The film, Lighting Up by Emie Roy is the story of Lauraine and Peter Overton, who have been lighting up their house in Quakers Hill for Christmas for 27 years. The decorations consist of more than 40,000 lights and hundreds of hand-made decorations that Peter handcrafts during the year.
Over a quarter of their year revolves around the light displays; they start decorating in October, display them through all of December, and take them down in January. The community, especially children, who come to enjoy the lights give them the purpose to keep going year after year.
They have won multiple awards for their Christmas light displays, including national recognition, until Covid put a halt to it in 2020.
“I was bored to tears…” Peter’s statement captures the vacuum that was created in their lives in the year they couldn’t do it.
The story is, however, one of resilience, as they bounced back in 2021 and started fresh after the break. “We are back, bigger and better”, say Lauraine and Peter delightfully; reminding us of how we all got a grip back on our lives once the chaos of the pandemic subsided.
Emie Roy is a storyteller based in Sydney. She founded The Stories Untold, recognising the power of telling stories to bring about a participatory experience and meaningful change for the spectators. Lighting Up is part of project Unlocked, which was filmed with support from Creative Arts Fund 2021.
She is also a well-regarded public speaker and MC, and creator of socially relevant audio, visual and print stories. She has recently curated and co-edited a book The Light at the End of the Tunnel, an anthology based on the real-life pandemic experiences of 50 people based across Greater Sydney.
Lighting Up, courtesy of Emie Roy.