The Paul McCartney Project

The Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts opens

Monday, January 8, 1996 • Posted in “A day in the life

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On this day, the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts (LIPA) in Liverpool, co-founded by Paul McCartney is opened. The inauguration was organized on January 30, with Paul McCartney attending. On June 7, the LIPA was officially opened by Queen Elizabeth II.

From The Beatles Monthly N°238, February 1996:

After seven years of preparation and a £12 million refurbishment scheme, LIPA, the Liverpool lnstitute for the Performing Arts – of which Paul McCartney is the lead patron – finally opened its doors to the first 200 of its planned 700 students on 8th January. Paul officially launched the lnstitute at a special commemorative event at the school on 30th January, attended by 120 members of the world’s media, LIPA patrons, celebrity guests and key people from the worlds of music and entertainment. The full history of the lnstitute, from Paul’s first dreams of saving the site of his old school, the Liverpool lnstitute, to its current status as Britain’s best-equipped seat of learning for the entertainment industry, has been documented in a commemorative brochure which is being sold to raise funds. Paul McCartney has commissioned a full page in the brochure for a personal message, and other donations of support have been received from the U.K.’s three main political parties.

From Wikipedia:

The Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts (LIPA) is a performing arts higher education institution in the English city of Liverpool, founded by musician Paul McCartney and Mark Featherstone-Witty and opened in 1996. LIPA offers eleven full-time BA Honours degrees in a range of fields across the performing arts, as well as three Foundation Certificate programmes of study in acting, dance and popular music, and music technology. LIPA offers full-time, one-year masters-level degree courses in Acting (Company) and Costume Making. It is a member of the Federation of Drama Schools. […]

LIPA was founded by Paul McCartney and Mark Featherstone-Witty. McCartney had known since 1985 that the building which had housed his old school — the Liverpool Institute High School for Boys – was becoming increasingly derelict after the school’s closure, and wished to find a productive use for it; Featherstone-Witty had set up the Brit School in London and was looking for an opportunity to open another school.

Featherstone-Witty had been inspired by Alan Parker’s 1980 film Fame, to think about what the best possible training would have been for work in the arts and entertainment industry. The film led him to conclude that performing artists needed to train in all three performing arts (acting, dance and music) at the same time. He also took into account that performers form only a part of the arts and entertainment business. From these basic concepts, he created a blueprint for a new type of training and began consulting with others in the industry. By 1985 he had support from just under 50 artists, directors, choreographers and entrepreneurs.

Record producer George Martin knew that Featherstone-Witty was looking for somewhere to develop a school, and that McCartney was looking for someone who could save the building, and introduced them to each other. The process of setting up the facility and the school took seven years and cost £20m.

From Wikipedia

Last updated on November 11, 2020

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