What is Grand Stretch?


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

  • Providing life-enhancing learning experiences in the arts for all ages & abilities, supporting artistic expression, and inspiring a culture of creativity
  • Cultivating a diverse community of improvisers in our 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?


In brief, 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 working in improvisational theatre since 2014. Whether he's facilitating Grand Stretch Workshops or Directing and Performing in Grand Stretch Productions, Darren's year-round ambition is to put the 'Grand Stretch' in everyone's Evenings. And Mornings. And Noons. And Late Nights. As he's known to say himself, it's all to play for!

For a more in depth look at Darren's profile, follow the link below.

Darren Yorke | Full Bio

Who is Grand Stretch?


To learn more about The Grand Stretch Players, follow the link below.

The Grand Stretch Players

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 bright-side. It's clear skies. It encapsulates times of positive change in our attitudes to sport, and play, and taking risks and making things happen. 

Why the Tag Line?


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. It underlines the values we aspire to in 'Grand Stretch', and we find ourselves saying it all the time.

Why the Washing Line?


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