Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts
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|Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts|
LIPA's main entrance, on Mount Street
|Town or city||Liverpool|
|Completed||7 June 1996|
|Design and construction|
|Architect||David Watkins - Brock Carmichael Architects|
The Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts (LIPA) is one of the United Kingdom's leading institutions for the performing arts. The university is situated in the English city of Liverpool. LIPA offers training in Acting, Community Drama, Dance, Music, Music, Theatre and Entertainment Management, Sound Technology, Theatre and Performance Technology, and Theatre and Performance Design.
The Education Guardian has previously ranked the university #1 in the UK for several of its degree courses. LIPA is regularly amongst the top 10 in rankings for specialist institutions also.
In September 2003 LIPA launched LIPA 4:19; a part-time performing arts academy for 4 to 19 year olds. Due to the popularity of LIPA 4:19, a new satellite school was launched at Maghull High School in September 2008. It also has franchises situated in Derby, Knutsford, Ramsey on the Isle of Man, Rainhill, Runcorn, Wanstead and Sofia, Bulgaria. Franchises can be opened in locations in the UK and overseas.
It was a meeting of two ideas: 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; Mark Featherstone-Witty had set up the Brit School in London, and wanted to try his ideas on a bigger scale.
Featherstone-Witty had been fired up by Alan Parker’s 1980 film Fame, about the New York High School for the Performing Arts. The film inspired him to think about what training would have best prepared him and others for lasting work in the arts and entertainment industry. The film gave him the idea that performing artists needed to train in all three performing arts (acting, dance and music) at the same time. Then he read a book about musicians who had failed to understand they were entering a business, despite the phrase "show business". He also took on board the idea that performers formed the tip of an arts and entertainment employment iceberg. Performers were a fraction of the employment. From these basic concepts, he created a blueprint for a new type of training and then spent three years quizzing the industry and refining his philosophy. By 1985 he had nearly 50 artists, directors, choreographers and entrepreneurs backing him.
Record producer Sir 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 so introduced them to each other. The struggle to create the facility and the school took seven years and is described in more detail on LIPA's website, and in a book by Featherstone-Witty. It was not easy, but then, as McCartney reminds Featherstone-Witty from time to time, "if it were easy, everyone would be doing it". It took £20m for the facility, the curriculum and the support to maintain and develop all three.
 1996 - today
LIPA was opened by Her Majesty The Queen on 7 June 1996, and since then its range of courses has expanded with each new academic year. From the start, the desire and so the challenge was to achieve excellence with access. The final solution was to offer higher education courses to achieve excellence and a range of open and flexible learning courses to achieve access. To this day, both embody the heart of the Institute.
LIPA celebrated its tenth birthday in January 2006 with a performance at the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall and a new book, 'LIPA - The First Ten Years in Pictures', written by Mark Featherstone-Witty.
There have been a variety of highlights, the most rewarding being the achievement of the initial dream of sustained employment. A recent survey of graduates who left in 2007 showed that 96% were in work, and 87% of those were working in the performing arts. In order to sustain this, the curriculum is constantly being revised.
LIPA was designated in 2006 – the first new higher education institution to have been started from scratch in living memory. As a performing arts HEI, LIPA is attended by the highest number of international students in the UK.
LIPA has been awarded the Silver Standard from Investors in People - the only HEI to have achieved this level in the UK. LIPA also has the highest concentration of Fellows and Associates recognised by The Higher Education Academy.
There were 5,225 applications to the institute through UCAS in 2010, of which only 208 were accepted, giving the Institute an overall acceptance rate of 4%. The Liverpool Institute for the Performing Arts takes a holistic approach to assessing entry and apart from the academic requirements, the school also takes into consideration applicants' creative ability, past experience and potential.
 Current Courses
 Foundation Certificates
- Foundation Certificate in Performing Arts (Acting)
- Foundation Certificate in Performing Arts (Dance)
- Foundation Certificate in Performing Arts (Song)
- Foundation Certificate in Popular Music and Sound Technology
 Undergraduate (Degree)
- BA (Honours) Acting
- BA (Honours) Community Drama
- BA (Honours) Dance
- BA (Honours) Music
- BA (Honours) Music, Theatre and Entertainment Management
- BA (Honours) Sound Technology
- BA (Honours) Theatre and Performance Design
- BA (Honours) Theatre and Performance Technology
LIPA does not want to issue its own degrees, so rather than issuing Honorary Degrees like other British Universities, it awards "Companionships". LIPA awards companionships to individuals in recognition of their contributions to the world of art and entertainment, particularly within the sectors to which LIPA is linked.
Prospective companions usually attend the Institute at least once before they are invited to become companions in order to give masterclasses to students, or to participate in "Conversation with" type question and answer sessions. Some then revisit the Institute at later dates.
+ denotes a Companion who is also a LIPA Patron.
 Notable alumni
- Eugene McGuinness, singer/songwriter signed to Domino records.
- Leah Hackett, actress who played Tina Reilly in Hollyoaks
- Jesse Harlin, composer at Lucasarts
- Lindsay McKenzie, actress who played Princess Erina in the CBBC programme Raven
- Liam Lynch, US based singer, writer & director
- Dawn Porter, television journalist and presenter
- Kent Riley, actor who played Zak Ramsey in Hollyoaks
- Sandi Thom, a Scottish singer-songwriter
- The Wombats, indie trio
- Rachel Leskovac, actress in Coronation Street
- Leon Lopez, actor in Hollyoaks: In The City
- Liz White, actress best known in Life on Mars
- Jan Burton, music producer
- Jon Lolis, actor in Hollyoaks
- Donnaleigh Bailey, actress in Doctors
- Sell a Door Theatre Company, a UK touring and London based theatre company formed by alumni David Hutchinson and Phillip Rowntree
- Lisa Stokke, Norwegian singer and actress
- Christian Ingebrigtsen, Norwegian singer-songwriter and musician, best known from British boyband A1
- Kate Havnevik, Norwegian singer-songwriter
- Harry Thomas Radford, clean vocalist for Scottish post-hardcore band Yashin
- Jeanna de Waal, actress who played Heather in the musical American Idiot on Broadway
- Lindy LaFontaine, American singer-songwriter and winner of the 10th Annual Independent Music Awards
- Mark Franks, singer in The Overtones
- Becky Hannon, Wildcard contestant in Big Brother 13 (UK)
- Alleviate, semi-finalists in Sky One's Got to Dance
- Andrew Langtree, actor currently playing the role of Carl Brunner in Ghost: The Musical.
- Jamie Lloyd, Associate Director of the Donmar Warehouse
- Jonas Alaska, Norwegian singer-songwriter
- Mikhael Paskalev, Norwegian singer-songwriter
- Marko Flores Mexican composer/Guitar player - Televisa (La Fuerza del Destino) MSN (El Aparato)
- Jessica Staveley-Taylor, vocalist in folk trio The Staves
- Edward Croft, guitarist and vocalist in Jollyboat (comedy act)
- Ben Brown - Founder of The Balloons Project - Olympic Torch Bearer
- Harry Brown - Lead Ashdown Cardboard Technician @ Dawsons Music Liverpool. Notable for Scrumpy, Hammers and Zombie Survival Knife.
 See also
'History section' adapted from the LIPA 'History Page'
- LIPA website
- LIPA Learning Resources Centre website
- LIPA 4:19 - weekend & summer schools for 4-19 year olds
- LIPA Alumni website