Thursday, May 30, 2019

FREE THEATRE: Barrel of Monkeys’ THAT’S WEIRD, GRANDMA Tours Chicago Neighborhoods This Summer through Night Out in The Parks

ChiIL Live Shows on our radar

Barrel of Monkeys’ 

Tours Chicago Neighborhoods This Summer through Night Out in The Parks

An Original Sketch Show that is 
Written by Kids, Performed by Grownups, 
and Enjoyed by Humans

(left to right) Company members Kaylyn Carter, Nic Park, Carly Wicks, Brandon Cloyd and Bryan Bosque perform “IRS Moles” in Barrel of Monkeys’ revue THAT’S WEIRD, GRANDMA. Photo by Evan Hanover.

Here at ChiIL Mama & ChiIL Live Shows, we've been fans of these silly simians for well over a decade. Whether you're long time fans or have never seen Barrel of Monkeys (BOM) before, now's your chance to catch them for FREE through the Chicago Park District’s Night Out In The Parks initiative. Highly recommended hilarity. 

What's more fun than a Barrel of Monkeys? Free BOM shows in the parks!

Barrel of Monkeys is bringing its much-lauded sketch show THAT’S WEIRD, GRANDMA to audiences across the city this summer for a series of free performances through the Chicago Park District’s Night Out In The Parks initiative. The stories featured in THAT’S WEIRD, GRANDMA are written by Chicago elementary school students, adapted for the stage and performed by Barrel of Monkeys company members and directed by Artistic Director Brandon Cloyd. No reservations necessary. For additional information, visit

(left to right) Company members Carly Wicks, Gabriella Hirsch, Nic Park and Rachel Wilson perform “Glacier Living with Sharks” in Barrel of Monkeys’ revue THAT’S WEIRD, GRANDMA. Photo by Evan Hanover.

Now in its eighteenth year, THAT’S WEIRD, GRANDMA features adaptations of stories written during Barrel of Monkeys’ creative writing residencies in Chicago elementary schools. BOM’s ensemble of professional actors, comedians and musicians bring the young authors’ stories to life as raucous sketches, songs and movement pieces, performing first for students in their schools and then for the public. These stories – from hilarious dialogues between unlikely characters to poignant pleas for social change – resonate with adults while celebrating the imaginations of young people. 

(pictured) Company member Laura McKenzie performs “Piranhas Should Not Exist” in Barrel of Monkeys’ revue THAT’S WEIRD, GRANDMA. Photo by Beth Bullock Photography.

Performance Schedule:

Thursday, June 27 at 5:30 pm
Gladstone Park, 5421 N. Menard Ave.

Friday, June 28 at 6 pm
Oriole Park, 5430 N. Olcott Ave.

Tuesday, July 9 at 5 pm
McKiernan Park, 10714 S. Sawyer Ave.

Monday, July 15 at 10 am
Chicago Women’s Park and Gardens, 1801 S. Indiana Ave.

Tuesday, July 23 at 5 pm
Mann Park, 3035 E. 130th St.

Night Out in the Parks brings more than 2,000 cultural events to parks in Chicago's neighborhoods throughout the year.  Chicagoans and visitors alike, enjoy the breadth of world-class events in every one of the city's 77 community areas and all 50 wards.  

In its seventh year, the 2019 Night Out in the Parks series brings more than 1,200 events to neighborhood parks this summer, making community parks safe havens and hubs of cultural activity.  From theater performances and concerts to community workshops, nature-based programs, dance performances, festivals, and more, there is something for everyone happening in the parks!  

(left to right) Company members Gabriella Hirsch, Bryan Bosque and Kaylyn Carter perform “The Queen with No Friends” in Barrel of Monkeys’ revue THAT’S WEIRD, GRANDMA. Photo by Evan Hanover.

About the Director
Brandon Cloyd joined Barrel of Monkeys in 2007 and has been deeply involved in many facets of the company ever since. Prior to joining BOM, Brandon graduated from Northwestern University with a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre and a minor in Business Institutions. Within BOM, Brandon has served as an actor, teaching artist, lead teacher, a member of Teacher Corps, as well as directing shows for schools and public performances of That's Weird, Grandma. Before becoming the company’s Artistic Director in September 2017, Brandon served as BOM After-School Program Coordinator at Loyola Park from 2014-2016 and Program Director from 2016-2017. Outside of Barrel of Monkeys, he worked as the Associate Director of Camp Echo, where he has spent 13 summers managing campers and staff at a co-ed sleep away camp in Upstate New York. Brandon has worked with other theatre companies including Urban Theatre Company, American Theater Company, Filament Theatre, InGen Productions, ACLE's Teatrino in Italy and Purple Crayon Players at Northwestern University. Brandon recently joined the Board of Directors for the League of Chicago Theatres.

(left to right) Company members Ashley Bland, Raquel Torre, Brandon Cloyd and Oly Oxinfry perform “Dear Purse Landlord” in Barrel of Monkeys’ revue THAT’S WEIRD, GRANDMA. Photo by Evan Hanover.

About Barrel of Monkeys

Since Barrel of Monkeys’ inception in 1997, its teaching artists have served more than 60 Chicago Public Schools. Over 15,000 elementary school students have participated in the Barrel of Monkeys programs, which aim to build students' writing skills, improve self-esteem, and instill confidence in their ideas and abilities.

Barrel of Monkeys is sponsored in part by Wintrust Financial, Allscripts, Inc., Ernst and Young and Punchkick Interactive. It receives generous support from the Illinois Arts Council Agency; the National Endowment for the Arts; a CityArts Grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events; the Chicago Community Trust; Crown Family Philanthropies; Alphawood Foundation of Chicago; the Maurice R. and Meta G. Gross Foundation; Polk Bros Foundation; the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation; the Robert and Isabelle Bass Foundation, Inc.; The Saints; The Topfer Family Foundation, and many other generous individuals and foundations. 

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