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

Worsts and Bests Celebrated at That’s Weird, Grandma!

Posted by Joe on September 30

Learn about “the Worst Zoo” and some of the best BBQ at That’s Weird, Grandma on Monday! Check out a persuasive argument exploring the benefits of more BBQ in your life! Buffalo Joe’s Argument By Jamari J., Dawes… More

Here comes more Halloween stories!

Posted by Joe on September 24

Linsey Falls and “The Day it was Halloween” join this Monday’s That’s Weird, Grandma! The Day it was Halloween by Nakiya B., Super 7 Girls, Cather Elementary School It was Halloween the day people was scary people on a… More

Read more in the Monkey Blog

“I loved acting even though I am shy. Barrel of Monkeys realy helped me learn how not to be shy but fun and createive.”

–Kaela W., Avondale Elementary