Barrel of Monkeys (BOM) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization in its 20th year. We provide arts education programs to students aged 7-13 throughout Chicago, focused on storytelling, theater, and social-emotional skills.

Our objectives are:

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

Our Mission

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.

Our Vision

A radically kind Chicago that champions children’s ideas.

Our Programming

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.

View our 2014-15 Annual Report

From the Blog

Young People Get It.

Posted by Corinne on November 11

Our students are young, but they are not naïve. They know exactly what took place at the ballot box this week, and inside each of their brilliant minds are opinions and questions and hopes and fears about the future. … More

Monkey Movies: An Interview with Jen Johnson

Posted by hpalmer on September 14

For the past year, Barrel of Monkeys Company Members Jen Johnson and Matt Miller have been working on an exciting project that takes some of our favorite student-written stories and adapts them to the medium of film. Both have been… More

Read more in the Monkey Blog

“Audiences can sense that all of the actors are having a great time and giving it their all during the show. Best yet? It's perfect for all ages.”

–Dennis Mahoney, Centerstage.net