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

Monica, you are literally the worst.

Posted by Joe on November 20

Do you need to brush up on your geography? Do you need to go to a party at Santa’s workshop? Do you like reindeer who love cake? Then this week’s That’s Weird, Grandma is for you! We… More

The Holiday Special is Finally Here!

Posted by Joe on November 15

(please read in your best “Newsies” voice) EXTRA EXTRA! Barrel of Monkey’s has started our “Holiday Special” round of That’s Weird, Grandma! Seven weeks packed full of too much turkey, grumpy elves, christmas balls, many Santas, candles burning… More

This Is A Wonderful Thing To Do

Posted by Joe on November 08

‘Tis the season when the entire world starts to think about that one magical winter holiday. The ads have begun, the department stores have hung their holly and bows, and every other house has replaced their pumpkin with twinkle lights.… More

Read more in the Monkey Blog

“Barrel of Monkeys was one of the best experiences of my life.”

–Darnisha, 4th Grade, Dewey Academy