Your NPR news source

Molly Brennan named new artistic director of Barrel of Monkeys

SHARE Molly Brennan named new artistic director of Barrel of Monkeys

The acclaimed Chicago-based arts education theater ensemble, Barrel of Monkeys, has named Molly Brennan as its new artistic director, effective September 1st.

The company made the announcement in a press release on Wednesday.

Brennan is a longtime company member and acclaimed actor who is best known for bringing a dynamic mix of physicality, facial elasticity and childlike glee to her work.

You might remember her for her roles in various 500 Clown productions, where she is also a company member, or for her recent turn as Harpo Marx in the Goodman Theater’s production of Animal Crackers. Brennan also has appeared in productions at Lookingglass, Steppenwolf and About Face, among others.

“I am honored to step into a leadership position among a group that excels at what they do,” said Brennan in the company’s press release. “I so completely support BOM programming and am excited to expand the connection between the work of our students and the Chicago theatre-going audience. We’re going to bring the thunder!”

Brennan replaces Luke Hatton, who is moving with his family to California. Hatton served as artistic director of the company since 2008.

Barrel of Monkeys conducts writing workshops with students from underserved schools and parks in Chicago, turning the stories they gather into professionally performed theater productions, including their popular show That’s Weird, Grandma.

The Latest
As her three-year tenure comes to a close, Jessie Montgomery reminisces over her time with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and shares her inspirations.
Some residents and business owners are happy to see the traffic and noise leave and for the community to regain access to green space. Others are sorry to lose the excitement and crowds.
The festival will be exiting Douglass Park after a 10-year run that has been plagued by controversy in recent years.
The festival’s co-founder, Mike Petryshyn, shared the announcement in a video posted to social media and on the festival’s website Tuesday evening. The new venue will be announced Wednesday morning with this year’s lineup.
On Thursday, the orchestra will perform a final work from Montgomery — the grace note on her wildly prolific three-year run as the city’s adopted new-music superstar.