SOUTH KAZAKHSTAN – A dance theatre, Turkestan Concert Hall and a new drama theatre building will be opened in the South Kazakhstan Oblast this year in response to President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s call to give new impetus to the development of Kazakh culture. Head of the regional department of culture Kuliya Aidarbekova elaborated upon cultural revival in the region.
What are the more recent achievements and priorities in your work?
The growth of our budget allows local executive authorities to pay close attention to culture. Good funding equals successful and bold plans. Suffice it to say that last year, 2.5 billion tenge (US$16 million) was allocated for these purposes. This is a huge sum and it enables us to implement many projects and solve a number of problems pertaining to art and culture.
Thus, in 2013, thirteen cultural objects were reconstructed. Within the state programme Employment 2020, 120.8 million tenge (US$776 thousand) was allotted for the repair of three cultural centres in the Tyulkubas and Shardara districts, and 349.6 million tenge (US$2.246 million) was earmarked from the regional budget for the overhaul of the J. Shanin Kazakh Drama Theatre and the N. Ondassynov Museum. More than 20.7 million tenge (US$133 thousand) was spent on repairs of the regional opera and ballet theatre and the Y. Altynsarin Youth and Children’s Library. Thirty two rural culture centres need repair; 5 of them are in very poor condition. This year, 327 million tenge (US$2.1 million) was allocated for the overhaul of four rural culture centres.
Along with repairs, new cultural institutions are actively being built in the oblast. Which of them are the most important, in your opinion?
In my opinion, the most important institution is the long-awaited Otyrar Regional Universal Scientific Library. It was built in the new administrative and business centre of Shymkent. In the past year, seven new major cultural centres opened, one of which is the exhibition centre near Otyrar library. A new universal library opened in Turkestan. Additional buildings were constructed for the oblast museum for the memory of victims of political repression and for the oblast circus. Recently, Yerlik Regional Museum opened its doors. In 2014, we plan to expand it for the 70th anniversary of the Victory in the Great Patritic War and open a new hall. Another unique facility is Nauryz Square.
To the best of my knowledge, there are eight regional theatres in South Kazakhstan. Recently, it was announced that another dance theatre will be built
Last year, regional theatres staged 45 new performances. Income increased by 20 percent and amounted to 91.67 million tenge (US$589 thousand). Ninety five concert tours were organised, including in the capital. For example, the Theatre of Humour and Satire presented its newest plays to Astana audiences, which were praised by critics.
Our theatres participate in all national festivals and win prizes. We have become accustomed the success that seems to befall Russian and Kazakh theatres. In 2013, the Uzbek Theatre, the Theatre of Humour and Satire and the Opera and Ballet Theatre won prizes at national festivals. The choir of the Opera and Ballet Theatre won first place at the Bakhytzhan Baikadamov national contest. Its artists successfully participate in international competitions. Soloist Aruna Kassymbekova won the Grand Prix at the International Competition in St. Petersburg and took second place at a festival in Italy. Yerlan Zhandarbay showed his skills by participating in Kazakhstan Culture Days in Vietnam and Belarus.
Shamshi Kaldayakov Oblast Philharmonic organised 176 concerts and concert tours last year in 15 districts and cities to reap a profit of 14 million tenge (US$90 thousand). Last year, Shamshi Kaldayakov musicians Aida Zhurmanova (kobyz) and Nurbol Aliyev (dombra) presented Kazakhstan national art in 16 U.S. states as part of the Golden Gates Project.
Singers and dancers of the Philharmonic participate in national events and shows. Thus, the Kazyna ensemble is the winner of the folk dance contest Baik, which is held in Ufa. This choreographic team worthily represented the region at the national television competition Aiymaqtar Alamany in Astana. The jury and famous artists highly appreciated their art and expressed gratitude to the oblast akim (governor). Then, the idea to open a theatre of dance was advanced. However, it should be mentioned that this idea had long been under consideration, because choreography is well developed in the region.
Oblast museums also cooperate on the international level; this promotes Kazakhstan’s image and heritage.
There are 1,217 historical, cultural and architectural monuments in the oblast. Last year, 17 objects were discovered and presented to the public. We submitted paperwork to the regional government on getting 100 of these monuments added to state monument registers.
Last year, 229 travelling exhibitions were organised by 24 museums and two art galleries. As a result, museums were replenished with more than 5 thousands new exhibits.
Regional museums began to cooperate with their foreign counterparts. In 2013, the oblast historical museum participated in numerous exhibits in Germany and participated in an international exhibition in Ukraine.
Also last year, the first scientific expedition was organised to the Tanbaly Tas in the Suzak district where 122 artefacts from the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries were found, including tools made of stone.
The President, in his state-of-the-nation address, called for the creation of a long-term plan for cultural policy. Do you have any proposals for it?
In the state-of-the-nation-address, culture received special attention. We have many causes and projects. One of them is issuing disks of and books on mellow folk music and kyuis from the auls (villages). During special expeditions, about 300 of these traditional songs were collected.