WHEN he makes his entrance on the arena stage, in a blaze of lights and pulsating hip hop, he is Dynamo, superstar illusionist with an A-list fanbase.

But at heart he's still the Bradford boy who learned card tricks from his beloved grandpa and took them on to the streets.

There was a time when magicians wore bow ties and sawed glamorous assistants in half. Then came David Blaine who spent several weeks in a Perspex box with a vacant stare.

Then there was Dynamo, a skinny lad from Bradford, who turned the notion of illusion on its head with such skill and dexterity that you're left wondering if he really is, well, magic.

He has walked across the River Thames, hovered above the Shard and walked down the LA Times Building as casually as if he was popping out for a pint of milk. He pulled jewellery through the glass of a locked cabinet, disappeared into a pile of clothes and levitated above the Christ statue in Rio de Janeiro.

Now Dynamo is confronting his biggest challenge yet - taking to the stage with his first live tour, coming to his home county next week.

Dynamo hit our TV screens three years ago with his first series of Magician Impossible and established himself as one of the world’s best known magicians, with the series airing in more than 180 countries. He was recently awarded the highest accolade by the Magic Circle with his promotion to Member of the Inner Magic Circle with Gold Star, a position only held by 300 magicians worldwide, including the Prince of Wales.

Without giving anything away about his stage performance, it's safe to say it has re-invented the live magic show.

“I've wanted to take my show to the stage for years, but at the same time it's something I never imagined doing," said Dynamo, taking a mid-afternoon break between shows.

"I wasn't a stage school kid, I was shy and reserved. I'm not a natural showman, but I felt I owed it to my fans to take my act out there. Everyone wants to see it live.

"But I can't just walk around and do street magic; it had to be something spectacular," he adds. "There are moments when I'm in the audience, then the audience is on stage with me, and there's one part that everyone is involved with. There hasn't been anything like it before."

The stage technique was a learning curve. "I had to learn new disciplines," he said. "With a show like this you're relying on so many other people with the timing.

"I grew up watching David Copperfield on TV, when I met him he took me backstage. His shows inspired me, and I get ideas from movies too. I'm not competing with other magicians because there's nobody doing what I'm doing, but people could buy a ticket for a Taylor Swift or a Kanye West concert. That's the level of show I'm competing with.

"There are no fancy props though - I walk on stage on my own, like a stand-up comic would. I wanted to go back to my roots, when I was doing magic on the streets."

His roots lie in Delph Hill, Wyke, when he was known as Steven Frayne. Slightly built and shy, he was a target for bullies who pushed him down hills in a wheelie bin. Then young Steven learned a technique to keep the bullies away - making himself so still and focussed that nobody could move him. He learned it from his grandpa, "Gramps", who taught him card tricks.

"He did magic tricks for beer money. He was the coolest guy I knew, " said Dynamo. "He was the person who got me into magic and the main reason I'm doing this today.

"Doing magic around people helped my confidence. I was a loner and introverted as a kid, without magic I wouldn't be able to talk to you today."

Watching Dynamo in action, he appears almost other-worldly. I first interviewed him in 2006 and he was endearingly enthusiastic, buzzing with ideas. Now married and a household name, he turns 33 next week. International fame, it seems, hasn't changed him; he remains refreshingly grounded and friendly.

Aged 16, he spent six months in hospital with Crohn's Disease. It was during this time that he took stock and decided to make a go of his magic skills. "I nearly died from an abscess, I remember lying in a hospital bed thinking: 'If I die now what would people remember me for?' I knew I had to do something with my life," he recalled.

He later received a £2,000 grant from the Prince's Trust to fund a DVD showcasing his talents. Today he's an ambassador for the charity, which helps young people get their lives on track.

In 2000 Dynamo won the Bradford Magic Circle Championships and became the only British magician ranked in the International Magic Convention's top four. As well as learning the tricks of his trade, he was developing a performing style. "I was hanging out on my estate with rappers and DJs, then I lived in America for a while and got into street performers over there. I created my own style of rap and magic," he said.

He landed a manager after being spotted doing close-up magic in a nightclub, and started appearing at venues and festivals both sides of the Atlantic. His sleight-of-hand techniques and body-popping moves impressed David Blaine, who nicknamed him 'Dynamo'. It stuck.

Soon Dynamo was wowing movie stars and music stars; big names like Brad Pitt, Will Smith, Chris Martin, even Woody Allen.

Word spread and he landed a TV show, doing close-up tricks on Bradford's streets. Later, his Bafta-nominated TV show, Dynamo: Magician Impossible, featured appearances by the likes of Samuel L Jackson and Harry Styles.

Today Dynamo rubs shoulders with stars such as Ian Brown, who wrote a song, Magic Man, about him, and he's appeared in videos by Kanye West, Damon Albarn and Snoop Dogg. But whether he's performing for A-listers or youngsters on Bradford streets, the response is the same. Magic, it seems, is a leveller.

"Stars have egos but once they see it up-close they're as blown away as anyone else," says Dynamo. "I've performed everywhere, from council estates to royal estates. Everyone's reaction is the same: their jaws drop."

The boy who grew up watching Paul Daniels on telly hopes to inspire future magicians, and has produced the Dynamo Magic Set to get them started.

"It's full of what you need to make a good magician," he says. "I've handpicked all the kit, it's for anyone from eight upwards."

Two years ago Dynamo returned to his home city to receive an honorary doctorate from the University of Bradford, recognising his work for charity and improving opportunities for young people. A few months earlier he was mobbed by fans arriving at Waterstone's to sign copies of his autobiography, Nothing is Impossible.

Does he have any illusions in mind for Bradford? "Bradford's changed a lot, you've got that new shopping centre. I might not even be able to find my way round!" he laughed. "Bradford has the best takeaways, that's what I'll be back for. And my nan's corned beef hash."

* Dynamo is at the First Direct Arena, Leeds, from December 16-20. Tickets are on 0844 248 1585 or firstdirectarena.com