The PlayfulEdge
Improvisation for Wellbeing

About us


Here at the Playful Edge we believe in a radically different approach to personal development. Rather than working at it, we play.

The Playful Edge is a partnership of professional improvisers and facilitators. We practice staying perfectly present in the moment – and acting accordingly.

Many of the obstacles in life exist only in our own minds. Improvising gets us out of our heads. From this vantage point we rediscover how to connect again with ourselves and others. We learn to say yes. We develop responsive, empathetic behaviour. We discover our own individual charisma and can even find ourselves more attractive to others. Ultimately we find well-being, that illusive place of being comfortable and happy with ourselves.

Oh, yes – and we have a lot of fun!

Our Playshops will help you build the confidence, relationships and well being that is the antidote to an increasingly busy and disconnected world. So if that’s what you’re looking for, then stop thinking about it, and come and get The Playful Edge!

Who we are


Darius McStay

My life today is a testament to improvisation and play. As a professional actor I’ve been fortunate to play in London’s West End and all across Europe and Asia. As a speaker I work throughout education training teachers and students alike to approach learning as play. You can also find me regularly improvising with my troupe, 'Seen at 10.28' on London’s comedy circuit.

My passion is helping people connect and engage with each other and what they do with happy enthusiasm. For me, the best feeling in the world is putting a smile on someone’s face. Whether it’s visiting schools training teachers and motivating students, or performing comedy, it’s all about approaching life playfully.

Playing is the secret to the best learning, the greatest confidence and living with a robust sense of well being.

Darius McStay studied acting under scholarship at the Drama Studio London and to degree level at Birmingham University. He trained in Improv at The Free Association, the UK’s premier improv school. He has been a freelance corporate coach and impact presenter since 2010.


Maeve Ryan

As an actor I know that experimenting with physical choices can build a character from the outside in. This idea is immensely useful: physical choices provided an easily triggered ‘way in’ to experience. These ’ techniques allow us to become more instinctive and less 'in our heads'. They can be life-changing.

One evening in 2005, I saw a troupe perform an entire production with no script. I was fascinated – these actors were using psychophysical techniques instantaneously, in a stressful environment – in front of a live audience! Yet they appeared as calm as a summer's day. They also seemed to be having fun. They appeared to be using a deep connection with the other actors on stage to stay present and alive. I was hooked on live improvisation, and became an avid student of The Spontaneity Shop London who teach the methods of seminal improvisor Keith Johnstone. Nowadays, Keith Johnstone's games and experimental workshops are the foundation of improvisation teaching at drama schools all over the world.

Today I regularly perform improv live in London, having cut my teeth as a founder member of one of the UK’s most successful improv troupes, Upstairs Downton. I have continued my improv training with US improvisers The Second City.

I am passionate about how making a physical choice and connecting with others through play can affect outcomes instantly. You too can use physical choices and games to change your life. How empowering an idea is that?

As a facilitator, I have had the immense privilege to work with children and adults across education, theatre, business and on behalf of Westminster’s award-winning charity Dream Arts. I have used both improvisational and psycho-physical acting techniques in many ways both personally and professionally and I am keen to share these techniques with you.

Maeve Ryan studied Acting under scholarship at the Arts Educational School, London. She also has a MA in Drama and Theatre Studies and a BA in English, Sociology and Politics from the National University of Ireland, Galway.


Dr Amanda Bolt

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