Barrel of Monkeys’ workshop and performance model puts students’ ideas first. BOM facilitators conduct weekly creative writing workshops in Chicago Public School elementary classrooms over six-week periods and at our Loyola Park after-school program in partnership with the Chicago Park District all year long.

The goals of our program are to:

  • Teach students fundamental creative writing skills which support the efforts of classroom teachers.
  • Provide consistent and nurturing attention to each student over a sustained period of time by providing a team of BOM facilitators.
  • Build student confidence in self-expression, self-esteem, and writing skills by providing workshops that create a safe and supportive place to explore thoughts and ideas.
  • Perform high quality, critically-acclaimed theater to students we serve and the broader community.
  • Form partnerships that allow students to further their personal artistic expression and personal development.

Since our inception in 1997 we have worked in 46 Chicago Public Schools. More than 7,000 lower-income elementary school students have participated in the BOM programs that provide a rare opportunity for creative expression and build literacy skills, self-esteem, and confidence in student ideas and abilities.

In an effort to reduce the many obstacles that stand in the way of writing stories, making plays, and using imagination, we ask that students not focus on spelling and grammar while they craft their work.  We ask that you keep this in mind when you delve into their masterpieces.

We also offer professional development workshops to classroom educators!  We offer workshops on teaching playwriting, ensemble-building theatre games, teaching empathy in the classroom, and of course integrating the Barrel of Monkeys method into the classroom.

For more information about our in-school residency, please contact .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

For more information about our After-School Program or professional development opportunities please contact .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

A Barrel of Monkeys educator reading a student's story

“It's a blast... Indulge your inner child (or bring one) and check these folks out.”

–Ed Rutherford, Centerstagechicago.com