News Extras

April 26, 2012

Business, Education, Entertainment


Launch of Independent Theatre Review Website Could Change the Face of the London Stage by Giving the Public a Voice

 Source:  Cision

Was That Good recently announced the launch of a new website meant to offer the public an arena to voice their opinions of the London theatre. The site is designed to fill a gap in a niche where misreporting and sycophancy abound and, as such, offers theatre-goers not only a fair assessment of various productions by their peers but also a venue to air their own opinions without censure.

In the age of information, it is surprising that people who enjoy the London stage and all it has to offer have little choice when it comes to finding honest and transparent reviews on the various productions they wish to see. Their choices are generally limited to digging through hundreds of reviews about everything from microwaves to lawn mowers to find a phrase or two about the show they wish to see or clearly promotional pieces that are less than objective.

Even the official press rarely provides an accurate assessment.  In light of these facts – and after a number of highly disappointing evenings – Robert Stuart of Was That Good decided that what the market needed was a user friendly website that would be completely independent, where theatregoers could share their opinions.  Thus, was born and, after 18 months of testing, the site has finally gone live.

I was so disenchanted with the London theatre after a number of less than memorable evenings that I found it difficult to muster the enthusiasm to attend another show. And this bothered me because I absolutely love the theatre! So, it was then that I realized that instead of waiting for others to do something about the lack of transparent theatre reviews, I should take matters into my own hands. And I’m proud to say that we’ve finally launched – a site which we envision to become the central venue for people to share their opinions freely,” Stuart stated.

While the theatres themselves might not be overly pleased with this development, the public will be more than happy to know that the opinions shared on the website are all honest and not thinly-veiled advertisements. To many, who love the theatre, this is a godsend. With the current state of the economy, many people have simply given up going to the theatre for fear of wasting their money on shows they will not enjoy. will change the situation and there is a good chance of many returning to one of their preferred pastimes.  Stuart has a greater vision for his website, though, in that he hopes a venue for open debate will actually force improvement. He feels that theatres will no longer be able to hide and will have to listen to the public if they wish to survive.

Poor productions will not have an audience while the best will stand out. has many features designed to help users find what they need quickly and efficiently. Thus, users can quickly search through the site and can organize productions according to the top rated, newest and so on and so forth. Once a user has found a production they are interested in, they have the option of purchasing a ticket directly through the link featured, making the whole process highly efficient. features a comprehensive rating system, as well. Therefore, users can rate various productions using a scoring system that is supposed to accurately reflect the rating, allowing users to give a negative score, if that’s how poorly they felt about the show.

Read All About It with News-2-You

Source:  Cision

A great way for schools to explore the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics

Special needs expert Inclusive Technology has launched News-2-You, a fortnightly online newspaper aimed at pupils who need extra support for literacy. A great way for schools to explore topical issues such as the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics.

Available free until 30th June 2012, it has speech and symbol support and brings over 250 pages of current affairs, features, activities and stories into the classroom.  Commenting on the launch, Martin Littler, Chairman and CEO, Inclusive Technology, said, “This will give many children the lasting full value of experiencing the London Olympics.

It will also give teachers the chance to try out this brilliant educational resource.”  Each edition features a newsworthy story, which is the focus for a host of activities too. Recent topics include the Frozen Planet, Sports Relief Week, Animal Record Breakers and Star Wars – The Phantom Menace.  This is the ideal paper for a mixed ability class. It has four levels of difficulty. The Simplified Version gives a basic overview of the week’s key story with Symbol Stix supported text, perfect for young people with learning disabilities who cannot access conventional print.

The Regular Version offers more in-depth coverage of the topic. It has simple sentences and symbol-supported text. The Higher level has the same text as the Regular Version but is written in paragraph form. The Advanced level has more complex sentences and additional information as well as digital pictures.  In addition to the newspaper, News-2-You schools can also access a World News section which brings breaking news from across the globe into the classroom.  In addition to the differentiated levels, there is also a text only version and all levels have a ‘speaking edition’.

This means that the students follow the text as it is read aloud. Each word is highlighted as it is spoken. Teachers can access News-2-You on an interactive whiteboard for whole class work or print it out for individuals.  Melanie Jones is an ICT coordinator and teacher at Barrs Court Special School in Hereford, and has worked in Special Needs for many years. She helps to produce the paper for News-2-You. She researches the topic of the moment and then writes an easy to read article about it.

The article is adapted to the different levels of the paper and Symbol Stix is added. As a class practitioner she gets to use the resources produced in her own classroom teaching.  News-2-You uses the same format as the enormously successful American version of News-2-You so it is packed full of activities including worksheets for comprehension and literacy activities.

But News-2-You is not all about the serious stuff. There is always a joke, a recipe for cookery lessons and some games.  “It’s what we have been waiting for in our school”, said Suzanne Farrell, Curriculum Coordinator at Sutherland House School in Nottinghamshire, which caters for children and young people with autism.

One of her pupils Roisin loves to keep up to date with news of celebrities but finds it hard to get the message from print alone. The Regular Version with symbol support motivates her to finish a story.  Suzanne also uses the Higher level of News-2-You on the whiteboard with a group of children in the same class who read quite well but have problems sitting still long enough to finish reading a story.

“Most current affairs materials – even the most simple – are much too wordy for our children”, said Suzanne. “After years of just looking at the pictures, they can now read the news stories for themselves.”  News-2-You uses SymbolStix, a symbol set of over 12,000 symbols that has emerged as a world standard in picture-based communication.


 “College Fever Live!”  The Stage Play Returns to Washington, DC Area

Source:  BlackNews.Com

Camp Springs, MD — College Fever! – What’s The Real Price of College? returns April 29th with one performance at 5pm. The Council for Responsible College Financing presents Jay Cameron’s stage play, College Fever LIVE! The play explores the hot topic of college financing in an entertaining theatrical production, which includes an incredible light show, live music, poetry, singing and dance.

The play was created to bring awareness to the student loan and credit card debt crisis millions of college students are battling. This production offers steps to avoiding and overcoming student debt while illustrating the struggle many families face when confronted with financing college.  From family and social pressures to financial illiteracy, the play educates while entertaining.

When someone hears the title “College Fever!” fraternity and sorority life may come to mind. Others might think of the wild campus lifestyle.  And though these are aspects of this unprecedented stage-play’s script, there is much more to College Fever!  Millions of unsuspecting American families fall for the college financing trap that awaits those who want to further their education.

According to, as of 2008, “more than $100 billion in federal education loans and $10 billion in private student loans are originated each year.” In 2012, student loan debt has surpassed one trillion dollars in the U.S.  An individual student can commit to repay multiple tens of thousands of dollars in debt for college expenses when they have no means of paying the money back. After graduation, these hopeful job seekers enter a deteriorating job market only to find their newly earned degrees are ineffective tools for finding good jobs because opportunities are so scarce.

The consequences are worse for students who interrupt or postpone their pursuit of a degree. Demand for repayment of their debt can keep them from resuming or completing their studies.  What can conscientious students do?  A college education is thought to be required to obtain a better job, but college costs are too expensive for most. Student loan debt seems to be the only way to pay for college and the job market continues to remain inconsistent. And since student loan debt is not subject to bankruptcy, the result of a default can be catastrophic to borrowers, their families and the health of the U.S. economy.

Woven together in an unforgettable yet familiar story, College Fever! offers solutions for the student debt crisis in this thought provoking stage-play. As a follow up to College Fever!”, Debt Free College Degree – The Seminar digs even deeper to offer a systematic approach to paying for college, debt free. Both events educate and entertain.

Twenty-Five African American Women To Be Honored At Anniversary Gala For Denver Community Newspaper

Source:  BlackNews.Com

Singer Dianne Reeves, Little Rock Nine Carlotta LaNier, DNC Chair Elbra Wedgeworth Will Be Among Honorees.

Denver, COThe Denver Urban Spectrum, an award-winning monthly publication, has been spreading the news about people of color since 1987. From national headlines to the celebration of local “African Americans Who Make a Difference,” the paper, with a distribution of over 25,000, has been a driving force within the Denver metro African American community for 25 years.

To celebrate the silver anniversary, a four-day slate of community events are planned, culminating with a black tie awards dinner honoring 25 “Timeless Legends” – women who hail from Denver, many who are internationally known. The recipients include Grammy award-winning singer Dianne Reeves, the Little Rock Nine’s Carlotta LaNier, former Denver City Councilwoman and 2008 DNC Chair Elbra Wedgeworth, internationally-known choreographer Cleo Parker Robinson, and former First Lady of Denver Wilma Webb.

The gala will be Saturday, April 28, from 6 to 11 p.m. at the Renaissance Hotel, 3801 Quebec St., in Denver. Former Speaker of the House Terrance Carroll will serve as the Master of Ceremonies and the Honorable Mayor Michael Hancock and First Lady Mary Louise Lee will serve as honorary chairs. The Julius Show will provide entertainment and Sculptor Ed Dwight has been commissioned to design the Timeless Legends awards.

Saturday’s event is dedicated to youth and invites families to attend “It’s Your Time,” an educational and health youth rally from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Montbello High School, 5000 Crown Blvd., in Denver. The special guest speaker is author and self-made millionaire Dr. Farrah Gray who will address the 12-18 year old students. Also included in the activities will be live entertainment and remarks from Denver City Councilman Chris Herndon.

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