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

Visit the Moon with That’s Weird, Grandma!

Posted by Joe on January 26

Tonight, a very special story joins That’s Weird, Grandma! THE ASTRONAUT by Jimmy S., Morton School of Excellence There was a little boy who wants to go to outer space to see the moon but his mom said he… More

Halloween in January

Posted by Kassi on January 20

The Super 7 Girls of Willa Cather Elementary love scary stories. And we are having a great time adapting those spooky tales into thrilling plays. In “The Day it was Halloween” by Nakiya B., the tension build will have you shaking… More

This week in TWG, birds have a hard time

Posted by Joe on January 16

Wing Attack! And Tragic Fireworks both bring hard times for birds this week! Check out Wing Attack! and Tragic Fireworks on our story archive! Say “Then I did what I was born to do. ” to Ambar at the box office… More

Read more in the Monkey Blog

“The residency exceeded my expectations! The monkey teachers were wonderful and their enthusiasm was contagious.”

–3rd Grade Teacher, Lorca Elementary