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

It’s the Most Wonderful Hashtag of the Year

Posted by Amanda Farrar on November 27

Why support Barrel of Monkeys through a donation for #GivingTuesday? For your viewing pleasure, we present this video featuring Sonya and Joanya in… Giving Grannies Donate Now! Thank you in advance for supporting the imaginations of children through a donation… More

Morton School show!

Posted by Rachel C. on May 19

I’ve always been incredibly fond of outer space and cats, so rehearsing for Morton School’s show has been an absolute blast. We’ve got a lot of outer space, and a lot of cats. Other themes we’ve… More

Haines Elementary School Show

Posted by Dan R on April 10

With all the firsts (and a few seconds) in this show, it’s time to get excited. It’s the first school show for BOM Teacher, Ashley Bland. She’s been teaching with us for a while now, but this… More

Read more in the Monkey Blog

“The most important thing I learned is that everyone can be a great writer—even me!”

–Freedom S., Lorca Elementary