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Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts (LIPA)

History of the LIPA

When Liverpool Institute High School for Boys was closed in 1985, the building started detoriating badly. Usually, such things happen without anyone thinking about it twice. The only thing that was special about this particular high school, though, was that this was Paul McCartney's old High School... This was the beginning of a heartwarming story.

In 1989, several groups of people came together; The Liverpool City Council, the Schools for Performing Arts Trust, and Paul McCartney. They initiated talks in 1990, about how to set up a Performance Arts school. On a press conference in the same year, Paul McCartney launches the idea.

In 1994, the actual building begins, after a good £ 10 million has been raised from various sources. Towards the end of 1994, the prospectus is published, allowing students to apply to the school, which is organized under Liverpool John Moores University (JMU)

In december of 1995, the LIPA building is finished, and in 1996 the school opens - accepting the first students.

LIPA today

It can be argued that the whole LIPA project has been hyped by the media because of Paul McCartney's involvement. Despite of this, the LIPA has gained a substantial and very positive reputation as being one of the leading performance arts schools in the United Kingdom.

The school offers a BA Honours in Performing Arts with the following topics:

  • Acting
  • Community Arts
  • Dance
  • Enterprise Management
  • Performance Design
  • Music Route

The school also offers:

  • BA (Hons) Degree in Sound Technology
  • Dip (HE) in Theatre and Performance Technology
  • Cert (HE) in Performing Arts for Disabled People
  • LIPA Diploma in Pop Music and Sound Technology

What Paul McCartney says about LIPA:

The initial reason for my involvement with LIPA was the building. It was my old school. When I saw for myself the state it had reached as an abandoned building, I wanted to save it.

Initially I had misgivings about the ability of any institution to teach the stuff that we had to learn the hard way – by going to clubs and just doing it. Since then, I have seen what LIPA students can do; they have proved to me that they can stand up and deliver. The training and the spirit I have seen should give our graduates a good chance in the professional world. To those of you who get a place at LIPA, I want to say: good luck, trust your instincts and follow your passion – and enjoy yourselves

What current students say about LIPA (These are people I've talked to, who go to the LIPA)

  • The LIPA is great. The competition is hard as a rock (pun intended), but it doesn't matter. The tone between the students is great (again, pun intended), and you're seriously learning for life -Mike
  • I went to the Sound Tech course.. Absolutely great stuff. The school is serious, and it's got a great name -Chris (Who now works as a music producer in Norway)


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