Magna orchestra show a 'dream' for Richard Hawley

3 September 2012

Singer-songwriter Richard Hawley expects an emotional night when he performs with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra at a vast former steelworks.

The one-off collaboration takes place at Magna Science Adventure Centre, once the Templeborough works, on September 8th.

The acclaimed Sheffield musician said never in his “wildest dreams” did he imagine he would perform with the 90-strong orchestra, and a personal connection to the steel industry promises to make the occasion even more powerful. 

Richard’s father Dave, who died in 2007, was a steel worker by day and played guitars in bars and clubs at night. He spent a year working at Templeborough itself.

Richard said:  “I’m really happy that the concert will be at Magna as my dad and my uncles worked in places like Magna for a quarter of a century and that will add considerably to the emotional impact of the event for me.”

The event is part of BBC Philharmonic Presents…- a festival of free concerts and will also be broadcast live on BBC Radio 6 Music, at 7pm. Half of public tickets for the event have been reserved for local people.

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.

Richard continued: “It's such an honour to be asked to play with the BBC Philharmonic.  It’s not something in my wildest dreams that I ever thought I would ever get the chance to do. It's not every day a bloke like me gets the chance to play with the calibre of musicians that are in the orchestra and I and the band will enjoy every second."

Magna’s corporate sales director Helen Davies said:  “Like many local people, Richard Hawley treasures the area’s proud steel heritage and it’s something that we are working hard to preserve here at Magna. We’re sure the concert will be hugely enjoyable for fans lucky enough to be in the audience and those listening to it on the radio.” 
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.

Magna, which is run as a charity, 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 concert have been allocated in a random draw with half going to residents in the Sheffield and Rotherham area. Additional tickets are being 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 available 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.

For more information about Magna contact marketing manager Karen Staniforth on 01709 723146 or email
Additional media contact for Magna: Deborah Wain on 07903 466228 or email or Kate Betts on 01226 766900 or email

For more information about BBC Philharmonic Presents…email

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