Zoe Coombs-Marr, Cassie Tongue, Nat Post, and Nat Randall, FBi Canvas

Zoe Coombs-Marr, Cassie Tongue, Nat Post, and Nat Randall, FBi Canvas


Miracle City was once considered the great lost Australian musical. Written by Nick Enright and Max Lambert and debuting to rapturous response at Sydney Theatre Company in 1996, it all but vanished into thin air until it was revived  in 2015. The show was recorded live over the course of its run at the increasingly culturally important Hayes Theatre in Sydney.

Miracle Cmcalbumity is an unusual, deeply moving work. It’s set in real time, during the live taping of a family televangical show. The Truswells live in Johnson County, Tennessee, and the patriarch, reformed sinner Ricky, is leading the charge with his family on a religious theme park, Miracle City. “ It’s a utopia for deep south bible-worship, and the family is so ardently devoted to the park and everything it stands for. But a secret threatens to shatter the bliss, and when  a powerful preacher seems to come to Ricky’s aid, the family and their friends are drawn into a deep crisis of faith.

It’s a beautiful show, and Cassie’s initial review of the Hayes season was adapted to function as the cast recording’s liner notes – a guide to the show, the Hayes production, and just how important its musical choices are to its tremendous final product.

The live album features the cast of the Hayes revival: Mike McLeish, Blazey Best, Hilary Cole, Cameron Holmes, Jason Kos, Esther Hannaford, Marika Aubrey, Josie Lane, and Peter Kowitz. It’s available on iTunes or as a physical CD; visit to purchase.


The Sydney Theatre Awards are presented by a group of leading theatre critics each year; they aim to celebrate the strength, quality and diversity of theatre in Sydney.

The group includes Elissa Blake (Fairfax), Jason Blake (Sydney Morning Herald), Dee Jefferson (Time Out) Deborah Jones and John McCallum (The Australian), Jo Litson (The Sunday Telelgraph/Limelight), Ben Neutze (Daily Review), Diana Simmonds (StageNoise), Polly Simons (Daily Telegraph), and AussieTheatre’s Deputy Editor and freelance critic (chiefly for Time Out Sydney and the Guardian) Cassie Tongue.

The awards ceremony, held in January each year, is free and open to the entire industry to attend. Read more about the Sydney Theatre Awards.


Cassie is available to speak, facilitate and present at festivals, events, and in media about theatre, performance, and its intersection with culture, politics, and society.

Recently, Cassie facilitated Things That Are Left Behind: Preserving Performance Art and Performance at Crack Theatre Fest, a part of This Is Not Art, a cultural festival held each year in Newcastle NSW. The Festival is a place to talk, make and work.

The panel discussed the following central idea: “the ephemeral nature of live performance is exciting, but also a bit sad – once the show’s over, is it really gone?” Facilitated by Cassie Tongue with Boni Cairncross, Campbell Henderson, and Vanessa Bates, those contributing to and providing conservation, conservation and curation considered how we talk about and remember performances and the performance industry.

Cassie appeared on FBi Radio Canvas in November 2016 to discuss her op-ed “I Love Sydney Theatre. It Doesn’t Love Me Back,” the way politics intersect with performance, and gender divides within the industry and onstage. Listen to the program here.

Cassie spoke on a panel called “Journalism Survives: cracking the contemporary journalism code” for Media Portfolio (journalism/PR students) at UNSW in August 2017 alongside Gina Rushton, Nick Evershed, and Antoinette Latouf. As the sole freelancer and arts writer, she spoke about the sector’s challenges, promise, and the relevance of contemporary criticism.

If you’re interested in booking Cassie to speak at your event or on your show, email her here.


Simple Art Transfer Protocol, commissioned by Performance & Art Development Agency, was a consideration of performance criticism as an internationally collaborative medium. Based at PADA’s Near & Far exhibition, in Adelaide’s Queen’s Theatre, and communicating with critics in Sydney, London, and New York City, with subscribers from 29 cities on five continents, SATP tied a hyperlocal art form up in international conversation. In a collaborative and spirited discussion, it explored the shared and disparate social and cultural references held by writers; email and the internet as both work and leisure spaces; and international friendships.

Beyond discussions on art, SATP turned inward, discussing criticism as an act that is exhilarating and personally gratifying, as well as physically exhausting and emotionally taxing.  It exploded criticism out from a stagnant piece of writing into a possibility where arts commentary could be ever expanding, ever reconsidering, and ever global.

Over five days, conversation between Jane Howard (Adelaide) Cassie Tongue (Sydney), Megan Vaughan (London), and Nicole Serratore (NYC), generated 73 emails totalling over 33,000 words. Read the Simple Art Transfer Protocol archive.