Construction of seven theaters is currently under way in Ashgabat and administrative centers of four regions. Erection of the country's main "temple of dramatic art", the State Academic Drama Theater named after Mollanepes, will be completed this October. French Bouygues company acts as a contractor of the theater construction. A true "parade" of housewarming parties in the theaters built by local construction organizations (in Dashoguz) and Turkish companies (exceeding US $ 50 mln) is expected in Mary, Turkmenabat, Balkanabat and Dashoguz cities in 2006.
Theaters that introduce a younger generation to the world of dramatic art will also change their addresses. Finishing works have been kicked off at the construction of new buildings of Turkmen State Puppet Theater and Turkmen National Youth Theater named after Alp Arslan in Ashgabat. According to a decree by Turkmen president Saparmurat Niyazov, contracts for the construction of these facilities worth US $ 15 and 17 mln respectively were awarded to Turkish construction companies Polimeks and Gap Inshaat. The Ministry of culture and TV and Radio Broadcast of Turkmenistan was picked up as a principal of construction which is financed at the expense of the foreign currency reserves of the country.
A new puppet theater will be a real present to the country's children. It will be located in the territory of the park zone "World of Turkmen Fairy Tales", which is currently under construction. Having visited the Turkmen "Disney Land", children will get a rendition of the native land nature, have fan at numerous attractions and see "live" performance by the heroes of national folklore on the theater's stage. In fact, there will be more than one stage in the Puppet Theater with a total area of 7600 square meters. Performances can be simultaneously held in two halls for 300 and 200 seats. This is very important factor as the theater's repertoire boasts almost 40 plays.
Artists and staff of the country's youngest theater company (the Puppet Theater turned 15) rejoice together with children. At present, the theater uses premises of a former restaurant, the 8th temporal "lodging" of the theater. The artist and puppets will get a permanent residence in a two-storey building with towers and domes situated at a crossroad of large city highways: Garashsyzlyk and Oguzhan Avenues (near "Maral" shop). A square with fountains occupying 2,5 hectares of land will be planted in the adjacent territory.
Their colleagues from the youth theater company have the similar situation and the same happiness. The Turkmen National Youth Theater named after Alp Arslan (formerly the Young People's Theater) has nestled in an obsolete building of the former cinema for the last 35 years of its 40-year history. The theater's company is looking forward to moving to a beautiful 4-storey building with an area of 9000 square meters with the improved adjacent territory totaling 1,5 hectares in the Archabil Avenue (the most modern avenue in Ashgabat) to the southeast of the National Museum of Turkmenistan. The theater will also have two stages with halls for 800 and 200 seats. Besides, two revolving discs, 9 and 13 meters in diameter, will be installed on both stages with an area exceeding 300 square meters each.
It goes without saying that projects envisaged everything necessary for productive work of the companies and staff of both theaters. There are spacious make-up rooms with showers adjoining the stages, rehearsal rooms, audio recording studios, dress changing and sewing rooms, workshops to make decorations and puppets as well as service-technical support rooms and autonomous live supporting rooms in the basement.
The National Music Drama Theater named after Makhtumkuli that moved to a new building in Shevchenko Street, embellishing the historical center of Ashgabat, in the spring of 2004 was the "first signs" of the theater-construction openings in Turkmenistan. The Russian Drama Theater named after A.S.Pushkin opened its first season in a reconstructed Palace of Culture. Under a decree by the head of state, Turkish Polimeks also installed modern stage equipment there.
The total cost of social-cultural facilities built or under construction in the capital exceeds US $ 1,5 bln. Such exotic projects as the Ice Palace and Aerial Ropeway are no longer a surprise to residents of Ashgabat. There is nothing to be surprised at given that a 15 km artificial river with a cascade of waterfalls and a park zone planted along its banks will run across the city in one year.
As of now, my fellow countrymen get their evening dresses ready for the opening nights in new theaters. That is how we live today: from the day of laying to the day of inauguration of the facility. We got used to it...