Entering 2019, the company aspired to showcase Grand Stretch Productions at Smock Allies SCENE + HEARD festival, which introduced the first fourteen of The Grand Stretch Players (click names to view profiles):
The gang have since pledged their resounding commitment to developing professionally as The Grand Stretch Players over the 6 months that followed SCENE + HEARD, with a view to debuting the full potential of Grand Stretch Productions in September - our next milestone.
But we'll get into all of that another time. First, and foremost, it would be remiss of us not to profile our honorary fifteenth player...
Juliana grew up in Dublin and has been playing violin and piano since she was 6 years old. Having studied in Holland for 9 years, Julie holds a Bachelors Degree in Piano Performance and a Masters Degree in teaching according to the Kodaly concept in Den Haag. As well as performing classical music, she enjoys the exploration of improvisation in music, art and dance.
When Nora (of The Grand Stretch Players fame) suggested that her musical friend Julie musically accompany us for SCENE + HEARD, we had no idea what to expect - not because we doubted Julie's talents, but because we didn't know what impact (if any) live music would have on our work. Then, Julie arrived into our final rehearsals with a keyboard under one arm and a violin under the other, simultaneously plunging us to the depths of emotional truth and elevating our quality of play to sensational heights.
We cannot believe our luck, Julie. (Never leave us!)
Who will the next wave of The Grand Stretch Players consist of, you ask?
Well, your guess is as good as ours. Although, one thing we're certain of is that there will be no limit to The Grand Stretch Players. And we mean that not only in terms of what our players are capable of, but also in terms of terms of how many improvisers we can accommodate and provide opportunities for. Our policy is 'when you play like us, you play with us'. And guess what?! IT’S ALL TO PLAY FOR!
Now, how might you learn to philosophy and style of play?
Look no further than...
Are you a future Grand Stretch Player?!
Or, does the very thought of that terrify you?
Either way, you'll find that it's not all about the bright lights and opening nights. We practice a unique improvisational approach, staging techniques and a performance method that applies to and enhances all aspects of personal and professional life. So, whether you're the front-and-centre type of the hug-the-corner type, you have everything to gain.
(And if that hasn't won you over, we should also mention at this point that our workshops and programmes are an absolute barrel of craic!)
Ailish is a Dublin-based Theatre Maker who hails proudly from Laois. She holds a BA in Drama & Theatre Studies from Trinity College Dublin.
Aoibheann is a professional actor and facilitator with a BA in Drama and Theatre Studies from Trinity College, Dublin. Her recent stage credits include Maleficent in Sleeping Beauty with Wexford Opera House, Jane in From All Sides with Bitter Like A Lemon Productions, and A in Sad with The Abbey Theatre. She satisfies her competitive side (nature, nurtured from birth) by indulging in improv games... BUT ONLY THE ONES THAT DECLARE WINNERS!
Caoimhe is a graduate of NUIGalway and Gaiety School of Acting, and her most recent appearances on stage include her role as Bellhop in ARACHNOPHILIA at Dublin Fringe 2018, Julia in THE CHASTITUE at the Gaiety Theatre, Aisling in the world premiere of DUSK along with the dual roles of Realtin and Kate in Donal Ryan's SPINNING HEART.
Colm "Len" Lennon is from Bray (Bré). He writes, acts, and makes things up in front of people. He has studied at the Samuel Beckett Centre in Trinity College, at the Bow Street Academy for Screen Acting, and his most recent pursuit has been Grand Stretch. Recent work includes Down the Drain (Dublin Fringe 2018) and Love Á La Mode (Felicity).
Emily is a passionate Theatre Maker and facilitator based in Dublin, hailing from Tipperary. She Graduated in 2016 with a BA(hons) in Drama, and from Youth Theatre Ireland's Artstrain in 2017. She has since worked on many different projects, she's excited to be part of the Grand Stretch Players, and to delve into the unknown that is Improv.
Grace graduated from Trinity College Dublin in 2014 with a BA in Drama & Theatre Studies, which she admits to having used approximately 0% of... until rediscovering the creative performer in her through improv! She hails from Westport. Co. Mayo, and when not playing with Grand Stretch she works in an office, doing office-y things. She’s fond of a pub quiz and a bop. Preferably in quick succession.
Katherine Murphy is an avid improv fan and an incessant theatre-goer.
She currently works as the Administrator/Researcher with Irish Theatre Institute (ITI). She has worked with Landmark Productions, Brooklyn Web Fest, Day One and Dublin Fringe Festival since graduating with a BA in Drama & Theatre Studies from Trinity College Dublin in 2014.
Lorcan graduated with a BA Hons in Performing Arts from IT Sligo. He is also a recent graduate of ‘Acting for Screen’ (part time), at Bow Street Academy, Dublin. Most recently he played Tommy/Sickboy in Verdant and Reality Check Productions’ critically acclaimed TRAINSPOTTING at The Olympia Theatre. Previous to this he played William in PUNK ROCK at The Granary Theatre Cork. He also toured Ireland and the UK with Super Paua’s pioneering, multi award winning, AUNTY BEN - Ireland’s first LGBT play for young audiences.
Michael is a Theatre Maker from Clare based in Dublin. He holds an MFA in Playwriting from The Lir Academy of Dramatic Art. Michael finds a freedom in exploring story improv with Grand Stretch.
Nora Kelly Lester is an actor, director and theatre maker from Dublin. She was artist in Residence at the New Theatre in 2016 where she co-created and directed new works Pink_Milk , Olympia and The Assassination of Brian Boru (which toured nationally in 2014). She has toured with Dead Centre as an assistant director on Chekhov’s First Play and Hamnet.
Since graduating from Trinity College Dublin in 2014, Orla has passionately collaborated in communicating and shaping theatre narratives through costume. She continues to expand both her Irish and international career co-creating stories in costume design.
Hailing from Bray, Co. Wicklow, Ricky holds a BA in Drama and Theatre from Trinity College Dublin. Upon graduating, Ricky (in his own words) 'promptly sold out and moved into the glamorous world of tech' and 'practices improv to try and feel like a part of [his] soul still exists.'
A Dublin native, Roisín grew up by the sea, and a love for theatre has always run deep in her. She only really discovered the importance of play and fun in her 20s, and is certainly making up for lost time. Róisín works with children and young people in Barretstown, and as a facilitator with the Soar Foundation. She found improv when actively hunting out more methods of (to quote her) 'socially acceptable play for so called "adults".'
Simon is a facilitator and performer with experience in presenting, writing and producing content for stage and screen. Simon is also working as a teacher and a freelance facilitator, as well as creating music with Fragrance O’Neill and his solo project Toké O’Drift.