Barrel of Monkeys Partners with Chicago’s Best Performing Arts Companies & Artists for All New CHICAGO’S WEIRD, GRANDMA October 27 – December 1, 2014

TWG_497-497x425Just when you thought Monday nights couldn’t get any better, Barrel of Monkeys is partnering with some of Chicago’s best performing arts companies and artists for its third iteration of CHICAGO’S WEIRD, GRANDMA, directed by Artistic Director Molly Brennan, playing Mondays at 8 pm from October 27 – December 1, 2014 at the Neo-Futurist Theater, 5153 N. Ashland Ave. in Chicago. Each week, a different guest artist or company will bring their unique talents to transform stories written by Chicago Public School students into entertaining sketches incorporating puppetry, sketch comedy, clowning, music, dance and other disciplines. For tickets, reservations and information visit or call (312) 409-1954.

This year’s guest line-up will be announced shortly. Each guest artist or company will choose from original stories from Barrel of Monkeys’ in-school residencies and adapt them into unique performances. Barrel of Monkeys ensemble members will round out each performance with a rotating line-up of sketches from their long-running revue, THAT’S WEIRD, GRANDMA. Clever and funny – touching and poignant – the collection of short sketches are equally entertaining for adults and children. The line-up changes each week by audience vote, so no two shows are ever the same. Past guest companies and artists include About Face Theatre, Bailiwick Chicago Theater, Jessica Hudson, The Hypocrites, Jyldo, Lookingglass Theatre, Manual Cinema, The Neo-Futurists, Noah Ginex Puppet Company, Steppenwolf Theatre and others.

Barrel of Monkeys, a Chicago-based arts education theater ensemble now in its 18th season, conducts creative writing workshops with 3rd through 5th grade students in underserved Chicago Public Schools. The ensemble of actor-educators then turns their stories and words into professionally performed theater, presented both in-school and for the general public through its revues. Barrel of Monkeys annually performs more than 300 student-written stories for the students in their schools and 175 stories on the stage for the general public.

Barrel of Monkeys’ long-running signature revue, THAT’S WEIRD, GRANDMA continues its summer run on Monday nights at 8 pm through September 1, 2014 followed by the THAT’S WEIRD, GRANDMA: Back To School Edition playing September 8 – October 6, 2014.



Written by: Chicago Public School Students

Adapted for the stage by and featuring: Barrel of Monkeys Company Members and weekly guest companies/artists (to be announced).

Director: Artistic Director Molly Brennan

Location: Neo-Futurist Theater, 5153 N. Ashland Ave. in Chicago

Dates: October 27 – December 1, 2014

Press performance: Monday, November 3 at 8 pm.

Tickets: $12 for adults; $6 for children under 12. Tickets are available at or by calling (312) 409-1954.

About the Director

Molly Brennan, a Barrel of Monkeys company member since 1999, has held a variety of positions in the company, including actor, teacher, lead teacher, director and artistic associate. She was named Artistic Director in 2011. Brennan is also a Company Member of 500 Clown, and has performed in Chicago and toured all over the country. Her recent acting credits include: American Mixtape at Second City, The Life and Death of Madam Barker at Red Tape Theatre, Second City’s Guide to the Opera at Lyric, Lookingglass Theatre’s Peter Pan, A Play and Lookingglass Alice; and Harpo Marx in Goodman Theatre’s Animal Crackers. She has also performed with About Face Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre, The House Theatre of Chicago, Lifeline Theatre and Factory Theater.

About Barrel of Monkeys

Since Barrel of Monkeys’ inception in 1997 it has worked in 60 Chicago Public Schools. More than 8,000 lower-income elementary school students have participated in the Barrel of Monkeys programs that provide a rare opportunity for creative expression and build literacy skills, self-esteem and confidence in student ideas and abilities.