Tristan Bates Theatre

Diary of an Expat

Paper Smokers present 


by ​Cecilia Gragnani, Jvan Sica & Loredana de Michelis 


24th - 27th April 

7:45pm (Saturday matinee at 1.30pm) 





Cecilia conquers London. Kind of.

Faced with the possibility of having to leave her home of ten years, Cecilia Gragnani is sharing her personal experience and testimonials of others to ask: what does it feel like to be an expat? 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.

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).



We are making our show as accessible as we can, by offering captioning technology directly to audience members' own mobile devices, via the The Difference Engine from Talking Birds. A discrete tool for making events and performances accessible to deaf, hard-of-hearing or partially-sighted audience members by delivering captioning or audio description direct to their own mobile devices.

Download the free app here


Funded by Arts Council Englad 



Expat Cecilia Gragnani

London Steve Wickenden



Writers Cecilia Gragnani, Jvan Sica & Loredana de Michelis

Director & Dramaturg Katharina Reinthaller

Set Designer Rasa Selemonavičiūtė

Sound Designer Neil McKeown



Gragnani is a very engaging performer. This is one of those rare productions that makes you think long and hard about a subject, without even realising it’s had that affect on you. THEATRE WEEKLY ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


A heartfelt and poignant production. LONDON THEATRE 1 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


Comical and touching at the same time, Diary of an Expat is an entertaining piece for British citizens, expats, and everyone in between. YOUNG PERSPECTIVE ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


Best Fringe Shows for Brexit Satire. There is a faint Weimar feel to Diary of an Expat; a passing era of European tolerance under threat. These Brexit dramas all delivered wonderfully in their own way. If we can’t make Britain great again, we can at least make it funny. THE SCOTSMAN


A vital reminder of how destabilising Brexit will be for vast numbers of people who call the UK home. THE STAGE




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Tickets are non-refundable and non-transferable. Please arrive at least 15 minutes before the performance begins. We cannot guarantee entry to the performance once it has begun. The Actors Centre reserves the right to refuse entry.




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