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Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts


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The Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts opened in 1996 to forge a new approach to performing arts training. It was co-founded by our Lead Patron Sir Paul McCartney and Mark Featherstone-Witty (LIPA's Principal) and is housed in his old school, which underwent a multi-million-pound renovation to transform it into a state-of-the-art performing arts higher education institution. Today LIPA is an acknowledged part of the UK's higher education provision for the performing arts, recognized and ranked alongside institutions a lot older. LIPA provides learning for the primary skills needed for putting on a show (performers and those who make performance possible), uniquely blending specialists, and generic skills. LIPA offers degree courses in Acting, Community Drama, Dance, Music Theatre and Entertainment Management, Music, Sound Technology, Theatre and Performance Design, and Theatre and Performance Technology. We also run full-time one-year Foundation Certificates in Performing Arts (Acting) Performing Arts (Dance) Performing Arts (Singing) and Popular Music and Sound Technology.
We offer first-class facilities and invest around £500,000 each year to update or improve our learning environment. We have high-end performance and rehearsal spaces, with the technical kit which rivals what you'll find in the professional world. As you explore our courses, you can find out more about the facilities used by students in each course.
Our teaching staff has worked with leading names across the performing and creative arts industries. We also employ part-time Visiting Professionals who are working where you want to be where you leave. You'll find our teaching staff profiles on each of the course pages, where you can find out more about their achievements and how they could support your development.
On top of this, we welcome notable industry figures each year to deliver one-off masterclasses.
For all courses where industry professional accreditation can be achieved, we've met the standard, so you are guaranteed training that meets industry requirements.
Liverpool is a vibrant city with a world-famous reputation for culture. There are countless opportunities to get involved in the cultural scene here. This means you can put your learning into practice and gain invaluable experience outside of the Institute.
This essential skill is at the heart of our teaching. Collectively, our courses provide training in all of the skills required to put on a show. We are one of the few training institutions in the world to offer to make possible performance courses alongside all aspects of performance, enabling our students to gain diverse experience during training.
Some 76% of those working in the creative and performing arts are self-employed, so it's likely you'll fall into this category. That's why business and entrepreneurship skills are built into all of our courses. This includes encouraging you to develop a career plan and learn practical self-management skills.
Mark had been fired up by Alan Parker's 1980 film 'FAME' about the New York High School for the Performing Arts. Mark then approached a variety of well-known people in the creative and performing arts to refine his ideas. This journey leads to The BRIT School in London and then LIPA. The creation of both described in Mark's first book 'Optimistic, Even Then.'
"Late one night, I made a sentimental visit to my old school, the Liverpool Institute, built-in 1825. I found the place in a dilapidated state but was still intrigued by being in a place where so many of my early years had been spent. I took a film cameraman around and reminisced about the teachers, the pupils (one of them George Harrison), and some of the events that once took place in this lovely building. Making this film inspired me to start talking to people about ideas to save the building". George Martin, a supporter of Mark's approach to performing arts education and instrumental in the development of The BRIT School, was contacted by Paul and introduced Mark to Paul. The two men brought different but symbiotic aspirations to the project: Paul wanting the building restored, Mark wanting to pioneer a new approach to performing arts education. It took seven painful years of planning, fundraising, and building to get the project off the ground. It was not easy, but then, as Paul reminded Mark from time to time, "If it were easy, everyone would be doing it."
The next coincidence was Liverpool City Council, which was wondering how the city might build upon its reputation as a music city. Pete Misspelled Word Misspelled Word Misspelled Word Fulwell, then managing the Liverpool band The Christians, was commissioned to report on how this could be done. Pete looked at Mark to input the training element of the 'Music City' report.
The Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts officially opened its doors to students in January 1996. During his speech at the inauguration event, Paul wished his parents could have been alive to witness the event, while Mark hoped that, one day, students would experience the feelings he was experiencing then.

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