Residency of Sabir Project Collective, presented by Tolfama – International Festival of Improvised Arts in partnership with Improvizza! Malta Improv Festival & Mahdia Improvise

“Stimulating Interconnectedness Among Mediterranean Cultures”


“Present improvisation shows that contribute to the promotion of intercultural dialogue" - this is the main objective of the SABIR PROJECT residency, hosted in Valletta as part of the second edition of the IMPROVIZZA! Malta Improv Festival (which will be held from the 21to 24 of September). This objective takes into account the potential of improvisation as a performing art on social, cultural, and artistic levels.

Following a two-day artistic residency, our EFFEA Artists will welcome the audience at Spazju Kreattiv on Saturday, 23 September, at 8:00 p.m. to witness their improvised theatre show "We Are All Sabir." Additionally, on Sunday, 24 September, from 10:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., members of the collective will conduct the workshop "Active Re-acting: Improv for Life, Business, and Arts," designed to explore the enchanting world of improvisation from different aspects.

Sabir, formed in 2016, is a collective comprised of 15 improvisers from 8 Mediterranean countries: Malta, Italy, Spain, Turkey, Greece, Tunisia, Algeria, and France. Their EFFEA residency is supported by three improv festival partners, including Improvizza! Malta Improv Festival (Malta), Tolfama International Festival of Improvised Arts (Italy), and Madhia Improv Festival (Tunisia). The word Sabir refers to a lingua franca that was an unofficial blend of languages used in the Mediterranean basin between the 11th and 19th centuries for commercial transactions and diplomacy. It was common among slaves and primarily based on Venetian and Spanish, borrowing from Berber, Turkish, French, Greek, and Arabic terminologies. The Sabir Project offers a chance to utilize social improv as a unique tool to enhance the social empathy of our society, promoting a new model of united and inclusive diversity. It uses shared foundations as a springboard to encourage cultural diversity through the power of improvisational theatre.

The improvisers come from diverse backgrounds and spontaneously create stories in the moment. They all hail from Mediterranean countries, each with distinct cultures and different languages, yet sharing a strong historical and rooted connection. They believe that this diversity constitutes their most valuable heritage. As privileged individuals capable of presenting stories on stage to a live audience, they hold a social and ethical responsibility to ensure these stories are inclusive and impactful, thus altering the narrative that perpetuates limiting stereotypes in favour of building powerful human connections. Sabir is very excited to be organising this residency in Malta, which, being geographically situated in the middle of the Mediterranean, perfectly symbolises the richness of the melting-pot that is the Mediterranean Sea and encapsulates the cultural diversity that exists in the area, drawing us together to share our experiences.

All SABIR partners will participate in a residency at Spazju Kreattiv from 21 to 24 September, as part of a significant collaboration agreement underwritten by the project.