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St Mary’s Cathedral set to shine with more than 30 million Christmas pixels

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The Archdiocese of Sydney is collaborating with The Electric Canvas, a team of creative technologists, designers and artists, most famous for their work for Vivid Festival. Photo: Giovanni Portelli
The Archdiocese of Sydney is collaborating with The Electric Canvas, a team of creative technologists, designers and artists, most famous for their work for Vivid Festival. Photo: Giovanni Portelli

With tens of thousands set to experience the wonder and awe of Christmas at the Cathedral this year, staring at the stunning light spectacular, not many will appreciate the complexity required to transform one of Australia’s oldest and most historic faith monuments into a modern technological marvel.

Commencing next Thursday and running every evening right up until Christmas Day, the Archdiocese of Sydney is collaborating with The Electric Canvas, a team of creative technologists, designers and artists, most famous for their work for Vivid Festival.

The Electric Canvas have spent more than 265 days creating the innovative visual content that will be displayed across the Cathedral by employing more than 30 million pixels, turning Australia’s mother church into a dazzling Christmas wonderland.

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With countdown to commence in just over a week’s time, a team of five specialist projection technicians and riggers will start installing the projection systems in the Cathedral forecourt that will bathe the iconic site in this year’s joyful theme: “Twelve Days of Christmas.”

“When the team at the archdiocese presented us with the theme of the ‘Twelve Days of Christmas’ for this year’s projections, we were thrilled,” said The Electric Canvas’ Peter Milne.

“The addition of ultra-high-definition ground projection onto the cathedral’s entry podium proved a big hit with kids of all ages in 2022 and was used between running’s of the main facade show, so that will be even bigger this year,” Milne said.

Large-scale events like Christmas at the Cathedral are not possible without broader community support, with the archdiocese counting on major sponsors, such as the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) to deliver this gift for Sydney.

“Christmas Lights at the Cathedral is an event that brings so much happiness, drawing together people of all ages and backgrounds from across our community. We are proud to announce the renewal of our partnership for a further four years, extending our commitment to supporting such a wonderful event,” said Chris Williams, Executive General Manager from the CBA.

Spectators taking in the mesmerising light show lin 2022. Photo: Giovanni Portelli
Spectators taking in the mesmerising light show lin 2022. Photo: Giovanni Portelli

As families struggle with rising costs of living, Williams believes it’s important CBA help provide such an amazing event free.

“At a time when many people are under pressure from the rising cost of living and household budgets are getting stretched, we recognise that free community events are a welcome relief from those pressures and give people an opportunity to enjoy the festive season together without worries about the cost,” Williams said.

Thanks to supporters like the CBA, Christmas at the Cathedral will be one of the most spectacular focal points for Sydney’s Christmas celebrations.

The forecourt will once again feature the cathedral’s glorious Nativity scene, delicious food, and gift stalls as well as a stage on the steps of the Cathedral, featuring world class entertainment like a capella choir “Soulfood.”

For the multi-award-winning Australian ensemble, boasting 55 singers from across Sydney, it is the highlight of their year.

“Soulfood a cappella choir have sung on the steps of St Mary’s Cathedral too many times to count,” said Melissa Kenny, the group’s artistic director.

“We have sung under the stars, in the pouring rain and in gusty winds. Nothing has ever stopped us because we love it. What a special place to sing.”

From 14-25 December, the cathedral will be shining with Christmas projections and entertainment runs from 5.30 to 10.30pm each day.

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