Culture, Creativity and Connection

Celtic Fringe Festival 2015. Saturday 19th September. 6pm.

“Culture, Creativity and Connection”

Connecting cultures through shared history and music.

The musical “The Last Torch” is a new ceoldrama, which premiered in Melbourne, Australia in 2014

The creator and composer of this amazing ceoldrama will be attending the Celtic Fringe Festival 2015 giving a presentation which will include:

Background: How an Australian lass came to dream of shipwrecks in Sligo, and wrote a musical based on the Spanish Armada events of 1588.

The artwork: A presentation of images and why the composers father, a retired Scottish engineer, became enchanted by the story creating these artworks.

The music: Irish soprano Tríona Walsh will sing two songs from the musical.

From her first inspiration, Frances O’Neill will discuss how “The Last Torch” evolved, from the crowd funding experience, the worldwide support and the sell out performances, the journey of “The Last Torch” is epic.

The Celtic Fringe Festival presentation will include scenes and music from the stage production.

This trip to Ireland will be documented on film.


Frances O’Neill (nee McGinnis) – Composer/Vocalist/Educator

Frances studied at the prestigious Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAPPA) majoring in voice. She has studied classical and jazz music at tertiary level and has a wealth of experience in the performing arts. She recently completed master’s research in intercultural music studies, gaining a distinction. With a keen interest in the study of culture and history she aims to connect others with the root of who they are through music. As the child of immigrants she is able to understand the loss of cultural identity and its redemption through, and embeddeness in musical practice.

Tríona Walsh – Vocalist/Educator

Tríona moved to Australia from Ireland in her teens where she met the McGinnis family with whom she had a close relationship. She started Irish dancing at a young age and completed grade 2 Flamenco exams. Tríona studied at WAAPA majoring in classical vocal performance. Since returning home to Ireland she has worked for Shannon heritage as an entertainer at Bunratty and Dungaire castles. Tríona was chairperson for RosCre Bao Festival for three years, and was a driving force behind its inauguration. She is currently teaching music with Music Generation, Offaly, West Meath.

Condensed synopsis of The Last Torch

The Last Torch is set in 16th century Ireland, where survivors of a shipwreck from the Spanish Armada have washed ashore, setting the stage for forces of love, liberty, sovereignty, spirituality & magic to collide. With a mixture of Spanish and Irish music, this musical tells of the last clan leader standing against the English. Descended from Irish royalty, he was an extremely learned and handsome clan leader who made a last ditch attempt to push the English out of Ireland nearing the full conquest by the British crown. Although historical, the musical contains strong mythical and spiritual themes.

On many levels The Last Torch is a love story. It tells of the love of the Irish for their culture and land, the love for their children and their love for each other. It is romance and passion on the backdrop of conflict. This story pays homage to the fallen, to the men and women who have fought for their independence against dire odds and have given their lives in the name of freedom. It explores Indigenous, colonization and power issues all of which are relevant today.

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