November 4 – The Valentine Theater first offered virtual performances and other programming at a time when the coronavirus pandemic was preventing audiences from experiencing the theater live. But now that in-person shows are back, organizers are working to provide a safe space for those who need to get away from them.

Currently called a “sensory room,” the idea is to provide a space for people with autism or sensitive to bright lights, loud sounds or other aspects of live performances, said Matt Lentz, Valentine’s Marketing Director. . Inside the room there will be dim lights, as well as comfortable sofas and chairs aesthetically designed to create a calming atmosphere for children and adults.

“It’s almost like a church situation: having this room to pick up a crying child or a child who is just distracted for other reasons,” he said. “There will be occasions for a child to have to be taken out for a number of reasons by a family member and it will be a room where families can take a child who needs quiet time and will not disturb the rest. theater. “

He added that Valentine employees had been interested for several years in making such a room available before finally obtaining enough funds to start the project four months ago, thanks to a donation from the Rotary Club of Toledo. .

Now the Valentine is getting another boost, with $ 5,000 from the Greater Toledo Community Foundation and $ 1,000 from the Andersons after winning the Greater Toledo Community Foundation’s Innovation Award for its two virtual programs launched the last year: Storytime and Sessions.

The theater was chosen for the award because of its commitment to providing arts education to young people during the pandemic, despite the financial losses suffered while being forced to close.

Storytelling Hours was part of the Valentine’s Day educational outreach program through the Gretchen Zyndorf School Days educational drama series, now in its ninth year. The program provided guest readers from the community, made up of local actors, veterinarians, and various officials, including Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz and Ohio First Lady Fran DeWine, who would read the stories as a kind of program. educational book to camera.

Likewise, Sessions was also an online program offering in which local artists would perform in small groups on the main Valentine’s Day stage.

“StoryTime reflects their continued mission to engage Toledo’s youth aged 3 to 12 in arts education while fostering a sense of community at a time when communities were most fractured and isolated,” according to the website of the Greater Toledo Community Foundation.

Some aspects of the sensory room project are still under development, for example whether it will provide a screen so that families can still see a broadcast of the performance while they are in the room. It is also not known what the room will be called.

Any name ideas are welcome, but those who really want their recommendations taken into account might consider attaching them to a donation, as organizers plan to name the room after a financial contributor.

That said, please do not hesitate to send me your suggestions. If enough are sent, I will include them in a future column with the smartest at the top of the list.

Upcoming shows:

—Anastasia: 7:30 p.m. Thursday; 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 2 p.m. Saturday; and 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Sunday at the Stranahan Theater, 4645 Heatherdowns Blvd., Toledo. Tickets can be purchased by going to

—All Together Now, a fundraising music revue featuring some of the best Broadway songs performed by local actors: at 8 p.m. on November 12 and 13 and at 2 p.m. on November 13 and 14 at the Village Players Theater, 2740 Upton Ave ., Toledo.

—A Christmas story: 7:30 p.m., November 26-27, December 3-4 and December 10-11; and 2:30 p.m. November 28, December 4-5, and December 11-12 at Croswell Opera House, 129 E. Maumee St., Adrian, Mich.

—An officer and a gentleman: (times vary) December 2-5 at the Stranahan Theater.

—Midtown Men’s Holiday Show: 7 p.m. December 5 at the Valentine Theater.

—A Christmas carol: from December 2 to 5 and from December 9 to 12 at the Rep.

—It’s a Wonderful Life: A Life Radio Play: 8 p.m. December 10 and 18, 2 p.m. December 12 at the Village Players Theater.

—A Christmas Carol: A Life Radio Play: 8 p.m. December 11 and 17, 2 p.m. December 19 at the Village Players Theater.

-Every Christmas Story Ever Told (And Then Some): December 10-12 and 17-19 at the Black Swamp Players’ Theater, 115 E. Oak St., Bowling Green.

—Come From Away: 7:30 p.m. Jan. 4-6, 8 p.m. Jan. 7-8, and 2 p.m. Jan. 8 at the Stranahan Theater.

—Le Chœur de l’Homme: 8 p.m. January 21 at the Valentine Theater.

—Potter in a Jar: Harry’s Unauthorized Experience: 7:30 p.m. February 15 at the Valentine Theater.

—The Legend of Georgia McBride: (times vary) February 18-27 at the Toledo Repertoire Theater.

– Waitress: 7:30 p.m. February 17, 8 p.m. February 18-19, 2 p.m. February 19, 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. February 20 at the Stranahan Theater.

—The Story of Simon and Garfunkel: 7:30 p.m. March 16 at the Stranahan Theater, 4645 Heatherdowns Blvd., Toledo.

—Beautiful – The Carole King Musical: 7:30 p.m. March 17 at the Valentine Theater, 410 Adams St., Toledo.

—Our City and Middletown: (show times and dates vary) March 24-27 at the Toledo Repertoire Theater, 16 Tenth St, Toledo.