, where she has just been awarded Best Female Singer 2024 in the Irish Musical Theatre Awards, along with Best Overall Show.

Karla is delighted to return to the National Opera House this week, where she will play the coveted role of Sheila Kelly in the premiere of Stuart Brayson’s musical, ‘Irish Affair – A Love Story for all Time’. Karla is honoured and delighted to be involved in portraying this very special piece of Wexford’s history.

Tony Carty made his debut with WLOS in the 1993 production of Carousel. Since then, Tony has been, in his words, “so very lucky to have had the opportunity to have played many great roles on stage”. Freddie Trumper, in Chess, Jackson Pennington- The Hired Man, Pirelli- Sweeny Todd, the dual role of Jekyll and Hyde, for which he won his first Aims Best MaleSinger Award, Roger De Bris- The Producers, Coalhouse Walker Jnr- Ragtime, for which he won his second Aims Best Male Singer Award, Sweaty Eddie- Sister Act, Anatoly- Chess, Peron-Evita, Sweeny Todd- Sweeny Todd, Frollo- The Hunchback Of Notre-Dame and most recently the role of the Phantom in the All Ireland winning production of Phantom of the Opera. Other roles Tony has played include Danny Zuko-Grease, Ché-Evita and Judas-Jesus Christ Superstar with OLTG, Sky Masterson- Guys and Dolls with the R&R in the National Concert Hall. Tony created the original role of Buddy Roxborough in Eoin Colfer’s critically acclaimed Musical Theatre debut of The Lords of Love.

Tony has also performed on the Drama circuit with Wexford Drama Groups production of Eoin Colfer’s “The Cresent” and Enniscorthy Drama Groups production of Billy Roche’s “Cavalcaders”  for which he won 2 Best Supporting Actor awards.

Tony is co-founder and producer of “Sing Out Loud!” which sees over 3,000 primary school kids of Wexford perform in the National Opera House annually and celebrates it’s 10th Birthday this coming November and is delighted to announce that Sing Out Loud is to  be staged at the TLT Theatre, Drogheda in February 2025 to a further 2000 kids.

Tony is thrilled to be a part of An Irish Affair and is excited to thread the boards with a wonderfully talented troupe and production team.

Michael O’ Gorman hails from the parish of Taghmon-Camross. Michael is delighted to be involved in this heart wrenching story that is Irish Affair, A Musical Drama. Michael has appeared with Wexford Light Opera Society (Sweeney Todd, Pirates of Penzance, The Hunchback of Notre Dame), Oyster Lane Theatre Group (Grease, The Addams Family, The Producers), Gorey Musical Society (Michael Collins, A Musical Drama) Wexford Drama Group, Camross Drama Group, Taghmon Tops, RathnurePantomime Society. Recently, Michael received Best Actor nomination as Quasimodo in The Hunchback of Notre Dame (2023) and Best Supporting Actor as Joe Emmet in Michael Collins, A Musical Drama (2024).

Michael would like to thank the production team and the audience to enjoy and savor this production that has such historical importance to the local area of Fethard and beyond.

Hannah McNicholas Roche is an aspiring actress who recently completed her studies in Trinity College Dublin. Her professional credits include “Molly” in Cadence (Smock Alley Theatre, 2024),  GraceDonnelly in “Most Peculiar Dreams” (The Helix, 2023) and as a featured performer in “Evita” with Rebecca Storm, IYMT and the National Symphony (National Concert Hall, 2022). Other previous roles include Sue Snell in “Carrie” (O’Reilly Theatre, 2024), Wendla in “Spring Awakening” for which she received an AIMS nomination for “Best Actress” (Smock Alley Theatre, 2023), Sally Bowles and Beggar Woman in Trinity Musical Theatres winning MTI submissions of Cabaret and Sweeney Todd (Queens Theatre, 2023; Mullingar Arts Centre, 2024), Sarah Brown in “Guys and Dolls” (O’Reilly Theatre, 2022), Nora Helmer in  “A Doll’s House” (DU Players, 2020) Mrs. O’ Hara in “Paperboy” (Lyric Theatre Belfast, 2019), Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd (Oatlands Concert Hall, 2018) and Maria in the “Sound of Music” (Sion Hill Concert Hall, 2018). Hannah has recently been accepted into the Royal Academy of Music in London, to study musical theater at masters level. Hannah feels very fortunate to be playing the role of Brigid in such an exciting new production. 

Hailing from Taghmon, Daniel Furlong has been performing on the stages of Wexford his whole life with a number of different societies across the county. 

The past year in particular has been a very busy one for him, playing the part of Jehan Frollo in Wexford Light Opera Societies production of “The Hunchback of Notredame” (2023). Following this, he participated in the societies infamous “Hits from the Musicals”. A month later he played the part of Stormtrooper in Oyster Lane Theatre Groups production of “The Producers” (2023). He then played the leading prince in Wexford Pantomime Society’s production of “Rapunzel and the League of Princesses” (2024). Last month, he played the part of Raoul in Wexford Light Opera Societies production of “The Phantom of the Opera” – what an experience that was. 

To cap it all off he couldn’t turn down the opportunity to be a part of this special project and is delighted to finally let the Wexford accent come out on stage! 

Daniel wishes the cast, crew and all involved in the show the very best of luck. 

Oisín Murphy is a Graduate of Inchicore College Theatre Performance. Credits include Bassanio’(The Merchant of Venice, Dir. Paul Meade), ‘Tom Byrne’(F.A.T.D.A.D, Dir Vanessa Fielding), ‘Various’(Love and Information, Dir. Liam Halligan) and ‘Valentine’(Finding Faust, Dir. Helene Montague). Upon completion of this Musical he will begin a programme in The National Screen Acting School of Ireland, Bowstreet Academy.

Laura Carroll is a Post Primary Music teacher from Ballycanew. She has been performing in musicals from a very young age with her last major role occurring in 2022 with Gorey Musical Society in her role of ‘Maria’ in The Sound of Music –  a role for which she received an AIMS Best Actress nomination. She has been lucky to perform as a solo vocalist in venues such as the National Concert Hall, the National Opera House, St. Patrick’s Cathedral and The Helix, as well as live on TV and radio. She has toured Ireland, America and China and is a multi-award-winning singer. She has also worked as a choral director, musical director, examiner and vocal coach with many groups over the years. Previous performances include:Player 3/Delia, Michael Collins – A Musical Drama; Gorey Musical Society, North Wexford Musical Society; Rent, Mrs Cohen. Gorey Pantomime Society; Snow White and Aladdin. Irish College of Music Theatre; Fraulien Schneider in Cabaret. Gorey Musical Society; Thoroughly Modern Millie, Miss Dorothy, The Sound of Music, Maria. Gorey Community School; Eponine in Les Miserables, Anita in West Side Story. Studies: Maynooth University; Bachelor of Music. Irish College of Music Theatre; Diploma in Musical Theatre Performance. University of Limerick; Professional Masters of Education in Music.

Wexford born Holly Rossiter has always had a love for the stage and performing. Holly attended drama lessons and youth theatre throughout her childhood and early adulthood. Holly has attended singing lessons with Aileen Donohue for the past 7 years. She is trained in Ballet, Modern and Tap Dance, having attended Wexford School of Ballet and Performing Arts for over 15 years.


Throughout the years, Holly has been involved in multiple, local theatre groups including Oyster Lane Theatre Group, Wexford Light Opera Society and Wexford Pantomime Society, most recently playing the lead of Rapunzel in their latest production, “Rapunzel and the League of Princesses” in the National Opera House.

Holly is very grateful to have grown up in a town abundant in music and art, and to be able to still take part in theatre, alongside working a full-time job.


Holly would like to thank all the production team for the opportunity to be involved in the first production of this exciting new musical and wishes the cast the very best of luck.

Emma Stack began training with vocal coach Kaeylea Van Keith in 2011, and has been attending sessions with Kaeylea intermittently since then. After a gap year living and volunteering in India, she came home to study English and Music in NUI Maynooth, specialising in voice, before going on to train as a primary school teacher. Emma took a career break from teaching in 2022 and made her professional theatre debut at the Mill Theatre in the new Irish musical, ‘Sisters’, playing the role of Bernadette. 

Emma has played a variety of roles including, Sister Mary Robert in ‘Sister Act’ (AIMS nomination for Best Actress in a Supporting Role), Mary Magdalene in ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’, Belle in ‘Beauty and the Beast’, Mirabel in ‘Sinbad’, Snow White in ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs’, Yum Yum in ‘The Hot Mikado’, Maureen in ‘Rent’ (AIMS nomination for Best Female Singer, Waterford International Light Opera Festival nomination for Best Female Performance and The Adjudicator’s Special Award nomination for Best Duet (Take Me Or Leave Me) at the Waterford International Light Opera Festival), Susan in ‘Tick, Tick…Boom!’ and most recently, a sassy French gargoyle in ‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame’. 

Emma feels incredibly honoured to take to the stage with such a talented and vibrant cast, and would like to thank the production team and all involved for making the entire process of ‘Irish Affair’ so enjoyable

Anne Marie O’ Mahoney is a student at Discovering Drama and also Colla Voce Performance and Music School. She is currently a Cast member in Rathnure Pantomime Society and is participating in their upcoming musical of ‘Me & Myself.’ Anne Marie is also a member of Enniscorthy Musical Society and recently took part in ‘Happy Days.’ She is a Grade 5 Musical Theatre student and plays piano at Grade 3 standard. Anne Marie is delighted to be apart of ‘Irish Affair’ and wishes all Cast and Crew the very best of luck!

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