Katie wins National Lottery Award for opening up the arts
Katie Mahon grew up on a council estate in Bradford and was the first person in her family to go to university. When she started a Theatre and Performance degree she assumed she’d taken a giant step towards fulfilling her dream of working in the arts.
Unfortunately, her initial experience of university was rather different. She said, “I faced discrimination because I’m from a low-income working-class family and grew up on a council estate. I was made to feel thick because of my accent.”
Not surprisingly, Katie, now 27, felt “very out of place”. But her belief in the positive impact the arts can have on people’s lives was undiminished.
In 2014, during her first year at university, she founded the National Lottery-supported Bloomin’ Buds Theatre Company, a project that aims to wipe out the stigma working class people like Katie can still face in the arts sector.
Based at The Rockwell Community Centre on the Thorpe Edge estate where Katie grew up, Bloomin’ Buds regularly attracts more than 200 people to its weekly theatre sessions, community lunches, mental health projects and performance events. It employs 12 people from working-class backgrounds and has a team of 10 volunteers.
Bloomin’ Buds also commissions and stages verbatim theatre pieces that put working class voices in the spotlight. The latest is Where Is Love, a coming-of-age story about a Bradford woman fighting the cycle of domestic abuse.
Katie’s incredible work establishing Bloomin’ Buds and helping so many people in her community has been recognised with a National Lottery Award. Voted the winner of the Arts, Culture & Film category in the 2023 National Lottery Awards, she was presented with her trophy by the actor and Coronation Street star Jane Danson.
The National Lottery Awards are the annual celebration of the ordinary individuals and organisations who do extraordinary things with the help of National Lottery funding.
Katie said, “It’s exciting to be a National Lottery Arts, Culture and Film category winner. I feel proud that the work we’re doing is shining a light on working-class voices.”
3rd November 2023
The National Lottery has been changing the lives of winners and supporting good causes across the UK since 1994. In that time, there have been more than 7,000 new millionaires created and by playing The National Lottery you raise over £30 million for good causes every week.Discover more