Barrel of Monkeys Productions

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Barrel of Monkeys (BOM) is an arts-education and theater ensemble based in Chicago that works in under-served Chicago Public Schools.[1] Founded by Erica Halverson and Halena Kays in 1997, BoM consists of actors, musicians and teaching-artists that run in-school residency writing workshops, an after-school program and a weekly public performance, That's Weird, Grandma. The company works with elementary students in writing workshops, later adapting the students' original works to the stage.[2]


Barrel of Monkeys was founded by Halverson and Kays shortly after their graduation from Northwestern University, where both were involved in Griffin's Tale. Beginning with one Albany Park school, Halverson and Kays expanded their creative writing workshops to "40 public schools, mostly underfunded, on the South and West sides."[3] After the six-week residency, in which the students transition from group writing to individual writing, Halverson and Kays would then organize performances of the students' work to take place at the schools.

That's Weird, Grandma [edit]

Barrel of Monkeys also runs a public performance, That's Weird, Grandma, which consists of a rotating selection of the company's favorite children-authored plays.[4] That's Weird, Grandma is performed in the Neo Futurarium, well known as the home of the Neo-Futurists, an experimental Chicago Theater company.

Partnering Schools[edit]

For the 2009-2010 school year, Barrel of Monkeys worked with a dozen Chicago elementary schools, as well as a Loyola Park after-school program.[5]


The company of Barrel of Monkeys consists of


  1. ^ "Chicago Public Schools Informational Television Programming". Archived from the original on 2012-03-04. Retrieved 2019-10-11.
  2. ^ Chicago Theater Blog, 2/16/2010
  3. ^ Chicago Tribune. "Child's Play October 14, 2009.
  4. ^ Chicago Tribune, 10/14/2009
  5. ^ Barrel of Monkeys program, Celebration of Authors 2010

External links[edit]