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 April 16

There is a predominant concept in improvisation which is “Yes, and!” The idea is that if your partner presents an idea, your job it support the idea and add to it. Barrel of Monkeys embraces this concept in all of… More

Where are my props?!?!

Posted by Mary T on April 15

Listen. Come a little bit closer. Lean in close to your computer monitor or laptop or teeny tiny phone screen or large computer-sized phone screen. I’m going to tell you a secret. Here it is: Barrel of Monkeys runs… More

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

Read more in the Monkey Blog

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