Monkey Bars was an award-winning verbatim show developed out of conversations with over 40 children aged between seven and 10, conducted by Karl James (director of The Dialogue Project and co-director of Tim Crouch’s work).

The candid conversations focused on moments of transition and change; on being scared, getting lost, being brave, growing up; and on their perspective on the adult world that surrounds and awaits them.

Writer/director Chris Goode and an ensemble of six actors worked with full transcripts of these conversations, carefully reshaping the children’s exchanges to create around them a variety of adult characters and situations.

Reframing the dialogues by transplanting them into the world of grown-ups, Monkey Bars offered an adult audience a revelatory insight into what children are trying to tell us about their lives that we don’t always hear.

The show premiered at the 2012 Edinburgh Fringe Festival, where it won a Fringe First Award and subsequently sold out runs in Edinburgh and London.

You can buy the text of Monkey Bars from our publishers at Oberon.

Monkey Bars

Created by Chris Goode & Company
Writer/Director/Sound – Chris Goode
Dialogue Artist – Karl James
Designer – Naomi Dawson
Lighting Designer – Colin Grenfell
Production Manager – Helen Mugridge
Producer – Ric Watts
Cast – Philip Bosworth, Angela Clerkin, Jacquetta May (2012), Christian Roe, Gwyneth Strong, Cathy Tyson (2013), Gordon Warnecke

A Chris Goode & Company and Unicorn Theatre co-production
Co-commissioned by Warwick Arts Centre and The Brewhouse
Supported by Jerwood Charitable Foundation and Arts Council England

Tour Dates

Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh
Unicorn Theatre, London
Warwick Arts Centre
Drum Theatre, Plymouth
The Brewhouse, Taunton
Unicorn Theatre, London
10-week UK tour
Unicorn Theatre Warwick Arts Centre The Brewhouse Theatre Jerwood Charitable Foundation Arts Council England
“The words of children take on a new gravity... It makes us hear them and take what they have to say – in all its wit, wisdom and absurdity – very seriously indeed.”
“There’s something extremely subversive about Monkey Bars, essentially suggesting that if we listened to children (and those with childish ideas) more, we may progress more as a nation.”
“A surprising and poignant show that explores the links and the gaps between adults and children, and reminds us that we should both speak, and listen, with care.”
“From start to finish, Monkey Bars succeeds in provoking us to question our reactions to the scenes and characters before us, and consequently to children in the wider world.”