What is Grand Stretch?

Grand Stretch is an improvisation-based Irish Arts company that was founded by Darren Yorke in 2017, with a view to:  

  • Providing life-enhancing learning experiences in the arts for all ages and abilities, supporting artistic expression, and inspiring a culture of creativity
  • Cultivating a diverse community of improvisers in a unique philosophy and style of improvisational play
  • Producing and collaborating on works for live audiences that are conceived, developed or presented through improvisational play
  • Launching an Irish contingent of the International Theatresports™ Institute (iTi) – a global community of improvisers dedicated to supporting, developing, connecting and promoting the growing community of improvisers who work with Keith Johnstone’s improvisational techniques and formats (including the world-renowned THEATRESPORTS™, for which Grand Stretch is a licensed iTi member)

Who is Darren Yorke?


Darren Yorke is a multi-skilled maker of theatre and music, an improviser and improv teacher, and the founder of Grand Stretch

Darren hails from Co. Longford, and has primarily been based in Dublin since 2009. He holds a BA in Drama & Theatre Studies from Trinity College Dublin, and has been training extensively in improvisational theatre making since 2014. His most recent pursuits include a New Year's intensive in improvising musicals with the Olivier Award winning Showstoppers in London, a residential intensive in  with Steen Haakon Hansen & Patti Stiles in Denmark, and an 8-Day masterclass with Keith Johnstone in Berlin.

From 2014-2016, while based in Canada, Darren immersed himself in Vancouver BC's thriving improv community, and anchored himself at The  Improv Centre on Granville Island with Vancouver Theatresports™. For two years, he held a position as coordinator for VTSL's Improv Comedy Institute, and played as part of the company ensemble.

For further information relevant to Darren's practice, please visit:

Darren Yorke | Bio

Why 'Grand Stretch'?


'Grand Stretch' is inspired by a quintessentially Irish idiom:

‘There’s a grand stretch in the evenings’ echoes 'round the country as Spring breaks - when Summer is on your doorstep, and daylight triumphs over night. It’s the boring, obvious and unoriginal 'something-to-be-saying' that provides an honest platform for meaningful conversation. 

It's blue skies, and it's bright-side, and - in terms of the company name - 'Grand Stretch' encapsulates a time of positive change in our attitudes to sport, and play, and taking risks and making things happen. 

Our tagline - 'It's all to play for!' - is a favourite in rural Irish Bingo Halls. While it underpins a thrilling gamble in our improvisational approach, it also serves to embolden the company in our all-inclusive, leap-of-faith, sky's-the-limit values.


A Quick note on our Washing Line logo:

The company logo pays tribute to Darren's grandmother, Rita McDermott - the National Treasure best known to Longfordians as 'Nanny Mac'. Never one to heed a weather report, Nanny Mac decides on hanging out washing by the skies she sees above her. Forever in the moment (and never a one of them dull), Nanny Mac encompasses the values Grand Stretch continually aspires to. And fair play to her!