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Health and the Performing Arts – Part 2: Mental Health

by on June 11, 2014

As Fredericton’s premiere performing arts facility, the Fredericton Playhouse aims to enrich the community. Some of the entertainment, cultural and social benefits of the performing arts might seem obvious, but did you know that attending theatre, music and dance performances could increase your physical and mental health, as well as community involvement? In this series, we will explore the many ways the performing arts can positively impact your health!

Everyone has days when they aren’t quite at their peak mental health, but attending live performances can actually make a difference in how you feel. In fact, according to a study called The Arts and Individual Well-Being in Canada, 67% of concert, theatre and dance attendees are more likely to report very good or excellent mental health.

Increasingly, there has been scientific proof that attending live performances can ease the mind, having a positive impact on issues like anxiety and stress. For example, the study On the Value and Benefits of Performing Arts outlines how former music producer-turned-neuroscientist Daniel J. Levitin recently discovered that music can stimulate the brain holistically, therefore positively affecting memory processes and supporting good mental health.

Music has also been known to manage pain and reduce stress and burn out. In a study called Music and Health Care, it was shown that music therapy has been demonstrated to be an effective intervention for people with a range of mental health issues, from anxiety to schizophrenia.

There are also a large number of theatre attendees who go to performing art centres because they believe it relieves stress. When asked “What do you think that the main benefits of having performing arts presentations in the community are?” 42% said it brings energy and vitality and 38% said it improves quality of life and well-being.

It turns out performances at the Playhouse aren’t just entertaining– they can also play a role in stimulating the brain and helping you reduce levels of stress and anxiety in your life. Just something to keep in mind the next time you join us for a show!


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