The audience of Swan Lake show by the Saint-Petersburg State Academic Leonid Yacobson Ballet Theatre, which will take place at the Tovstonogov Bolshoi Drama Theatre on September 1, 2017, will include special guests: World War II veterans that served in the Arctic Convoys in 1941–1945. The ballet is to be attended by a large delegation of veteran convoy members and their descendants, 40 people in all, from Russia, the United States, Great Britain, Canada, and France.
During World War II, the Arctic Convoys sailed from Scotland and Iceland to the northern sea ports of the USSR in Arkhangelsk and Murmansk. There were 78 such convoys overall, traversing the northern seas from August 1941 to May 1945. As many as 1400 commercial vessels were tasked with delivering important military supplies to the Soviet Union under a land lease agreement.
August 31 is traditionally dedicated to honouring the memory of World War II Arctic Convoy veterans. It was on August 31, 1941, that Arkhangelsk welcomed the very first convoy of allied vessels. And on the very same day in 2014, a memorial celebrating the Arctic Convoy sailors was unveiled in the Bolshoi Smolensky Street in St. Petersburg, next to the Admiral Makarov State University of Maritime and Inland Shipping.
As a callback to this momentous occasion, the art director of the Yacobson Theatre will receive a miniature replica of the memorial before the show begins. This commemorative souvenir will be presented to him by the president of the Arctic Convoy St. Petersburg Regional Community Organisation, Yury Efimovich Aleksandrov, captain of the first rank and veteran of World War II.