|Established||7 June 1996|
53°23′58.4″N 2°58′20.3″W / 53.399556°N 2.972306°WCoordinates: 53°23′58.4″N 2°58′20.3″W / 53.399556°N 2.972306°W
|Design and construction|
|Architect(s)||David Watkins – Brock Carmichael Architects|
The Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts (LIPA) is a performing arts higher education institution in Liverpool, founded by Paul McCartney and Mark Featherstone-Witty and opened in 1996. LIPA offers 11 full-time BA (Hons) degrees in a range of fields across the performing arts, as well as three Foundation Certificate programmes of study in acting, music technology, and dance and popular music. LIPA offers full-time, one-year master's-level degree courses in acting (company) and costume making. It is a member of the Federation of Drama Schools.
The Education Guardian has previously ranked LIPA No. 1 in the UK for several of its degree courses, and it is regularly ranked as one of the top 10 specialist institutions. LIPA has been awarded gold by the Government's Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), which rates higher education providers by teaching quality.
In September 2003, LIPA launched LIPA 4–19, a part-time performing arts academy for 4-to-19-year-olds. Since then, a satellite school and associate academies have also been launched. LIPA started its own primary free school in 2014 and its own sixth form free college in 2016.
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. McCartney and Featherstone-Witty were introduced to each other by record producer George Martin. The process of setting up the facility and the school took seven years and cost £20m.
LIPA was opened by Queen Elizabeth II on 7 June 1996, and marked its 10th 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 Featherstone-Witty.
LIPA was designated as a higher education institution (HEI) in 2006. As a performing arts HEI, LIPA is attended by the highest number of international students in the UK. LIPA has been awarded the Gold 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.
In March 2012, LIPA announced that it had purchased the former building of the Liverpool College of Art for £3.7 million, to expand its teaching accommodation. Building work started on the Art School in 2014, and was completed in August 2016. Under the Free School programme, LIPA opened a primary school nearby in 2014, and a Sixth Form College in September 2016, both of which became oversubscribed.
Featherstone-Witty resigned as LIPA secretary in March 2015.
A 2017 survey of students who graduated in 2014 showed that 91% were in work, and 83% of those were working in the performing arts.
Undergraduate tuition fees were £9,250 in 2020/21, with International tuition fees at £16,700 for 2020/21.
LIPA qualifications are validated by Liverpool John Moores University.
LIPA does not issue its own degrees, so rather than issuing Honorary degrees like other British universities, it awards "Companionships" to individuals in recognition of their contributions to the world of art and entertainment. Prospective companions often visit LIPA to give masterclasses to students, or to participate in question and answer sessions.
Companionships awarded by the institution are:
+ denotes a Companion who is also a LIPA Patron.