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 objectives are to:

  • teach fundamental creative writing skills;
  • provide consistent and nurturing attention to each student over a sustained period of time ;
  • build each student’s confidence in self-expression, self-esteem, and writing skills;
  • perform high quality, professional theater to the students we serve and the broader community;
  • and form lasting partnerships.

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.


A radically kind Chicago that champions children’s ideas.


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 Monkey Minute!

Posted by Amanda Farrar on March 04

Do you ever wonder how we put together the stories that are performed in That’s Weird, Grandma? How do we pick just a couple dozen stories from 17 years of incredible student-written stories? How do we showcase a range of… More

TWG: The Musical opens Sunday, reprised on Monday!

Posted by Joe on February 27

I can’t begin to explain how great this cast and crew is that is bringing you That’s Weird, Grandma: The Musical this Sunday and Monday! I can’t begin to explain to you what this special show is… More

The Monkey Minute!

Posted by hpalmer on February 25

We love the monkey blog. We love how it provides snippets of rehearsals, sneak peeks into upcoming shows, and some pretty amazing photos. To enhance the wonder that is this blog, beginning next week, we will be introducing a series… More

Read more in the Monkey Blog

“I think Barrel of Monkeys is good for kids to respect each other and yourself. I also think it help kids learn more.”

–-Darnell, 5th grade, Dewey School of Excellence