One of the scenes from the virtual Christmas display that will feature the interior of St Joseph's Cathedral in Rockhampton. Photo: Contributed
One of the scenes from the virtual Christmas display that will feature the interior of St Joseph's Cathedral in Rockhampton. Photo: Contributed

‘Xmas smorgasbord’: Unique way cathedral will come to life

IT WILL be the interior of St Joseph’s Cathedral in Rockhampton that will be the focal point for a virtual festive display this December.

For the past three years, the façade of the imposing sandstone structure has been the backdrop for the stunning Lights of Christmas.

But this year, due to uncertainty around COVID-19, a decision was made not to proceed with that show and instead seek an alternative.

The Lights of Christmas display, which has been beamed on to St Joseph's Cathedral for the past three years.
The Lights of Christmas display, which has been beamed on to St Joseph's Cathedral for the past three years.

The alternative, Rob Alexander said, would be a three-dimensional, 360-degree interactive show featuring “an absolute smorgasbord of Christmas characters” that was sure to delight viewers of all ages.

Mr Alexander is principal of The Cathedral College and was instrumental in bringing the original light show to Rockhampton.

He said this year’s show would be available on the lightsofchristmasrockhampton website.

It will be produced by Illuminart, the same company that did the light displays, including the 2017 edition that was named Showtex Australia’s Best Small Event at the Australian Event Awards in 2018.

TCC principal Rob Alexander and Father Bryan Hanifin at St Joseph's Cathedral.
TCC principal Rob Alexander and Father Bryan Hanifin at St Joseph's Cathedral.

Mr Alexander said TCC’s IT department was tasked with shooting the 360-degree footage of the cathedral, and Illuminart had put about 230 hours into the show’s creative design.

“We were never in a position, as no one is, to predict what things were going to be like just before Christmas here in Rockhampton,” he said.

“We couldn’t justify the investment of the money, and a lot of our sponsors have had a tough year, so we decided to go for this virtual event which won’t involve people crowding together and is a less expensive version.

“Essentially, it still focuses around St Joseph’s Cathedral.

The nativity scene from the virtual Christmas display. Photo: Contributed
The nativity scene from the virtual Christmas display. Photo: Contributed

“It a five-minute, 360-degree interactive show so you need to get your smartphone or your tablet and stand up and as you move around, the show moves with you.

“It starts outside the cathedral and moves inside, and inside is an absolute smorgasbord of Christmas characters, from the baby Jesus in the nativity scene with various animals to Santa with his reindeer, and elves and angels.

“We’re just trying to capture all the elements of a good, fun Christmas.”

Mr Alexander said the show would be launched at 7.30pm on December 17 and stay live on the website for about a month.

“The benefit of this show is it’s an anytime show, as opposed to the live show which is 7.30 to 10.30 for seven nights,” he said.

“It will be available anywhere in the world and we’re going to leave it up for at least a month right through the Christmas season into the New Year.”

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