Macha Monkey Productions

fearless, funny, female theatre


Macha Monkey in Seattle Schools

Monkey Works: empowering students to create a play

For more information, please contact Ann Marie at

This program is supported, in part, by a grant from the Washington State Arts Commission (also known as “ArtsWA”) and the National Endowment for the Arts.

About Monkey Works

Monkey Works is a two-month playwriting and performance residency for 3rd through 5th graders that integrates theatre arts with a social studies topic. Past topics have included land rights, suffrage, immigration, labor, and the U.S. election process.


Thanks to generous underwriting from the Washington State Arts Commission (ArtsWA) and past support from King County Arts Commission, Monkey Works was created over a period of five years with Charlene Smith-Brown, a classroom teacher at Seattle’s Hawthorne Elementary School.

2009 marked the first year that Macha Monkey tested its curriculum with a second pilot school – Thornton Creek at Decatur. Macha Monkey aims to bring the program to additional Seattle schools. If you would like to discuss bringing Monkey Works to a school near you, contact Macha Monkey's Education Director Ann Marie Caldwell at

What distinguishes Monkey Works as an educational experience?

  • Cooperative learning – Monkey Works scholars collaborate to write their play as a group
  • Student agency – through journaling, students explore issues of identity and everyone contributes to the final play script
  • Media literacy and reading fluency – these key skills are improved by Monkey Works through current events and historical research and repeated oral practice
  • Respect for students’ past experiences – cross-cultural competency and reflective practice are cornerstones of Macha Monkey Teaching Artist training
  • Native language incorporation, English learning through family involvement – all students receive interview assignments to involve their own households in the playwriting process; Macha Monkey includes native tongues in a Monkey Works script when English is new to a student, a proven method for language learning
  • Dialogue – students learn to put themselves in another’s shoes, meeting important OSPI writing benchmarks at the same time
  • Bodily-kinesthetic intelligence – theatre helps students excel in many areas, and brings out talents that aren’t often discovered in the classroom