Joseph Schupbach to End Tenure as Barrel of Monkeys Artistic Director

Barrel of Monkeys announced today that Joseph Schupbach will end his tenure as the company's Artistic Director later this summer.

Schupbach began his career with Barrel of Monkeys in 2005 and was cast as an ensemble member in 2007. Before his appointment as Artistic Director in 2014, he also served as the company's After-School Program Coordinator and Education Coordinator.

Schupbach is leaving to pursue an MFA in Dramatic Arts. He will continue his involvement with the company as an Emeritus Company Member, returning periodically to guest direct and perform in shows.

The company will be launching a search for Schupbach's successor shortly.

"Barrel of Monkeys is grateful for the many years of exemplary service and leadership Joe has shared with us, as well as his heartfelt dedication to our artists, audiences and students, comments Executive Director Corinne Neal. "Joe's commitment to cultivating new leadership within the organization and providing opportunities for young artists to develop professionally has left Barrel of Monkeys in a position of strength as we embark on the search for a successor. We wish Joe all the very best in his graduate studies, and look forward to entering a new era of artistic leadership built upon the rock-solid foundation he has laid."

Adds Schupbach, "I cherish all of the relationships, connections and experiences I have shared with this organization and artistic community. Barrel of Monkeys has been an artistic home to me for more than a decade, and I look forward to watching it continue to grow and thrive under the new leadership. While I am excited for this incredible opportunity at UC Davis, Barrel of Monkeys will never be far from my heart."

Barrel of Monkeys, a Chicago-based arts education theater ensemble now in its 20th 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.

Since Barrel of Monkeys' inception in 1997, its teaching artists have served more than 60 Chicago Public Schools. Over 20,000 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.

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