Barrel of Monkeys (BOM) is a 501(c)3 tax-exempt nonprofit organization. Our arts education theater ensemble works with some of the most under-served students in Chicago. BOM achieves its mission by:

  • teaching fundamental creative writing skills;
  • providing a safe and supportive learning environment;
  • building self-esteem and confidence in children;
  • adapting stories written by children for the stage by professional actors;
  • and presenting a smart, funny theatre experience.

Mission Statement

Barrel of Monkeys (BOM) is an ensemble of actor/educators who create an alternative learning environment in which children share their personal voices and celebrate the power of their imaginations. BOM accomplishes this through creative writing workshops and in-school performances of children’s stories. BOM also engages the broader community in support of the visions of children through public performances of their work.


BOM strives to build a community that champions the vision of every child. Our goal is to use creative drama and writing exercises, coupled with professional performance, to validate children’s ideas and help them to build self-esteem. Studies show that increasing confidence in self-expression and writing skills in 3rd-6th grades lays a strong foundation for long-term improvement of literacy skills and interest in the arts.


BOM’s programming is comprised of three branches: our in-school residency program, an after-school program, and public performances. While each of these branches of our programming is essential to our mission of empowering the youth of Chicago with their creative voices, our school residency program is the core work of our organization.

From the Blog

The Holiday Round Won’t Be the Same Without…YOU!

Posted by Marika on December 11

If you are anything like me, you grew up loving the holidays.  Eating great food (I’m talking to you, cranberry sauce in a can), seeing your favorite relatives, sleeping in…  Hopefully, during these festive gatherings, nobody made… More

That’s Weird, Grandma: THE HOLIDAY SPECIAL

Posted by Joe on December 05

Here comes Granny Claus, Here comes Granny Claus… It’s the most wonderful time of the year: the holiday round of That’s Weird, Grandma! Here are the incredible stories that will be featured on Monday! THE SEVEN PENGUIN’S… More

Read more in the Monkey Blog

“...part pep rally, part musical theater extravaganza—and one of the most real, uplifting and engaging theatrical experiences in town.”

–Lucia Mauro, ChicagoTheater.Com