|History of Cultural Center|
The cultural life of Sillamäe in the end of XIX and the beginning of XX century was quiet interesting. If you go in the direction of Narva by Tallinn highway, there will be a bus stop “Perjatsi” around 500 meters away from the town. On the right side stands a big building that was used for household needs. But in the beginning of XX century it was a real cultural center of the town and its surroundings. The national house was located there. The initiator of building was a brass band of Vaivara settlement with its first leader and director of national house Aleksandr Veltpea. The orchestra gave concerts and the received money was spent on construction of national house.
In 1910 the construction was finished. On the first flour there was a club, auditorium with 400 sitting places, and buffet. On the second floor were located a bank, accounts department, hall for rehearsals, Blue Ribbon army and sport society. The local people organized a theatrical company which contained quiet a lot of local intellectuals. One of the first plays performed was “Brownie” by Eduard Wilde. In 1926 amateur artists put on a stage “Samson and Delilah” by H. Raudsepp. With time a philharmonic orchestra and choirs were being created. The audience of national house applauded to choir “Vanasõtke”, singers from village Perjatsi of Vaivara borough. In 1935 the national house received a diploma for its 25th anniversary.
In the middle of XX century a cultural life of Sillamäe gets a second wind. Quiet a lot was destroyed during the war. People had to start with what was left. Near the bay was lactated building of light construction (Matrosova street). During the war it used to be a club for German soldiers where they used to have a rest and watch movies. The cinema equipment was left after the war, trophy movies were found, and the first settlers of a village used to watch here movies in the evenings.
In 1947, when young specialists from vocational schools of different parts of Russia started to come to our town, the administration of a factory with Nikolai Sazonov and Pyotor Pecheritsa in chiefs decided to reequip a German hut into a club, which was open in 1948. That was how the club “Workman” appeared, which was named “Coastal” by locals. Valentina Zyryanova was the manager of a club, cinema operators were Anatoli Velichko and his student Zinaida Kirillova.
The leader of amateur art activities was invited from Leningrad. It was Dmitri Mihailovich Alekseev – an actor, a man with a big knowledge of theatrical art. All amateur’s participants with a big interest listened about his meetings with beloved and famous artists of Russia. His first helper in arranging of drama class was Valentin Maksimov, who in 1950 became the first director of “S.M. Kirov’s” House of culture.
At the same time a choir and dance bands started their activity. D.M. Alekseev was in charge of everything. The never changeable accompanist was Evgeni Mihhailov. Drama class staged plays, prepared sketches for concerts, which took place quiet often during that time. The dancer Anatoli Avdeev and singers Nina Gorshkaleva, Nadezda Kuzina, Rafia Anikeeva were invariable participants of those concerts. The house was always full. The administration of factory also visited concerts. Cinema was shown almost every day in the club, the dancing nights were held by putting benches near the walls. From 1949 theatrical artists and ensembles from Leningrad started to come on tour in our town. In club “Workman” (“Costal”) was placed a library which contained technical as well as fictional books. In vestibule of a club were held book exhibitions and in the same building studied children of new-villagers.
As the population grew the club became too small. For the young people of a village it was the only cultural center where they could meet their friends, happily spend their time, and to have an interesting rest. Finally, in 1949 a new House of culture was built, it was named after S.M. Kirov. The grand opening was on the 6th of November. In a beautiful two-storey building were placed bands of amateur art activities. The light was glowing for a long time in rooms for rehearsals. Big and comfortable hall, two lobbies and a town library were never empty. Young people wanted to get new knowledge, never missed concerts and plays of local and artists on tour. In 10 years drama class became a national theater. Dance band “Suvenir”, which was under Vladimir Ilyich Zilber, received the title of national collective. On its top was brass band – fully equipped with regular rehearsals and concerts. Valeri Petrovich Zatyamin was leader of an orchestra beginning from 1960’es.
The members of amateur art activities were mostly young people from the last school years and students of miner’s college. The art life was in full swing during those days. There were a lot of thematic festive occasions, 8th of March, 1st of May, Victory Day, 7th of November, the New Year… It was necessary to prepare a special program for each fest. After festive demonstration the hall was crowded with people even the side doors were opened. Around a cultural center and inside of it the department of working supplying arranged the trade of sweets, drinks, and various pastries.
The program of a concert was prepared carefully. The art committee discussed every performance. The make-up man was invited if it was needed by a plot. He made Victor Romanov up, one of the leading actors of national theatre, who played Lenin. Once, even a gun of “Aurora” fired.
The dancing night was accompanied by variety orchestra, which had quiet interesting repertoire. V. Ivahnenko and after B. Martyanov were leading an orchestra. In House of Culture was located university of culture with music- and literary faculty. A lot of amazing actors, singers, poets, musicians and elocutionists graduated from there.
By the end of 1970’es House of Culture received the first category. The life was boiling up in those years and it was because there were working good specialists such as V. Zilber (leader of dancing ensemble “Suvenir”), V. Zatyamin (leader of brass band), E. Shule (conductor of a choir), and N. Lokatosh (art director). In this time the idea of thematic evenings of departments was born. Twice a year there was a competition between them. Every department of a factory, building departments, schools, kindergartens, and municipality were developing amateur art activities. Many of them afterwards joined the bands of the House of Culture.
Professional holidays were held in the House of Culture. Every thing started in June with the Day of Tradesman. Afterwards were held the Day of Fisherman and Neptune, which gathered crowds of people on the town’s beach. In the winter the whole town was gathering in the first pine forest for a Shrovetide (at that time it was called “Winter Send-off”). From the second part of 1970’es were held the holidays of the streets. Townspeople loved those holidays and actively participated in them. Another distinguishing feature of those times was the concerts and plays of professional actors. Every month two or three collectives were coming to our town. Our amateur artists were the most active on contests of North-West Zone. Tallinn, Sosnovy Bor, Moscow, Leningrad, Kirovo-Chepetsk – this is far not the full list of places where performed our artists. Reiterated winners of such contests were skiffle groups “Unost” (leader A. Ulitin), “Optimisty” (Leader V. Bolshakov), soloists Irina Pluut, Tatiana Vasilyeva, and Yuri Dudarev, and popular at those times our people’s theater. And, perhaps, the most important was that each event in those days gathered the full house.
Years went by. In every Life there are moments of happiness and gladness. We were witnesses of reorganization in the country; we went with the times together, and feel all what faced or nation on its way. Were hopes and doubts, ups-and-downs. But faith in goodness and in precious hearts, faith in wise solving of economic problems in social and cultural field by those whom society entrusted to take such decisions was always in the hearts of local people.
Victor Feofanov tells:” Working almost thirty years as a director of this institution I have a feeling of fellowship with wonderful people, who are devoted to the art, love their work and this hospitable house. I will not fatigue you with statistics and with what we are doing and planning to do. You can find everything on our website. But now I want to tell – come to us to your home. We will always be glad to see you!”