On January 27, 2016, the day of the 72nd anniversary of the full Siege Lifting, we congratulate our respected audience and pay tributes to our colleagues who had lived through the tragic siege days. These are People’s Artist of Russia Galina T. Karelina, Distinguished Artist of Russia Arkady N. Volgin, Distinguished Artist of Russia Vera N. Velyaminova, actresses Tamara P. Kolesnikova, Ludmila S. Lyubimova; chief curator of the funds Elvira P. Smirnova, radio and noise engineer Grigory I. Barinov, and cleaning lady Tamara N. Tashchina. The Alexandrinsky Theater traditionally holds various festive events for the employees who had survived the siege: concerts of the young company members, memorial soirees, tours around St. Petersburg and suburban museums. This year, a trip to the Gatchina Palace was organized for the siege veterans.
During the years of the Great Patriotic War, the Leningrad Pushkin State Academy Theater, then directed by L.S. Vivien, was evacuated to Novosibirsk where is had performed on the stage of the “Red Torch” Theater. Front teams of actors, affiliated with the theater, had been organized under command of N.K. Cherkasov and K.V. Skoroboagtov, along with a front branch of the theater under command of People’s Artist of RSFSR E.P. Karyakina; they traveled to the field army and hospitals to present concert programs. Actors A.F. Borisov and K.I. Adashevsky presented their program “Fire on the Enemies.”
During the siege, performances of the Theater of Musical Comedy had been played on the stage of the Pushkin Theater. The theater had turned into a true home to people; it had saved many lives. More than 200 individuals had lived inside the theater building. These were employees who did not go to evacuation for various reasons: 39 actors, stage workers, personnel of auxiliary shops. Since the siege years, there still is an old stove on the theater premises. Director of the theater was Nickolay V. Levitsky, former career officer of the Tsar’s Army. During the siege, he was appointed Commander of the local anti-aircraft defense headquarters. To a big extent it was thanks to his efforts that the theater building and people living and working in it had managed to survive the dreadful 900 days of the siege.
In the summer of 1944, the company of the Pushkin Theater returned to Leningrad and resumed its performances on their native stage in the fall. On November 21, 1944, the theater started its new season with Ivan A. Krylov’s comedy “A Lesson for the Daughters” with brilliant comedienne actors Ippolit Novsky, Augusta Kozlova, and Ekaterina Korchagina-Alexandrovskay in the leading roles.
*In the picture: N.K. Simonov, E.T. Zhikhareva, A.G. Belousova, participants of the “Guilty with No Guilt” performance in a hospital.