Happy Mental Health Awareness Month! If you’re searching for ways to improve your mental health – and enjoy yourself while doing so – try engaging with theatre or other performing arts experiences. On The Stage explores a few ways that theatre itself can improve mental well-being… one performance at a time.

Theatre Creates a Community

Perhaps the most obvious of theatre perks? The community it fosters for everyone involved. A few ways theatre can foster a community includes:

  • Creating bonds between actors, crew members, and theatre leadership, from the first audition to the close of the final curtain
  • Creating bonds between audience members, who enter into a shared emotional experience as they watch a show 
  • Creating bonds between enthusiasts across the globe who are all enjoying the same performance. (The magic of the internet helps with this one!) 

Theatre Offers Representation 

Seeing oneself in a beloved character on the stage means a great deal to those that feel invisible or pushed aside in their day-to-day lives. Theatre offers a positive representation of:

  • Marginalized communities, from minorities to those in poverty to those in the LGBTQ+ community 
  • Those with the struggles of mental health
  • Those dealing with chronic or invisible illnesses 
  • Neurodiverse folks   

Theatre Teaches Empathy 

Through emotional connections with others, theatre helps viewers to better understand their fellow man. Within the theatre, empathy can be learned about: 

  • Plights of people outside your own circle – through characters in a show or other real-life people in their day-to-day lives 
  • Those in history – making you a more well-rounded, educated citizen of the world that can empathize with those in the past, present, and future 
  • Your fellow cast members – if you’re in the show itself, teamwork and compassion will combine to further your emotional intelligence and capacity for empathy 

Theatre has the unique ability to introduce students to different cultures and perspectives, helping them to develop a better understanding of the world. Cultural awareness and education lead to greater empathy. 

Theatre Inspires Hope

It’s no secret that the world can be a dark place. Theatre can often act as a safe haven, where people escape for a few hours to feel inspiredIf someone’s mental health is low, stories of triumph, resilience, and perseverance can bleed over into day-to-day inspiration. The only thing more powerful than fear, after all, is hope! 

Theatre Sparks Open Communication

Studies have shown that audiences and cast members who struggle with mental health concerns can feel less alone when seeing mental health portrayed on stage. By feeling less alone, stigmas surrounding mental health can wane. By this logic, theatre can help people: 

  • Discuss their mental health struggles with others more openly 
  • Personally reflect on their mental health issues and how to improve upon them
  • Build empathy for other people living with mental illness 
  • Encourage activism for causes surrounding mental health

Theatre Increases Confidence 

Theatre provides a safe, supportive space for people of all ages and skill levels to explore their emotions and develop self-confidence. Taking social risks, expressing oneself freely, and connecting with others will build self-esteem. Theatre programs, then, are crucial for promoting personal growth and preparing people for success in the future. 

Mental Health Resources

Mental health issues are tough, but help is out there. Whether you’re a member of the creative community or just need everyday resources, we offer a few:

The Actors FundThe Actors Fund offers licensed clinicians who can provide industry professionals and their families support for issues related to personal stress, anxiety, depression, and life transitions. Financial assistance is available.

BacklineBackline is a non-profit that connects music industry professionals and their families with mental health and wellness resources. The organization wants to build a safer and more supportive music industry by helping the community access quality mental health care providers that understand this line of work.

Rauschenberg Medical Emergency GrantsThis program provides one-time grants of up to $5,000 for recent unexpected medical, dental, and mental health emergencies to artists in financial need who are creating in the visual arts, film/video/electronic/digital arts, and choreography. Only generative artists are eligible.

Find TreatmentFindTreatment.gov is a confidential and anonymous resource for persons seeking treatment for mental and substance use disorders in the United States and its territories.

988 Suicide & Crisis LifelineThe Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals in the United States.


As we embrace Mental Health Awareness Month, our hearts go out to all those who dedicate themselves to organizing and running theatre programs- because we understand firsthand the immense pressure and stress that comes with it. If you’re feeling overwhelmed and seeking ways to lighten the load, we invite you to experience the difference of On The Stage! Book a personalized demo today to see for yourself how our services can not only ease the challenges but also contribute to a healthier and more balanced theatrical journey!

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