History, traditions

The Undefeatable Theater

Petersburg's Theater that takes its roots from the blockade, a “Golden Book St. Petersburg” laureate, is one of its kind theater company in the world. During World War II older generation had been polishing their artistic skills on the front line.

-People sometimes ask us: what sort of performances did you have back then, with bombs exploding, shootouts, having no heat, no light, when people were dying of hunger, when the only food supply equaled 125 grams?! –tells one of the actresses Olga Nesterova. –I remember we would have very little to eat in a hospital, just enough to keep us standing. And while on stage, there was only one thought that kept bugging me: I hope I don’t faint from hunger! And once the performance was over, a few soldiers would approach and ask me whether I was afraid to loose my voice after singing in -30C freezing cold weather. And I would pose a question in return: “Aren’t you afraid  to loose your lives?!”

 Russia’s honored artist Olga Nesterova has been awarded two “army achievement” medals. She is almost ninety years old. Another honored actress Galina Semenchenko is ninety five! Every other name is a legend!

The Theater from Blockade company is often referred to as the “undefeated theater.” It has its own dedicated audience that will follow the theater’s program despite the distance. The theater does not charge any admission fee. All the actors, majority of whom make ends meet, are working for FREE!

-Theses were some misunderstandings at first. Some even laughed at us saying: what kind of theater company is this?! All actors are old… and the topic is redundant—war, blockade!…” – says art director of the theater Makar Allatov. –Our theater is still popular nonetheless. We have had 1500 performances in 10 years!

About seven years ago, we were invited to Paris and had tremendous success. Two years afterwards, we traveled to New York. Unfortunately, we do not tour much in Russia; the reason is quite simple—lack of resources.

Once, after one of the performances Moscow’s spokesman in St. Petersburg Victor Savichev stepped onto the stage and said: “What a wonderful theater! Why don’t you come to Moscow with us?” Petersburg’s officials proclaimed in turn: “No-no, no Moscow; this theater is our pride!”

Vladimir Zheltov
Photo made by Kirill Kudryavtsev

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