2017 LIPA graduation ceremony

Friday, July 28, 2017
Timeline More from year 2017
Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts, Liverpool, UK

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On this day, Paul McCartney was in The Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts (LIPA) for its annual graduation ceremony.

From LIPA website:

Woody Harrelson is among those who became Companions of The Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts (LIPA) on Friday, 28 July 2017.

The actor, writer and director was one of eight luminaries of the arts and entertainment world to receive the accolade from LIPA’s co-founder Sir Paul McCartney at the Institute’s annual graduation ceremony. In a career spanning four decades, Woody Harrelson has been nominated for two Academy Awards and is the winner of an Emmy Award for his TV work.

He was joined by double Ivor Novello award winner Chris Difford – who co-founded the band Squeeze; Tony and Olivier Award winning director John Caird; leading sound engineer Jon Burton; founder of KMC dance agency Kay Hilton; Jo Collins and Mary Ward – who co-founded inclusive theatre company Chickenshed and award winning cinematographer, lighting and projection designer Jon Driscoll.

LIPA awards Companionships for two reasons: outstanding achievement and practical contribution to students’ learning.

TV producer and CEO and Founder of Buccaneer Media Tony Wood, who has supported LIPA since his time at Lime Pictures in Liverpool, became an Honoured Friend of LIPA.

Mark Featherstone-Witty, LIPA’s Founding Principal and CEO, said: “I worry how long we can celebrate achievement in the creative and performing arts while the government is intent upon narrowing our secondary school curriculum, so youngsters can’t experience the fulfilment they can bring. All that’s left is TV shows that are all about performers and not about the legions of people making performance possible.

Around 220 students from 16 different countries, including Norway, Brazil, South Korea, India, Germany, Ukraine and the United States graduated at the ceremony at the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall having completed either degree or foundation certificate programmes.

Here is the transcript of the speech of Paul McCartney during the ceremony:

Thank you, Mark. Thank you everyone. Thank you all the teachers for brilliant job. I love coming here, because it’s full of so many memories for me and I won’t get into it because it all a little bit emotional.. So I’ll start off crying… Anyway. One of the things about LIPA which was, when I went here, the Liverpool Institute High School For Boys, it’s the history. When Mark and I were faced with this prospect of saving this derelict school, I realized that the school goes back to 1825 and so, in a decade or so, to be like 200 years. It’s been teaching people to go out in the world and, you know, do good.

I used to come here as I say as one of the kids. I first came when I was 11, and we would sit down here, and the girls from Blackburn house would sit over there. That was our sister school and they were always hidden behind this great big high wall, so we never saw, but at this ceremony… This was like the nearest we ever got to sex! But the amazing thing for me was that my mom and dad would be up there and so I can appreciate what all you – the mums and dads and the friends and relatives – are all going through and I think they should get a bit of applause for all the help. [applause from the students]

And as I said, we used to sit in here for speech day, that was why we came, and our head boy would deliver a speech in Latin, which we’re all going “what’s this about”, but I think it was translated in the program actually. I think one of them’s here today – Pete Scison – who actually did the speech in Latin – well done, Pete! As I say, beautiful memories for me. And I knew that we had to save the school and I was very lucky to run into Mark who had the spirit that really helped us actually pull it off.

I went to the school with my mate George Harrison and so I would say to people “half the Beatles went to this school”. And actually now that we’ve acquired the art school next door, three-quarters of them did, because John went there. Sorry Ringo!

So the great thing was, you know, being in Liverpool and going to this school, it was a great experience that stood us in good stead for when we would go out into the world. So I want to just remind you that you are now all part of this history. In fact everyone in this room, we’re all part of this almost 200 year old history. And I know you’re going to carry that with you. But I think the thing I probably love best about coming here to these ceremonies is just the joy, there’s so much happiness, it’s overwhelming, just to see all these happy faces. So I congratulate you all for putting in the fantastic work and you are all brilliant, you’re part of LIPA history and so I say good luck to you all, and I love you.

Paul McCartney
From LIPA website

Last updated on December 23, 2023


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