Theatre attendance boosts life expectancy

Journalist Tim Saunders and his young family regularly go to the theatre and their reviews are published on this website as well as in newspapers and magazines. Here, theatregoers will find useful information about productions, helping them decide what shows they should see.

We are really fortunate to have so many independent theatres in our towns and cities all showcasing fabulous talent from young emerging actors through to world famous performers. For Lord of the Rings star Sir Ian McKellen, the theatre is all about the theatregoers. He says: "Why do you act? You act for an audience. In the theatre, you're in their presence. Film stars don't know what it is to have an audience."

According to Arts Council England the arts and culture industry, which includes theatre, has grown £390m in a year and now contributes £10.8bn a year to the UK economy. The organisation also reports that regular access to this sector boosts life expectancy.

Not only does theatre play a vital role in the country's finances but visiting a show does wonders for the soul. It is also hugely inspirational, especially for children.