DARREN YORKE

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"I have always struggled to define myself. I've often just said 'I work in the arts'. At a push, I'd have always described myself as a Jack of all trades and a master of none, because so many things have excited me. More recently, I primarily describe myself as an improviser — not because I fancy myself a particularly excellent improviser in performance, but because I'm constantly thinking in improv terms.


I'm curious. I'm observant. I'm empathetic, energetic and enthusiastic. Optimistic. Intuitive. Innovative. I'm in the business of making things happen. 


Humans are layered. I'm always prospecting.

Ideas are an ocean. I'm always at swim."

CAREER SUMMARY

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


Darren hails from Co. Longford, and has primarily been based in Dublin since he enrolled at Trinity College in 2009. He graduated with a BA(Hons) in Drama & Theatre Studies in 2013 and moved to Canada in 2014, where he quickly discovered his passion for improvisational theatre in working with Vancouver Theatresports™. He trained extensively and performed with VTS until 2016, igniting a curiosity, and an insatiable appetite for making things happen.


Since moving home in 2016, Darren has pursued intensive training opportunities, both at home and abroad, which have proven themselves indispensable to the innovation of Grand Stretch — including an 8 Day  masterclass in improvisation with Keith Johnstone in Berlin. A fusion of Johnstone’s improvisational philosophies and the highly theatrical style he trained in at VTS and  have formed the cornerstone of Grand Stretch. 


Darren's travel and training pursuits have proven themselves indispensable to the innovation of Grand Stretch, extending to his ongoing training of Grand Stretch Players, the learning experiences of everyone he engage with in WORKSHOPS, and the elevating quality of our PRODUCTION.


Darren's most recent learnings include:

  • Life is a game of Hot and Cold
  • Everyone knows something you don't know
  • Now is the most important time in the world


PHONE:   +353 85 785 2448 

EMAIL: DARREN@GRANDSTRETCH.COM

IMPROVISATION

While working with Vancouver TheatreSports™  from 2014-2016, Darren trained extensively in their highly theatrical style of improvisation and performed as part of their ensemble. A fusion of this style and Keith Johnstone’s improvisational philosophies formed the cornerstone of Grand Stretch.

VANCOUVER THEATRESPORTS™ (2014-2016)

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While based in Canada from 2014-2016. Darren held a position on Vancouver TheatreSports™ administration team as their initial Improv Comedy Institute (ICI) & Outreach Programmes Coordinator — a role in which he:

 

  • Collaborated on the inaugural policy, course design and admin system for the Improv Comedy Institute
  • Established a cohesive voice for the ICI in marketing, customer relations, workshops and showcases
  • Facilitated workshop programmes at The Improv Centre, ICI Studio, and False Creek Community Centre
  • Executed daily admin procedure for the ICI
  • Shared production responsibilities for VTS festivals, special events, including opening night galas


He has since maintained a close relationship with the company, and has been fortunate enough to benefit from the continued support and mentorship of Jay Ono (Executive Dir.), Denise Jones (former Artistic Dir.), and Margret Nyfors (Dir. of Education).

INTENSIVE TRAINING

A fusion of VTSL’s style & philosophy and Keith Johnstone’s IMPRO method formed the cornerstone of Grand Stretch. The company has been a member of the International Theatresports Institute (iTi) since launching in 2017. Grand Stretch is currently the only Irish company licensed in the practice and production of THEATRESPORTS™, and recently obtained a licence to produce MAESTRO™ at the Smock Alley Theatre's Scene + Heard 2019.


In 2018, Darren had the opportunity to participate in an 8-Day Masterclass with Keith Johnstone in Berlin. As creator of THEATRESPORTS™, MAESTRO IMPRO© (or MICETRO© IMPRO), GORILLA THEARE™, and THE LIFE GAME©, Johnstone has been a pioneer of improvisational theatre. As author of two best selling books about his Theatre and Improvisation theories and practices, Johnstone is one of few internationally recognised authorities in the field of improvisation.  


Later that year, Darren went on to participate in a residential 8-Day intensive at the Danish National School of Performing Arts with Steen Haakon Hansen and Patti Stiles - two prominent teachers of Johnstone's Method with a focus on the staging and performing of IMPRO. He also had an opportunity to train  that same year.


While based in Vancouver, Darren was also an active member with Vancouver’s Queer Prov (AKA The Queer Improv Society), and a frequent player with The Fictionals Comedy Co

EDUCATION & TRAINING

TRINITY COLLEGE DUBLIN (2009-2013)

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BA(HONS) DRAMA & THEATRE STUDIES 


Course included: Theatre Studies (various modules), Acting (Advanced), Playwriting (Advanced), Directing (Advanced), Devising, Clowning (with Raymond Keane), Dance Theatre (with Michael Keegan Dolan), Technical Theatre, Drama & Community, and Theatre Management.

INTENSIVE TRAINING (2014-present)

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  • Vancouver Theatresports™ (various instructors) — Core Series, various Improv Gym Intensives and Performance Series at the Improv Comedy Institute, and Rookie League Seasons 8-10 
  • Theatre Lovett (Louis Lovett & Muireann Ahern) — Playing for your Audience (5 Days) with The Abbey Theatre, Dublin
  • Annie RyanCommedia dellarte (3 x 5 Day intensives)
  • Keith JohnstoneMasterclass in IMPROVISATION (8 Days) with Interkünst e.V., Berlin
  • Steen Haakon Hansen & Patti StilesBeyond Keith Johnstones Methods (8 Days) with DDSKS, Berlin
  • Anna NewellEarly Years Performing Training Pilot Project (2 Weeks) with Civic Theatre, Dublin
  • The Showstoppers (Andrew Pugsley & Chris Ash) — Improvising Musical Theatre (5 Days), London
  • Armando Diaz — 'What You Need' and 'Ensemble' (Weekend Intensive) with Lower The Tone, Dublin
  • Shawn Kinley & Nadine AntlerTheatreSports™ (Weekend Intensive) with ITI & Steife Brise, Hamburg


Notable improvisers he has enjoyed training and performance opportunities with include: Joe Bill (co-founder of Annoyance Theater), Isaac Knox, (Freestyler and Battle Rapper) and Leon Düvel (Die Gorrilas). 


Noteable companies he has enjoyed training and performance opportunities with include: The Hideout Theatre (Austin TX), SAK Comedy Lab (Orlando FL), Dad’s Garage (Austin TX), The Upfront Theatre (Bellingham WA), Curious Comedy Theater (Portland OR), and Off Key Improv (Vancouver BC).

THEATRE

PERFORMANCE ROLES

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IMAGE: Bakru Productions' Bloody Bones | Smock Allies Scene & Heard 2018


  • Bloody Bones (Dir. Laura Bowler at Smock Allies Scene & Heard 2018 | Barku Productions),  
  • A Fairwell Concert of Sorts (Dir. Darren Yorke at XYYVR),  
  • A Talent For Lying (Dir. Sarah Bradley at Chancery Lane Theatre | Octopus Soup),  
  • On Raftery’s Hill (Dir. Laura Bowler at The Samuel Beckett Theatre),  
  • The Last Post (Co-Dir. Darren Sinnott & Liadain Kaminska Ní Bhraonáin | Just The Lads Theatre Co.),  
  • Tis Pity She’s A Whore (Dir. Selina Cartmell at The Samuel Beckett Theatre),  
  • The Broken Heart (Dir. Selina Cartmell at The Samuel Beckett Theatre),  
  • College of Clowns (Dir. Raymond Keane at The Samuel Beckett Theatre), 
  • The Complete Works of William Shakespeare Abridged (Dir. Billy Higgins at The Samuel Beckett Theatre, later revived by Dublin Shakespeare Festival),  
  • Amadeus (Dir. Clancy Flynn at The Samuel Beckett Theatre),  
  • Portia Coughlan (Dir. Laura Bowler at The Samuel Beckett Theatre),  
  • A Stain (Dir. Cameron Macauley at Players Theatre),  
  • Spring Awakening (Co-Dir. Ellen Flynn & Ciara Ní Chuirc at Players Theatre),  
  • The Penny Drop (Dir. Cristín Keogh at Players Theatre),  
  • Rhapsody Above Thomas Street (Dir. Liam McCarthy at Players Theatre),  
  • Sive (Dir. Therése Prendeville at Players Theatre),  
  • A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Dir. György vidoevski at The Abbey Theatre, Peacock Stage | National Association of Youth Drama)

CREATIVE ROLES

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IMAGE: Ciarán's Aisling | Irish Student Drama Awards, 2012


  • SMALL TALK at The Teacher's Club (2019) - Playwright, Director, Sound Design
  • IN A HOOP at Backstage Theatre (2017)
    - Playwright, Director, Sound Design
  • A Fairwell Concert of Sorts at XYYVR (2016)
    - self-produced/directed solo cabaret, featuring an original songbook by Darren Yorke
  • On Raftery’s Hill (Marina Carr) Dir. Laura Bowler at The Samuel Beckett Theatre (2013)
    - Actor, Sound Design & Original Composition
  • The Last Post at Dublin Fringe Festival | Just The Lads Theatre Co. (2013)
    - Devising Actor, Original Composition, Musician
  • The Blind (Maurice Maeterlinck) at The Samuel Beckett Theatre (2012)
    - Director, Sound Design & Original Composition, Musician
  • The Holy Trilogy at Players Theatre (2012)
    - Playwright, Director, Sound Design & Original Composition, Musician
  • Ciarán’s Aisling at Players Theatre (2012)*
    - Playwright, Director, Sound Design & Original Composition, Musician
  • Above and Below at Players Theatre (2011)
    - Playwright, Director, Sound Design & Original Composition, Musician
  • Siempre Viva (2010)
    - Playwright, Director, Sound Design & Original Composition, Musician    


*Ciarán's Aisling was first presented at Players Theatre, where it was chosen to represent TCD at the Irish Student Drama Awards in 2012. There, it was nominated for 7 awards (including Best Production, New Writing and Sound Design). It was later supported in development by the Fishamble New Play Clinic and presented as part of the 10daysindublin festival at Smock Alley Boys School (2013)

MUSIC

MOST WOULD (I NEVER WILL) | Written for Laura Bowler's production of Marina Carr's On Raftery's Hill at The Samuel Beckett Theatre (2013). 

"Verses and chorus were threaded throughout, often sung in three-part harmony by the women of ORH and accompanied by Ded's fiddle. It was never intended to be one 'song' but, as no recordings exist from the original production, I have recorded this arrangement purely for my own amusement." - Darren Yorke

THE BLIND

Original Demo recordings (2012):

  1. THE HYMN | Written by Darren Yorke, performed by Ellen Flynn, Kayla Flynn and Dayna McKeirnan
  2. DEATH OF AN AUTHOR | Written by Darren Yorke, performed by Ellen Flynn
  3. HAPPY, TOGETHER AND OLD | Written by Darren Yorke, performed by Maeve O'Mahony and Meadhbh O'Rourke


FILM & TV

BobO (2013)


Starring Darren Yorke and Andrew Hanley | Written by Sam Horgan and Oliver Nolan | Directed by Sam Horgan


Edited by Jenni Roche | Produced by Sara Reilly | Cinematography by Oliver Nolan | Sound & Original Score by James O'Leary

THEATRE: ORIGINAL PLAYS

SMALL TALK (2019)

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A play for young people, in one act. 

Written & Directed by Darren Yorke

IN A HOOP (2017)

IN A HOOP written and directed by Darren Yorke

A One-Woman Circus. 

Written & Directed by Darren Yorke

Starring Kate Finnegan

THE HOLY TRILOGY (2013)

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A play in three acts

Written & Directed by Darren Yorke 

  • GYM FLOORS AND ALTERS
  • TOOLS AND THE VOCATION
  • CATHEDRALS AND GALVANISED CEILINGS

CIARÁN'S AISLING (2012)

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A musical play in two acts.

Written by Darren Yorke

Directed by Darren Yorke & Jennie Fennell

ABOVE AND BELOW (2011)

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A musical play in two acts.

Written by Darren Yorke

Directed by Darren Yorke & Jennie Fennell

SIEMPRE VIVA (2010)

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A comic play in one act.

Written by Darren Yorke

Directed by Darren Yorke & Jennie Fennell