Mason White started in theater at 8 years old, while living in Denver, Colorado. His first show was “Mary Poppins.” He began acting with Theatre Bristol when his family moved to Bristol, Tennessee.
“My first Theatre Bristol show was “Peter Rabbit” where I played Peter, and I had so much fun I decided to audition for Tom Sawyer where I played Sid, and I’ve been involved since. I finally convinced my siblings to get involved as well. My mom also helps a lot with the productions I’m in. She usually plays the part of assistant stage manager, but she does a little bit of everything, except getting on stage,” Mason says.
The work that goes into a production fascinates Mason. He’s been in 16 shows at Theatre Bristol and in his school’s musical. He’s also part of the play that the Youth Service Board performs annually.
“The thing that interests me the most about performing is really the work that it takes to put into it. It takes a lot to put on a show, and it really fascinates me how a show always comes together. I have performed at Theatre Bristol in 16 shows including ‘Annie,’ ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ and ‘The Wizard of Oz.’ I performed in my school’s musical. which was ‘Back to the ‘80s,’ and I performed in the Englewood summer theater program where I was in ‘Mary Poppins.’ It’s cool to see how a cast can become a family during a performance. I also really like being able to perform with both of my siblings in shows. Coming up, Theatre Bristol always has the play that is put on by the Youth Service Board which is performed in the Theatre Bristol ArtSpace every year.
“I enjoy every part of performing, but my favorite would have to be the acting. I love how acting really challenges me to get into the minds of the characters I’m playing. You really have to put yourself in the shoes of whoever you’re portraying, and it’s really fun delving into their lives and personalities to understand them as a person. I do also love the singing and dancing because they both really push me to grow as a performer and learn something new,” he says.
One of his biggest influences is his Tennessee High School theater teacher, Amber Davis, who introduced him to the world of high school theater. She has helped him blossom and feel a lot more comfortable as a performer. Glenn Patterson helped him improve his acting and singing. Camille Gray is another big influence in his theater life. She especially helped Mason with his dancing during “The Sound of Music.” “Sixteen Going on Seventeen” was one of the big dance numbers so they spent a lot of time working on it. Her teaching really helped him feel more comfortable in his dancing.
“To me, theater means a way of expressing yourself through the eyes of someone else. It means being able to use my emotions as a way to portray a character in a piece of art. I approach a show almost like I am the character. From the time I start rehearsal to when it ends, I create a mindset that will help me with my performance. My favorite shows to do are definitely musicals because of the different aspects that go into them like learning a dance or learning music. It’s super fun to learn different music styles and dance to put on a show,” Mason ways.
He is part of Theatre Bristol’s Youth Service Board, a group of teens from 13-18. Theyrun a summer camp every year and put on an annual show. He also works with the theater’s PLAYtime program. PLAYtime is a program for ages zero to 5 years old and their caregivers. The program entertains and educates with songs and rhymes and more. Parents spend the time connecting with coffee, bagels and parenting resources.
“I love introducing kids to the world of theater and raising the future generation of the Youth Service Board. I also love working on props for shows. I’ve been the prop manager on the Youth Board for two years, and I help oversee how the props are handled and organized. I was the prop master for ‘Trial of the Big Bad Wolf ‘and had lots of fun doing it.
“The PLAYtime program is one of my favorite theater-related activities I have participated in. It’s always so fun to see the kids have so much fun and experience live theater from such a young age. My favorite part is when the kids get a chance to show the audience what nursery rhymes and songs they’ve learned and getting to see the performer in them blossom. It’s overall a really fun program to be a part of.
Mason hopes to pursue theater in the future, whether that is musical theater or just straight plays. He’s not entirely sure where he wants to go to school to study theater but definitely hopes to make it into a career.
He is the 16-year-old son of Terra and Jeremy White of Bristol, Tennessee, and is a junior at Tennessee High School.