We are shown history, sociology, psychology, conflict, humor, sadness. As an audience member we get to take a ride along a path other than our own. We get to see how others walk through common situations or not so common situations. As thespians we put ourselves into emotional and intellectual places we most likely have never been. We truly get to experience "walking in another's shoes." It teaches us empathy and compassion.
When we share a physical space and experience with other actors and audience members it brings a sense of comradery, and shared participation that is not available through watching tv or movies. This is not only highly beneficial it is necessary for good human connection.
Unfortunately, we have gotten to a place in society where different opinions seem to be taboo. How can we ever solve problems if we don't allow discussion? Public discourse truly lies at the heart of democratic society! Let's face it! We are all different. We have different thoughts, opinions, religions, schooling, background, etc. Live theatre is like holding up a mirror to society and looking at the flaws and imperfections as well as the nice parts, and it does it in a nonthreatening way! Through live productions we can begin conversations and problem solving together about all kinds of different societal issues.
Studies show that students who participate in live theatre do better in school. Watching a theatre production takes skill! Following the characters' dialog and the story line requires apt attention, rigorous mental adjustments, and language skills. In live theatre we learn about culture, history, government, religion, human motivation, society, problem solving, conflict resolution, social interaction, etc. For those of us performing, we learn public speaking, confidence, problem solving, creativity, socialization, emotional intelligence, commitment, motivation, cooperation, etc. The benefits are real and varied!