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

Two new characters join That’s Weird, Grandma!

Posted by Joe on June 10

The Coo-Coo Lady and OG Granny join the cannon of characters that have entertained audiences at the Neo on Monday nights! Check out these two gals! Crazy Lady By Eukyirah W., Morton School of Excellence Once there was a woman… More

Grandma’s back, back again!

Posted by Joe on June 05

The wait is over! That’s Weird, Grandma is back with a runlist pumped with 2014-15 school year favorites! Check out this “all thriller, no filler” runlist: Elsa and Anna and the Attacking Zombies by Ameena W., Super 7 Program at… More

Read more in the Monkey Blog

“BOM provides a unique opportunity for students to show various talents while reinforcing the writing curriculum.”

–Jennifer Parise, Columbia Explorers Academy