August 30, 2015
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Three Blind Mice: Against All Odds Dinner Theatre and Groovy Lab in a Box STEM + A (STEAM) Projects Raise Awareness of Accessibility for Individuals with Disabilities
Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and Art (STEM+ART=STEAM) education are as vital to individuals with disabilities as they are for everyone else. In celebration of the 25th anniversary of President George H. W. Bush’s signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), there was a special theatrical presentation by The Hurrah Players and its partners of Three Blind Mice: Against All Odds written by Playwright Corey Staten, “The Talented Blind Guy,” who uses comedy to shed light on the world of individuals with different abilities. The play was featured in a “Come, See, Taste, Explore” dinner theatre experience held on Tuesday, August 25th at the “Taste & See” Banquet & Conference Center in Norfolk, Virginia.
Among the cast was George Nicolaou, the son of Academics in a Box (Anaheim, CA) co-founder Elaine Hansen, whose company’s Groovy Lab in a Box STEAM (www.groovylabinabox.com) projects are being recognized for their effectiveness in education for individuals with disabilities and which are kitted by adults with disabilities at Versability Resources Inc. (Hampton, VA). To show the company’s support of this special theatrical presentation, Groovy Lab in a Box projects were exhibited in the lobby with a portion of proceeds from product sales donated to the Kelly’s Choice Now and Atumpan Edutainments Art Accessibility Initiative along with the proceeds from the dinner theatre ticket sales.
Playwright Corey Staten’s Three Blind Mice: Against All Odds script combines the theme of the Three Blind Mice nursery rhyme, the fable Belling the Cat, and comedic parodies of popular songs from nearly every genre into one tale of triumph where the Three Blind Mice rid the farm house of bullying cats while earning themselves a bit of rodent redemption.
According to Hansen, “Hands-on STEM education projects, which leverage project-based learning and the triangular aspects of long-term memory knowledge, as well multiple senses and often can be pursued as a team-based activity level the playing field for individuals with disabilities. Because they incorporate a storyline, motivate the STEMists to think and act like a specific type of engineer, and have engineering design challenges which requires artistic design and presentation, our Groovy Lab in a Box projects really are STEAM projects. Organizations such as the National Science Teachers Association and AccessSTEM believe these types of projects help students with disabilities succeed in the STEM subjects. While some modifications may be necessary for students who are differently-abled, there is a great potential to use hands-on STEAM projects in team-based learning wherein potentially, no modifications may be necessary. Each child assumes a specific project title such as speaker, materials managers, timekeeper and recorder so that everyone feels important and is fully-engaged in a dynamic learning experience.”
Playwright Corey Staten added, “Groovy Lab in a Box is good for people with different abilities because the projects are hands-on and cut across every type of sensory loss. For people who can’t see, they can put their hands on the materials. A person who can’t hear can still see and access information. For children with ADHD, having hands-on experiences will hold their attention versus a lecture. Having a teamwork environment and being able to role play, where every person can provide input and needs are met based on their abilities – well, that’s just groovy.”
He added, “People aren’t just disabled; they do things differently. They can get things done.”
Pictured here at the recent Three Blind Mice: Against All Odds presentation are cast members holding Groovy Lab in a Box projects accompanied by (back row, left) Playwright Corey Staten and Director of the Play LaQuita Marie and far right, Academics in a Box co-founder, Elaine Hansen. The second photo (3 Blind Mice) depicts three principal actors in the play including, George Nicolaou (left), the son of Academics in Box co-founder and co-creator of the Groovy Lab in a Box projects.