KATIE Mahon grew up on one of Bradford’s council estates.

Now she and her pal Molly Rumford are hoping to increase opportunities for people from similar backgrounds to turn their dreams into reality through the theatre company they are busy developing.

October marks the fourth anniversary of Bloomin’ Buds Theatre Company - a social enterprise ‘challenging the stigma of the class divide through community-based theatre.’

The company was funded through the Spark enterprise scholarship at Leeds University where the pals met - they are currently in the final year of their theatre and performance degree.

Katie asked Molly to help run her first play. “She really liked the content of it applying to working class people and we got on really well and realised we had similar passions, a very similar background and upbringing,” recalls Katie.

The pals are the first from their families to go to university and their parents couldn’t be more proud.

“My dad is always the first to drive us to any rehearsal or performance and both of our parents have always supported us. Their houses usually end up being set storage or a costume workshop space rather than a living room. They are always there at every event to do the small important things like man stalls and sell raffle tickets. We couldn’t do what we do without them,” says Katie.

Bloomin Buds’ aim is to improve access to opportunity and to the arts for people from lower and working class backgrounds through weekly sessions in community centres, events, workshops, performances in schools and creating professional theatre pieces.

Their latest play ‘Brenda’s Got a Baby’ is a verbatim production based on interviews and focuses on two sisters - Brenda who is 16 and pregnant and Amy who is the first in her family to go to university.

Katie, 21, who plays the character Amy in the production which is supported by Bradford-based Mind the Gap, Slunglow, Bradford Playhouse and Stage@Leeds says: “It gives a voice to the unheard.”

Following performances at Stage@Leeds on May 30 and Bradford Playhouse on June 7 and 8, Katie and Molly are heading to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe to perform their play at ‘space on the north bridge’ for a month.

The pals are currently fundraising for the remaining cost of their Fringe experience.

On June 1 they are launching a crowd funder link though their Facebook page.

“It is an absolute dream come true,” says Katie, referring to participating in the world’s largest arts festival.

“It will benefit us as a company, it will really raise our profile.”

“We have had such amazing success this year.”

To support Bloomin’ Buds Theatre Company visit bloominbudstheatrecompany.com or facebook.com/BUDsTheatreCompany.