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Cats, kids and Korea feature as former Mackay student reflects on career

Published:15 May 2019

Madeline Cain made life-long friends and met her husband Jordan at the Central Queensland Conservatorium of Music, before her career took her around the world.

When Music Theatre graduate Madeline Cain returned to the stage of the Central Queensland Conservatorium of Music in Mackay for the first time in 17 years, she says it felt like coming home.

Although originally from Brisbane, Madeline made life-long friends and met her husband Jordan at the CQCM, before her career took her around the world.

“I actually started my studies at the original site of CQCM in Shakespeare Street before the current theatre was completed,” Madeline says.

“My first job after graduating was as lead singer on a cruise ship, the Pacific Princess, for 12 months.

“Then I was the only Aussie amongst American and English performers at the Tokyo Disney Broadway Show for six months.

“When I got into the cast of the musical Cats in 2006 for the international tour of Asia it was the first really big thing, which went for two years.

“I then did an international tour of Jekyll and Hyde with a full Australian cast.”

Madeline and her husband decided to have a child and her son was only seven weeks old when her agent suggested she audition for the musical Chess, which she had performed in as student at CQCM.

Chess in Melbourne was awesome and gave me the momentum to get back into performing when my son was four-months old,” she says.

Madeline says he had planned to take her foot off the pedal to be a mum but a friend from a previous tour of Cats offered her the chance to rejoin the touring cast.

“I had a young child, not quite two years old, to consider but my husband said he would quit work and we would all go on tour as a family.

“I said I would like to ‘swing’ and be an understudy for Jennyanydots the tapping cat, Griddlebone the opera cat and Grizabella who sings Memory.

“What was supposed to be a nine-month tour was extended to two years across Korea, Singapore, Macau, Korea again, New Zealand and then Australia, where we had Delta Goodrem as our Grizabella. It was the gift that kept on giving.”

Madeline says that Delta, who had never missed a show, was unable to perform in Brisbane for the preview.

“I got the phone call in my home town of Brisbane saying you are on for Grizabella. I was eight weeks’ pregnant at the time with my second child, and very sick, but went ‘ok let’s do it’.”

Nowadays, with two children and another on the way, Madeline has moved to Geelong where she directs shows and runs music theatre courses; sometimes inviting her friends from Melbourne productions to give masterclasses and workshops.

“When I got the invite to return to the CQCM in Mackay I thought holy moly .. emotionally it is a very special place in my life.”