bAKEHOUSE Theatre Company in association with Tamarama Rock Surfers & Parade Theatres presents STORYLINES FESTIVAL 2012 – a four week celebration of diversity that challenges Australian art and theatre by providing a powerful, creative voice to minority cultures whose stories often go unheard. Built around a season of three plays by award-winning playwright Justin Fleming (two of them premieres) StoryLines Festival features art installations, dance and live music from Sydney’s African Refugee, Islamic and Indigenous communities. StoryLines features performers from South Sudan, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Malaysia, Japan, the Philippines and regional & remote Australia. At a time when the colour of the arts in Australia is being hotly debated, this richly layered multi-disciplinary arts fest celebrates diversity, promotes cultural unity and fosters a sense of identity and belonging. Starkly striking in this year's festival is that indigenous artists from the stolen generation's Kinchela Boys' Home will choose to exhibit under their institutional code numbers (to illustrate the point of how they were totally objectified as children) while artists from Villawood Detention Centre will be forced to exhibit by number to suppress their identities. The irony does not escape festival artistic director Suzanne Millar who first created Storylines in 2009. Storylines debuted in 2009 (“Can a black man’s story change a white man’s world?”) with 1300 people attending ticketed events and showcasing more than 90 performing and exhibiting artists. Now, says Millar, the ripple has become a mighty wave! “The aim is simple: to open a dialogue, to learn, to listen to one another’s stories one story at a time. To follow the StoryLines to a place where they meet...” StoryLines 2012 runs July 31 to August 6 at Parade Theatres Kensington before transferring to the Bondi Pavilion Theatre August 8-25 as part of the Tamarama Rock Surfers season. The StoryLines Theatre Season features a trilogy of plays by Justin Fleming, including a restaging of bAKEHOUSE’s critically-acclaimed production Coup d’Etat (Islam/Malaysia), and the one act plays A Land Beyond the River (African Refugees) and Junction (Indigenous). The StoryLines 2012 Art Exhibition features artwork from Villawood Refugee Centre; original work from artists from the Kinchela Boys’ Home (the “Stolen Generation”), select pieces from Sarah Barker’s exhibition "Let's Face It", inner city artist Steven Floyd’s tribute to his friend and mentor Keith Saunders, pieces from Phillip George's 'Borderlands', photographic work by Natasha Narula and original pieces developed in response to the plays. The Festival launch at the NIDA Parade Theatres on July 31 at 8pm (and repeated at Bondi Pavilion 8 August 7pm) begins with the unveiling of the Art Exhibition, the launch of the Theatre season with performances of A land Beyond the River & Junction, a showing of Ella Rubelli’s short film Continental Drift, and special guest performances including African & Indigenous dance group The Saints, traditional Sudanese song and dance, and Sierra Leonese drummer Sibo Bangoura. And special free NIDA Public Forum on July 22 at the Parade Playhouse will preview the festival with a panel of guests drawn from both the arts community and cultural communities associated with the festival considering "The State of the Art: the Place of the arts in the multicultural conversation in Australia." Panellists include Justin Fleming (playwright); Kir Deng (refugee, community worker, med student); Uncle Ray Minniecon (indigenous community support worker).