05 Dec 2021

There's a Grand Stretch in the evenings for theatre in Longford

One thing we're not seeing in the evenings since the clocks went back is a grand stretch. But one Longford theatre-lover is about to change all that with a series of improvisation workshops in the Temperance Hall.

Grand Stretch is an improvisation-based arts company, set up by Darren Yorke, and inspired by the quintessentially Irish idiom ‘There’s a grand stretch in the evenings’.
“The phrase is generally heard as Spring turns to Summer, and daylight triumphs over nightfall. For me, it encapsulates a time of positive change in our attitudes to risk-taking,” Darren told the Longford Leader this week.
“I best associate the phrase with my grandmother, Rita McDermott – although, most of Longford might know her as 'Nanny Mac'.
“She has been a huge influence on my artistic endeavours to date, so it seems fitting that she inspired this one.
“In the case of Nanny Mac, ‘There's a grand stretch in the evenings', means 'Feck it, I’ll chance the washing. What harm if it rains? There's time enough yet for drying weather.'”
Darren is a multi-skilled improv performer and teacher, and a professional maker of theatre and music.
He holds a BA in Drama & Theatre Studies from Trinity College Dublin, and has been trained professionally by the world-renowned improvisational theatre company, Vancouver Theatresports™ League.
He also held the position of Coordinator for the Improv Comedy Institute – the official education division of VTSL – and VTSL's outreach programmes.
“Coming from a family of passionate educators, I have been committed to education, training and outreach throughout my artistic career,” said Darren.
“Grand Stretch is the combination of, and outlet for, all of my passions, whether with our Productions, Collaborations, Education Programmes or Training Opportunities, my year-round ambition for this company is to put a Grand Stretch in everyone's evening.”
Grand Stretch will be offering Drop-In Workshops at the Temperance Hall (Civic Suite) that give a feel for who the group are, what they’re all about, and what to expect from their Education Programmes.
These workshops will take place on Saturday and Sunday of this week, with slots for children all day on Saturday, and on Sunday afternoon.
There will also be a workshop for adults from 4pm to 6pm on Sunday.
“From 2017-2018, the company's sole focus will be our Education Programmes and Training Opportunities,” said Darren.
“Towards the end of our first year, we will establish an ensemble of improvisers who have successfully completed our education programmes.
“From 2018-2019, this ensemble will conceive, develop and/or present Grand Stretch Productions through improvisation in our style and philosophy.
“Year to year, this ensemble will reform. With each new season, we endeavour to embrace changes in our ensemble, the members it consists of, and the work we create and present.
It’s All To Play For!”

Grand Stretch will also be debuting a spectacular performance, 'In a Hoop' at the Backstage Theatre on Friday November 17. For more information on 'In a Hoop', see next week's Longford Leader.
Meanwhile, if you're looking for more information on Grand Stretch, or would like to sign up to one of the improvisation drop-in workshops taking place this weekend, visit

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