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CAREER SUMMARY

Darren Yorke is a maker, player and facilitator with a rich interdisciplinary practice in theatre and music. He is also an improviser, and the proud founder of Grand Stretch.


Hailing from Co. Longford, Darren 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, moved to Canada soon after, and worked with Vancouver Theatresports™ from 2014-2016. 


As coordinator for their education division and outreach programmes, Darren trained extensively in the company's unique philosophy and style of improvisational theatre, and performed regularly with their ensemble.


He has since pursued intensive training opportunities at home and abroad, which have inspired and continue to inform his practice. Most notably, Darren 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

IN MY OWN WORDS

I'd be hard pressed to define my occupation, for fear that saying "I am this" might suggest "I'm not that" — because God forbid I pigeon-hole myself into ever 'mastering' anything.


I often describe myself as a "Jack of all trades”, and while I’ve been told that I do myself a disservice in saying so, I beg to differ — not least because the complete phrase was originally “A jack of all trades is a master of none, but oftentimes better than a master of one”. And so, although it may call for a bigger business card, I’ll pride myself on a lack of ‘mastery’ in favour of the rich interdisciplinary practice I enjoy.

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.

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VANCOUVER THEATRESPORTS™ (2014-2016)

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

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TRINITY COLLEGE DUBLIN (2009-2013)

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.

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INTENSIVE TRAINING (2014-present)

  • 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
  • International Theatresports™ Institute Festival & Conference — 


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).

Darren Yorke's scripted theatre highlights

FINDING CHEM0 (2020)

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A song and dance about cancer

Story by Ailish Leavy

Written & Co-directed by Darren Yorke

presented in progress at Scene + Heard

SMALL TALK (2019)

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A real thinker, in one act 

Written & Directed by Darren Yorke

Devised with Dublin Youth Theatre

at The Teacher's Club as part of FYOAF

IN A HOOP (2017)

IN A HOOP written and directed by Darren Yorke

A One-Woman Circus

Written & Directed by Darren Yorke

presented in progress at Scene + Heard

 and full production at Backstage Theatre

PRE-PROFESSIONAL (2016)

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A farewell concert, of sorts

performed by Darren Yorke,

singing from his own songbook

at XYYVR, Canada

THE HOLY TRILOGY (2013)

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The roaring, mourning and adorning

 of St Mels Cathedral

Written & Directed by Darren Yorke 

with original songs / score by Darren Yorke

at duPlayers Theatre, Dublin

CIARÁN'S AISLING (2012)

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A family plot, with songs

Written & Directed by Darren Yorke 

with original songs / score by Darren Yorke

represented duPlayers Theatre at ISDA,  revived at Smock Alley Boys School for 10daysindublin

THE BLIND (2012)

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Maurice Maeterlinck's classic LES AVEUGLES

Reimagined & Directed by Darren Yorke 

with original songs / score by Darren Yorke

at Samuel Beckett Theatre, Dublin

ABOVE AND BELOW (2011)

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A family business, song by song

Written & Directed by Darren Yorke

with original songs / score by Darren Yorke

at duPlayers Theatre

SIEMPRE VIVA (2010)

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A death-defying comedy in one act

Written by Darren Yorke

Directed by Darren Yorke & Jennie Fennell

at duPlayers Theatre

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PERFORMANCE ROLES

IMAGE: Darren as Bloody Bones with Bakru Productions' | Scene & Heard (2018)


BOY in BLUE!  (Dir. Anna Newell, The Pavillion Theatre | currently touring Dublin)

THE ACT in PRE-FESSIONAL (Dir. Darren Yorke, XYYVR)

AIDAN in TALENT FOR LYING (Dir. Sarah Bradley, Octopus Soup @ Chancery Lane)  

RED in ON RAFTERY'S HILL (Dir. Laura Bowler, Samuel Beckett Theatre)

ENSEMBLE in THE LAST POST @ Dublin Fringe 2013 (Dir. Darren Sinnott, Erica Murray & Liadain Kaminska Ní Bhraonáin,  Just The Lads Theatre Co.)

POGGIO in TIS PITY SHE'S A WHORE | PROPHILUS in THE BROKEN HEART 

(Dir. Selina Cartmell, Samuel Beckett Theatre)

MAESTRO in COLLEGE OF CLOWNS (Dir. Raymond Keane, Samuel Beckett Theatre)

ADAM in COMPLETE WORKS OF WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE ABRIDGED (Dir. Billy Higgins, Samuel Beckett Theatre | Dir. Ali Hayes Brady, Dublin Shakespeare Festival)  

MOZART in AMADEUS (Dir. Clancy Flynn, Samuel Beckett Theatre)

SNUG in A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM (Dir. György Vidoevski at The Abbey Theatre, Peacock Stage | Youth Theatre Ireland, formerly NAYD)


Other major roles in student productions with duPlayers include: 

ROBBIE in STAGS AND HENS  |  SARGENT PLUCK in THE THIRD POLICEMAN (Dir. Liza Cox & Sam Ford)  |  JOHN in A STAIN (Dir. Cameron Macauley) | MARTY in PENNY DROP (Cristin Keogh) | DANIEL in RHAPSODY ABOVE THOMAS ST (Dir. Liam McCarthy)  |  MIKE in SIVE (Dir. Therese Prendeville) | ERNST in SPRING AWAKENING (Dir. Elle Flynn & Ciara Chuirc) | LAURENCE in ABIGAIL'S PARTY (Dir. Hariet Colton)

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BEHIND THE SCENES

IMAGE: The cast & crew of Ciarán's Aisling | Irish Student Drama Awards (2012)


In addition to writing, directing and performing on many of these productions, Darren's other 'behind-the-scenes' credits include:


FINDING CHEMO (work in progress at SCENE + HEARD) — Producer, Musical Director, Choreographer, Vocals, Musician, Sound Design, Graphic Design

SMALL TALK — Sound Design, Choreographer

IN A HOOP — Producer, Sound Design, Graphic Design

PRE-FESSIONAL — Producer, Musician, Choreographer, Sound Design

ON RAFTERY'S HILL — Sound Design, Musical Director, Original Composition

THE LAST POST — Devising Actor, Original Composition, Musician

THE BLIND — Producer, Sound Design, Original Composition, Musician

THE HOLY TRILOGY — Producer, Sound Design, Original Composition, Musician

TWELFTH NIGHT + AS YOU LIKE IT — adapted plays, Director, Producer

CIARÁN'S AISLING — Producer, Sound Design, Original Composition, Musician

ABOVE AND BELOW Producer, Sound Design, Original Composition, Musician

SIEMPRE VIVA — Producer, Sound Design & Original Composition, Musician


Darren was producer on the following productions during his time at TCD:

THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF DISSOCIA (Dir. Sarah Joyce, Samuel Becket Theatre),

THE 24 HOUR MUSICAL (Players), and CLOUD NINE  (represented Players at ISDA). He also composed songs for THE FRESHERS' CO-OP  in 2011, 2012, 2013.

MUSIC

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

"The many verses were threaded throughout, in broken three-part harmonies, by the women — accompanied by Ded's fiddle. It was never intended to be one 'song', but I recorded this arrangement purely for my own amusement." — D

THE BLIND

DEMO recordings of original songs, written and accompanied on piano by Darren Yorke for his production of The Blind (2012)

1. THE HYMN with Ellen Flynn, Kayla Flynn and Dayna McKeirnan

2. DEATH OF AN AUTHOR with Ellen Flynn

3. HAPPY, TOGETHER AND OLD with 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