THE drama of live theatre causes the hearts of its audience to beat together, new research has found.

Watching a live theatre performance can make your heart beat synchronise with other audience members, the study by neuroscientists from University College London (UCL) has found.

Scientists monitored the heart rates and skin response of selected audience members at a live theatre performance of Dreamgirls, the Tony and Olivier award winning musical, in August this year.

It found that a dozen members of the audience responded in unison through their heart beats, with their pulses speeding up and slowing down at the same rate as each other.

Dr Joseph Devlin, Head of Experimental Psychology at University College London, said: "Usually, a group of individuals will each have their own heart rates and rhythms, with little relationship to each other.

"But during experiences with heightened levels of emotion, people’s heart beats can become synchronised, which in itself is astounding."

Dr Devlin added: “Experiencing the live theatre performance was extraordinary enough to overcome group differences and produce a common physiological experience in the audience members."

The research was carried out for Encore Tickets.

Heart rate synchronicity has been displayed in previous studies, such as a study by scientists who measured the heart rate of 'fire walkers' in Spain.

They saw observers’ hearts beat in time with the fire walkers.

This follows previous findings drawn from research by UCL , which found that experiencing a live theatre performance could stimulate your cardiovascular system to the same extent as a 28 minute fitness workout.