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Preview: Diary of an Expat at Newcastle Alphabetti


Paper Smokers/Fumatori di Carta presents:
Diary of an Expat
Newcastle Alphabetti Theatre
Tuesday 2nd – Friday 5th April 2019

Performed by Cecilia Gragnani
Directed by Katharina Reinthaller
Written by Cecilia Gragnani, Jvan Sica and Loredana de Michelis

a vital reminder of how destabilising Brexit will be for vast numbers of people who call the UK homeThe Stage

A comic story of the encounter between a modern migrant and London – a contemporary El Dorado craved by generations of young Europeans – Diary of an Expat looks at the road to becoming a British citizen, embracing a new nationality whilst staying true to your roots, and the knocks your identity takes when no country claims you as their own. From amusing miscommunications to bewildering legal technicalities, Cecilia delves into the day-to-day of living in a country that can’t pronounce your surname.

When she arrived in the UK from Italy nine years ago, with a suitcase full of hopes, dreams and bags of pasta, Cecilia’s mission began: trying to become British whilst remaining deeply Italian. She started her exciting life abroad with thrilling adventures, a successful career and a vibrant urban lifestyle… kind of. Now, after numerous dubious jobs and weird encounters, Cecilia finds herself alone among the chaos of multi-ethnic, glamorous London whilst navigating the ever-present uncertainty of Brexit. Now turning her desires into reality has become a titanic endeavour as the European dream of life abroad slowly drifts away.

Writer and performer Cecilia Gragnani said, “The experience of the expat is fundamentally a lonely one. While interviewing many expats, I understood that, even among those who had settled in a community and felt part of it, the common feeling was a sense of loneliness. With this show I wanted expats like me to feel less lonely, to have their stories heard, to have a show where they could identify with the character, where they could see themselves and their journey, and perhaps feel less lonely afterwards. 

“I wanted to try and portray these weird creatures who have taken control of the British Eden according to some political propaganda. We live in a society where we are encouraged to fear those who are different from us. I believe the opposite is necessary and that if we put ourselves in someone else’s shoes we can nurture empathy. I hope this show will create a dialogue between immigrants and native communities. This is not a critique of life in the UK, it’s an exploration of life in the UK from the perspective of a European who arrived welcomed, ended up being barely tolerated and might have no other option but to leave.”

Cecilia Gragnani (pronounced gra-GNa-ne), is a proud Italian and devoted supporter of AC Milan. She came to the UK in 2008 to study at Drama Centre, and since has been working in the UK and Italy as an actress and singer. She founded Fumatori di Carta in Italy in 2008, and it became London-based international storytelling collective Paper Smokers in 2014. Their work includes theatre, music, installations, visual arts and film.

Katharina Reinthaller is a director and dramaturg who trained at University of Vienna and with StoneCrabs Theatre Company. Directing work includes the Scotsman Fringe First award-winning Labels (Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Theatre Royal Stratford East, Adelaide & Perth Fringe, Singapore Fringe, University of North Carolina), Ölum ve Kiz/Death and the Maiden (Millfield Theatre, The Arcola Theatre), Every Day (University of Arts Wimbledon), To She or Not to She (Lyric Hammersmith), A Gaggle of Saints (The Albany Studio), Fascination (Miniaturists Festival), Tortoise Redux (RichMix, The New Wolsey Theatre Ipswich).

On The Web:

Cast & Creatives:
Performed by Cecilia Gragnani and Steve Wickenden (voice over)
Directed by Katharina Reinthaller 
Written by Cecilia Gragnani, Jvan Sica and Loredana de Michelis
Set design by Rasa Selemonavičiūtė     
Sound design by Neil McKeown

Movement director Mala Cherga Theatre

Running Time: 60 mins
Suitable for ages 14+
Tickets are ‘Pay What You Feel’

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