Storylines Festival

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Country and Region AustraliaNew South Wales
Type of Festival Dance, Drama, Music
Location of Festival Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Festival Description

STORYLINES FESTIVAL is 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. The programming includes plays and art installations, dance and live music.

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.

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 artistic direcor Suzanne 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…”

Festival Dates July 31 - August 25, 2012
Festival Links

Festival Events:

Programming 2012:
  • Festival preview
    July 22, 2012, at Parade Playhouse
    • 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).
  • Festival Launch
    July 31, 2012 at NIDA Parade Theatres, 8:00pm
    • The launch on July 31 at 8pm (and repeated at Bondi Pavilion 8 August 7:00pm) 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 who have been working with choreographer and dancer Cheyne Fynn and recently performed with Justice Crew. Joshua McElroy and Elijah Williams — two young singers who have been performing together since 2010, when they played the lead roles in Big River. Representatives of the Sudanese Community, working out of St Bakhita with Johnson Ngor, will perform traditional song and dance. Sibo Bangoura — an African Drummer originally from Sierra Leone will take part in the launch.
  • Plays
    • 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).
      THEATRE - a Trilogy of plays by JUSTIN FLEMING
    • Coup d’Etat — an award-winning play set against the backdrop of Malaysia’s 1988 constitutional crisis, this is at once a political thriller, a brilliant exploration of cultural differences, and an indelible, unforgettable portrait of a nation of extraordinary diversity. NIDA: Wed August 1 & Fri 3 at 8pm, Sun August 5 at 5pm Bondi: Wed August 8, Fri 10, and Tues 21 to Sat 25 August at 8pm plus Sun August 12 at 5pm
    • A Land Beyond the River — based on interviews with three young African Refugees, the play tells the story of the boys’ journey to Australia, interwoven with the narrative of the classic To Kill A Mockingbird.
    • Junction — Two sets of old train tracks converge deep in Australia’s outback. Two young travellers plan to spend the night in a long-abandoned railway station. As darkness falls, strange things begin to happen and the travellers realise they must make a crucial choice as the shadows of the past re-emerge.
    • A Land Beyond the River & Junction are 1-act plays performed on the same night.
      NIDA: Tues July 31 (gala launch and premiere), Thur August 2 & Sat 4 at 8pm
      Bondi: Thur Aug 9, Sat Aug 11, Tue 14 – Sat 18 Aug at 8pm
  • Art Exhibition
    • 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.
  • Of Note
    • 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.


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