Vivid Sydney 2022: The Latch Editors’ Top Picks For This Year’s Festival

After a two-year, pandemic-induced hiatus, Vivid Sydney is returning to the Sydney Harbour foreshore for a month of entertainment in May. Made famous by larger-than-life light projections and art installations, Vivid Sydney is the biggest events in Sydney’s arts calendar, with events running through the entire month, across three categories: lights, ideas, and music. 

This year, there are over 200 events taking place, with inspiring talks by the likes of Baz Luhrmann and Lisa Wilkinson, plus late-night supper clubs, immersive ballroom workshops where you can brush up on your voguing, and light projections that pay tribute to Country.

Here are our top picks of the best events to see at Vivid Sydney 2022.


Sharing the Same Life Essence

Through Wayne Quilliam’s photography and animated graphics, “Sharing the Same Life Essence” invites us to celebrate the Gadigal people — the traditional custodians of the Eora Nation (the land that Sydney resides on). The projections will appear on all-four pylons of the Harbour Bridge, displaying how Country was created, sharing stories of the ancient land and the ways Indigenous people have made their marks — through etching their stories onto the land and mapping knowledge. It is also designed to warn us about the unpredictability of Country and how NSW has benefitted from thousands of years of Indigenous culture and land practices. 

When: 27 May – 18 June, 5.40pm – 6pm
Where: Circular Quay and the Rocks

Crosswalk This Way

Crosswalk This Way” is a riff on the traditional walk/don’t walk signals at pedestrian crossings, where artists and designers, Julian Pereira and David Da Costa Enes, have replaced the classic (and some might say boring) instructions with things like stand/dance, hold hands/kiss, and wait/dream, plus a wheelchair stop/wheelchair go option, too. The purpose of the installation is to highlight the common human emotions and interactions that affect the collective everyday. It’s also to create a little bit of chaos, too, which we love.
When: 27 May – 18 June, 6pm – 11pm
Where: Circular Quay and the Rocks

Lighting of the Sails

One of the most iconic recurring installations at Vivid Sydney is “Lighting of the Sails”, which sees projections light up the Sydney Opera House sails every night through the festival. Each year, a different internationally-renowned artist is commissioned to create an original artwork that captures the spirit of the landmark. This year, the Sydney-based creative technologists, Curiious, will bring the Martumili collective painting, Yarrkalpa – Hunting Ground, Parnngurr Area 2013, across the sails. Using new technologies to capture the physical textures of the painting to depict the Parnngurr community and surrounding landscape — bringing a new perspective to ancestral practices and knowledge of Country.

When: 27 May – 18 June, 6pm – 11pm
Where: Sydney Opera House, Bennelong Point


The Business of Baz 

Baz Luhrmann is coming to Vivid Sydney 2022 to sit down with award-winning journalist and host, Marc Fennell. Though he doesn’t really need an introduction, we’ll fill you in on what Luhrmann is slated to cover in the talk on 5 June. He’s a master storyteller, award-winning filmmaker and is known for more blockbusters than we have time to name — from the 1996 retelling of Romeo + Juliet to Moulin Rouge!, The Great Gatsby, and the soon to be released epic, Elvis

When: 5 June, 3pm – 4pm
Where: State Theatre, Market Street, Sydney
Buy tickets here. 

Troye Sivan on Beauty, Art and Fluidity

On 29 May, as part of the Vivid Ideas’ Global Storytellers series, Troye Sivan will join Flex Mami on stage for an intimate discussion about beauty, creativity, fluidity, and queer politics. This talk is one of the most exciting in the program, in our opinion. Troye is known for producing banger after banger, all while becoming a style icon, actor, and avid collector of Australian art — and this talk will get to the heart of what drives and inspires him. Meanwhile, Flex Mami is the ultimate slashy or, more accurately, she’s one of Australia’s leading millennial creators, an author, model, and speaker, who takes conversations about identity, intersectionality, and mental health mainstream.

When: 29 May, 5pm – 6.30pm
Where: Sydney Town Hall
Buy tickets here.

Ballroom & The West Ball: Powerhouse Late x Vivid Ideas

Artists Jamaica Moana and Father Xander Silky are bringing ballroom all the way from Harlem to Sydney (via Western Sydney) on 9 June for a one-night-only event that’ll see the Powerhouse Museum play host to guerilla performances, live music, ballroom workshops, interviews, and a display of extravagant gowns and costumes. Expect to leave the evening inspired and with plenty of new voguing moves in your repertoire.

When: 9 June, 5pm – 9pm
Where: Powerhouse Museum
Buy tickets here.

Fashion’s Flash: Back to the Future

Stylist and podcaster Madeleine Park puts an artistic take on the traditional fashion show, showcasing First Nations talent and the beauty of upcycling, at this event. The show will be followed by a panel discussion with Nina FitzgeraldMaggie Zhou and Citizen Wolf‘s Zoltan Csaki delving into Australian fashion identity, specifically Indigenous influence, sustainability, slow fashion and the role of technology.

When: 7 June, 6:30pm
Where: UTS Great Hall
Buy tickets here.


Vivid Sydney Supper Club

Every Friday and Saturday night through Vivid, Mary’s Underground will be transformed into an intimate cabaret club, from 10pm till late. Hosted by Trevor Ashley, the program includes jazz, cabaret, burlesque, and comedy acts, plus headlining performances from Mahalia Barnes (Fri 27 May), Tim Freedman (Sat 28 May), Bob Downe (Fri 3 June) Emma Pask (Sat 4 June), Ursula Yovich (Fri 10 June), Paul Capsis (Sat 11 June), Genevieve Lemon (Fri 17 June), and Trevor Ashley (Sat 18 June).

When: From 27 May, 10pm – 1am
Where: Mary’s Underground
Buy tickets here.

The Gospel According to Marcia

Australian icon, Marcia Hines AM, will be joined by a 12-member gospel choir and live band in an intimate and powerful concert at St Stephen’s Uniting Church during Vivid. In addition to filling the church with her incredible voice, Hines will also share childhood memories and an insight into her earliest experiences with gospel — including stories of attending church every Sunday from the age of 10 with her blind aunt, Florence James, who led the choirs at four churches in Boston.

When: 9 – 11 June, 8pm – 9.10pm
Where: St Stephen’s Uniting Church
Buy tickets here.

To see the entire Vivid Sydney 2022 program and plan out your month of events, head to the Vivid website

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