The Novgorod Spaceship is a photo illustrated essay about the building of Novgorod Drama Theatre. The story reveals the process of discovery, talks at length about the building itself and about its original creator and his inspiration for designing such an unusual monument. It explains the process of construction during the days of relentless Soviet censorship. Above all, it is a story about the theatre's integration into people’s lives, the elitism of art and its persistent inability to fit in, while heroically trying to rise above common and mediocre tastes.
I had stumbled upon this little known, but supremely unique structure while working in Russia. Providence, curiosity, and passion enticed me to explore the theatre’s origins and to tell its story. Being utterly fascinated with the theatre I interviewed many people and later found it’s head architect Vladimir Somov who filled in many of the missing details.
I photographed the theatre in 2006. Not much has changed since then, except that the theatre made news in Russian due to the fact that Novgorod began talking about tearing it down. It has so far been decided that only the theatre’s stand alone tower, often used by Novgorod’s youth to commit suicides, was going to be demolished.
Andrei Rozen is a photographer and filmmaker. His work has been published in a variety of magazines around the world. Presently Andrei Rozen lives and works in New York city.