Shining a spotlight on those behind the scenesJohn Blois
The nature of Ben Cotton’s role as Audio Visual Specialist at Trinity means that he’s often behind the scenes – literally. However, as AV continues to be an important part of events, maintenance, productions, and installs right across the School, his role grows in importance the more the School relies on technology to thrive.
For Ben, working at a school was always something he was interested in and when the role became available at Trinity, he took the opportunity.
“At Trinity, I have the freedom to do a variety of different things that I may not have had the opportunity to do otherwise. It’s quite involved here, compared to some other schools,” he says.
“I enjoy having the freedom to come up with creative ideas for some of our events and productions. I like being able to use the skills that I have for the benefit of everyone else at the School, particularly in an area that I’m passionate about – it’s not always possible to do that in a job.”
Outside of his official position, Ben supports the Co-curricular Media Production Crew. In their 90 minute time slot each week, the group is trained on and learns about the different production skills required in the AV industry as well as getting hands-on experience with production equipment, and getting involved in some of the School’s events and musical productions.
“When I was at School, I did the Entertainment VET course – there were staff there in similar roles as what I’m doing now and they helped me to grow my knowledge and passion for AV. It’s great to be that person for these boys now, giving back and helping them gain experience and getting to know them,” Ben says.
“The Media Production Crew often attracts quieter boys who are more technically minded and the group gives them something that they’re interested in.”
When it comes to School events and productions, Ben sees the group in their element, stepping up to responsibility with great results. The recent production of School of Rock was another example of this.
“They really relish being a part of something good and big here. With things like the production, it’s easily noticeable when things go wrong. In these moments they step up beyond expectations and really take all of it on board.”
“The last rehearsal before the show, I thought … we’re getting there. But at the end of the first show, I was blown away. They all stepped up and took ownership of their roles. The cast and staff backstage commented on how professional they were in their roles. The confidence was great to see.
“I was one of those kids when I was at school, so doing that for them is rewarding, you don’t always get feedback from them but you can definitely see it.”
The consistency and variety of working at Trinity is what Ben loves about his role and he appreciates working with a School that supports and values AV.
“Trinity is supportive and generous when it comes to the professional development we get in our role that allows us to upskill with new products and equipment so that we can keep up with what’s happening out there in the wider AV industry.”
In early 2020, AV moved from its traditional home under the Creative Arts banner to where it now sits, under ICT. This change has seen new opportunities arise for Ben in working with IT and the network infrastructure team. Trinity’s Renewal Project is another area that Ben is excited about.
“I’m involved in lots of discussions and it’s exciting to be able to help shape what the AV across the School will look like moving forward. I come from a production background, rather than a School or AV integrator background, so it’s a new area and I’ve been learning so much over the past few months, which is only going to intensify as the project continues.”
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