Barrel of Monkeys runs an after-school program at the Loyola Park Field House in Chicago’s Rogers Park neighborhood.

The goals of the program are to build our students’ confidence in self-expression and their enthusiasm for creative writing and performing. We began our program at the park in 2004, and each year it has grown. Many students in the program return year after year, and we are given the opportunity to build on the students’ skills, and tailor the program to the strengths and preferences of the participants. We now run 9-week long programs for three age groups (7–9 years old, 9–11 years old, and 11–13 years old) in the fall, winter and spring. The fall & winter programs culminate with a performance by the BOM ensemble. The spring program culminates with a unique performance where the 11-13 year old group performs alongside Barrel of Monkeys actors. All performances are made up of the stories, poems and plays written by the students in our program.

Each session is led by 2 trained Barrel of Monkeys actor-educators and includes games, group story writing, student performances and creative writing time. In past years, Loyola Park students have engaged with many different writing forms including: radio plays, acrostic poems, haikus, creative nonfiction, commercial jingles, monologues, science fiction and newspaper reporting. Participants in the program also explore many acting and performance techniques and learn the value of working as a supportive ensemble.

This video was created in collaboration with after-school program alum Del Sato. Enjoy!

To learn more about the Loyola Park After School Program, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

To sign up, contact Mary Hopkins at Loyola Park, (773) 262-8605.

“These are some of the funniest nonfamous people in the city... every time I see them they exceed my expectations.”

–Jenn Goddu, The Chicago Reader