BBC Philharmonic with Richard Hawley perform in live radio event at Magna

16 August 2012

Former steelworks Magna Science Adventure Centre has been announced as the venue for a one-off performance by the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra and Sheffield singer-songwriter Richard Hawley.

The unique collaboration, on September 8th, is part of BBC Philharmonic Presents…- a festival of free concerts to also be heard by radio listeners.       

As well as being in front of a home crowd, it will be the first time in his career that Hawley has performed with a full symphony orchestra.  Half of public tickets for the event will be reserved for local people. 

Magna’s corporate sales director Helen Davies said:  “We’re thrilled to have been chosen for this unique event for BBC Radio 6 Music.

“As vast former steel works, the scale of the site as well as its industrial heritage lends itself to creating a truly unique and electrifying atmosphere.” 

Richard, who will also be joined by his own band, will perform a personal selection of his songs specially orchestrated by composer and conductor Joe Duddell, who has previously worked with Nero and Elbow.

The concert is the first of seven free concerts in the second BBC Philharmonic Presents…festival being staged in partnership with BBC North. 

The inaugural festival, in 2011, saw 3,000 music fans attend concerts in the orchestra’s purpose-built performance space at MediaCityUK, in Salford.

This year’s events move further afield, with concerts in Bridlington and Blackpool as well as South Yorkshire. Other artists involved include The xx and the Guy Barker Jazz Orchestra and the first ever collaboration between the BBC Philharmonic and BBC Asian Network. All performances will be broadcast live on associated BBC radio networks.

BBC Philharmonic’s general manager Richard Wigley said: “The return of BBC Philharmonic Presents… is an irresistible mixture of collaborations with Britain’s finest artists and producers.  With the full symphonic power of the BBC Philharmonic’s 90 professional musicians, this is a unique opportunity to bring the highest standard of music making to new audiences in collaboration with the BBC’s national radio networks and BBC North.

“Once we’d decided to take the BBC Philharmonic Presents… festival across the north of England and Richard Hawley had agreed to join us, Sheffield area was the natural choice for the event. The icing on the cake is to be live on BBC Radio 6 Music; it’ll be a great Sheffield night to remember.”

Magna, which is run as a charity, aims to inspire interest in science as well as preserve the history of the area’s steel industry.

It is housed in the former Templeborough steelworks which were once the biggest in the world and employed 10,000 people. The works were built during World War One and shut in 1993. They remained derelict until being transformed into an award-winning visitor attraction in 2001. 

Magna has four pavilions on a theme of air, earth, fire and water, which house over 100 interactive exhibits and the centrepiece Big Melt uses stunning pyrotechnic and audio techniques to recreate steel making using a huge original electric arc furnace.

Tickets for the event are free and will be allocated in a random draw. Ticket applications will open soon at and will include full details about the event and the closing date for applications.

A total of 50 per cent of random draw tickets will allocated to residents in the Sheffield and Rotherham area. Additional tickets will be offered to various arts and community groups within the region.

For more information about Magna, visit or call 01709 720002.

Further information about BBC Philharmonic Presents… can be found at



Picture of Richard Hawley on request from

Magna is open daily, from 10am to 5pm with last entry at 4pm.  As well as the main indoor attraction, it has outdoor and water play areas.   

Magna plays host to all kinds of events and exhibitions and offers a range of corporate and party facilities.

Media contact for Magna on this story: Helen Davies on 01709 723114

or email

Additional media contact for Magna: Deborah Wain on 07903 466228 or email

For more information about BBC Philharmonic Presents…email



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