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 after-school program in partnership with the Chicago Park District 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 expressiona dn 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).

From the Blog: School Programs

The Monkey Minute!

Posted by Amanda Farrar on March 26

Three years ago, Barrel of Monkeys had the wonderful opportunity to offer our arts education program as part of Super 7, an after-school program for girls at Willa Cather Elementary created by singer-songwriter, composer, and record producer Janelle Monae. Barrel of… More

The Monkey Minute!

Posted by Amanda Farrar on March 18

After teaching creative writing residencies in a Chicago Public School or the Chicago Park District, teaching artists collect the students’ notebooks and share them with several of the company’s ensemble of professional actors and musicians. Together, the teaching artists,… More

The Monkey Minute!

Posted by Amanda Farrar on March 11

In each and every school show since Barrel of Monkeys’ inception in 1997, one or more student-written stories have been adapted into song for the stage. Multiply that by upwards of 15 original school shows each year, and you have a couple… More

Read more in the Monkey Blog

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–Ed Rutherford, Centerstagechicago.com