Barrel of Monkeys’ workshop and performance model puts students’ ideas first. BOM facilitators conduct weekly creative writing workshops in Chicago elementary school classrooms, grades 3 to 5.

In-school residencies last 6 weeks and are team-taught by 5 trained Barrel of Monkeys teaching artists.

The goals of our in-school arts education programs are:

  • To teach students fundamental creative writing skills which support the efforts of classroom teachers.
  • To provide consistent and nurturing attention to each student over a sustained period of time by providing a team of BOM facilitators.
  • To 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.
  • To perform high quality, critically-acclaimed theater to students we serve and the broader community.
  • To form partnerships that allow students to further their personal artistic expression and personal development.

Since our inception in 1997 we have worked in over 60 Chicago Public Schools. More than 10,000 elementary school students, primarily in low-income communities, have participated in the BOM programs that provide a rare opportunity for creative expression and build literacy skills, self-esteem, and confidence in students’ ideas and abilities.

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 integrating Barrel of Monkeys methods 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

“There is laughter, fun, joy in every step of the creative writing process in this program.”

–Elsa Carmona, Principal, Little Village Academy