The Power of Play

Lauren Carn is a junior in the theater teaching program at the University of Utah. She has been named an Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher for her research on the intersection of mental health and participation in the arts.

She served as a judge in “Healing Out Loud,” a film project that focused on reducing the stigma surrounding mental health. Carn also uses her writing to communicate important messages about mental health. Some of her works include “Ollie Does NOT Love Science” and “Consolation Prize.”

“Ollie Does NOT Love Science” is a book written alongside her friend, Maria Jensen, a fellow theater teaching student. This book is about a student who uses their performing arts skills to cope with their fears surrounding a science fair.

“Consolation Prize” is a play written by Carn. It was part of a staged reading by Open Door Productions and modified to fit a broader audience. She looked at core standards within the Utah education system and refined the play to take it into schools and use it as an example of using the arts to improve mental health.

The research she has done so far has focused primarily on youth, but she plans to expand her work to include all ages. She believes that there is importance in making art because it’s fun, rather than striving for perfection. “It’s OK to create art to just create art,” she said.

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About the Author:

Avatar photo Tom Glasmann is a theater, games, and English student at the University of Utah. Passionate about telling stories and performing, Tom is an entertainer at heart. In addition to this, he is known around campus for his fun, eccentric personality, and his surplus of business cards.

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