Life’s a stage for psychologist graduating with creative degree | UniSC | University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Life’s a stage for psychologist graduating with creative degree

A Sunshine-coast based psychologist, who is one of the creative minds behind quirky Australian musical set to be performed in Las Vegas, has received USC’s highest academic honour – a University Medal.

Jen Francis, a clinical children’s psychologist for more than 25 years, said the Bachelor of Creative Industries – Theatre and Performance was a final step in giving free reign to her creativity and a transition to a career as a writer.

“Script writing is a love of mine and I’ve been involved in theatre for many years. I’ve also worked in film and editing in the past, producing corporate, educational and training videos,” she said.

“Gaining formal training in writing, theatre and film through the degree was a way to help me define a new path that could combine the profession I'd worked in, with my creative side.”

Her sights are now focused on the world of theatre, after studying theatre performance, script writing, directing and production under the guidance of national and international award-winning industry experts.

“I am currently collaborating on a play to be performed at the Anywhere Festival in Brisbane, and for several years I’ve been collaborating on an original script, MILF the Musical, which with industry support we are staging in Las Vegas in September,” she said.

This follows an off-Broadway industry reading of the play staged at the Jerry Orbach Theatre in New York in 2019.

“I’m driven to explore and tell the extraordinary stories of ordinary people,” Jen said.

“When younger – in spite of my creative leanings – I chose a more sensible vocational path and studied accordingly. And that has been fine - but it’s been a revelation for me to return to study creative industries and discover that even at the age of 50 I still truly enjoy creating.

“I feel proud to have shown my teenage children that learning is important at any age, and that there is always an opportunity to expand yourself.” 

Combining her knowledge and insights as children’s psychologist with her creative bent, Jen is also planning to publish a series of clinical psychology resources for children and a series of children’s fiction books.

Another project includes staging a Youth in Performing Arts event in October with a group of USC colleagues, after they held a successful inaugural event last year.

University Medallist Jen Francis
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