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Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts
LIPA big.jpg
LIPA's main entrance, on Mount Street
Established7 June 1996 (1996-06-07)

53°23′58.4″N 2°58′20.3″W / 53.399556°N 2.972306°W / 53.399556; -2.972306Coordinates: 53°23′58.4″N 2°58′20.3″W / 53.399556°N 2.972306°W / 53.399556; -2.972306 Edit this at Wikidata
Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts Logo.svg
Building details
General information
Construction started1990
Design and construction
Architect(s)David Watkins – Brock Carmichael Architects[1]

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.[2]

The Education Guardian has previously ranked LIPA No. 1 in the UK for several of its degree courses,[citation needed] and it is regularly ranked as one of the top 10 specialist institutions.[3] LIPA has been awarded gold by the Government's Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), which rates higher education providers by teaching quality.[4]

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,[5] 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.[6] LIPA has been awarded the Gold Standard from Investors in People – the only HEI to have achieved this level in the UK.[7] 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.[8] 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.[9]

Featherstone-Witty resigned as LIPA secretary in March 2015.[10]

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.[11]


Undergraduate tuition fees were £9,250 in 2020/21, with International tuition fees at £16,700 for 2020/21.[12]

Current courses

LIPA qualifications are validated by Liverpool John Moores University.[13][14][15]

Foundation Certificates

Undergraduate (Degree)

Master's (Degree)


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.

Notable alumni

This article's list of alumni may not follow Wikipedia's verifiability policy. Please improve this article by removing names that do not have independent reliable sources showing they merit inclusion in this article AND are alumni, or by incorporating the relevant publications into the body of the article through appropriate citations. (November 2020)

See also


  1. ^ "Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts (LIPA)". Brock Carmichael. Retrieved 27 October 2022.
  2. ^ Granger, Rachel. "Rapid Scoping Study on Leicester Drama School" (PDF). De Montfort University Leicester. Retrieved 7 September 2019.
  3. ^ Elson, Peter (20 February 2013). "Paul McCartney's "Fame School" to reign in Spain". liverpoolecho. Retrieved 25 March 2018.
  4. ^ "McCartney Uni sees number of firsts given soar". ITV News. Retrieved 25 March 2018.
  5. ^ Featherstone-Witty, Mark (23 January 2006). "LIPA in Pictures: The First 10 Years". Schools for Performing Arts. Retrieved 1 August 2017 – via
  6. ^ "International Students". Retrieved 1 August 2017.
  7. ^ "LIPA website – 'LIPA sets new standard in performing arts sector'". Archived from the original on 18 November 2016. Retrieved 1 August 2017.
  8. ^ "Paul McCartney's LIPA buys John Lennon's art college building". BBC. 30 March 2012. Retrieved 1 August 2017.
  9. ^ Taylor, Joshua (7 December 2015). "Take a look at the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts' new £5.4m sixth-form building". Retrieved 13 November 2020.
  10. ^ "CompaniesHouse: Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts". Retrieved 13 November 2020.
  11. ^ "LIPA". Retrieved 1 August 2017.
  12. ^ "Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts: Fees and funding". Retrieved 13 November 2020.
  13. ^ "About Us". Retrieved 1 August 2017.
  14. ^ "The Complete University Guide = Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts". Retrieved 13 November 2020.
  15. ^ "TheUniGuide:Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts". Retrieved 13 November 2020.
  16. ^ Lorna Hughes (11 July 2014). "Legendary lyricist Don Black to be honoured by LIPA". Liverpool Echo. Retrieved 1 August 2017.
  17. ^ Pattinson, Rob (28 July 2015). "Sir Paul McCartney back in Liverpool for annual LIPA graduation ceremony". Liverpool Echo. Retrieved 1 August 2017.
  18. ^ "Award-winning broadcaster & Arts Council Chief Executive among new LIPA Companions". Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts. 26 July 2016. Archived from the original on 29 July 2016. Retrieved 13 November 2020.
  19. ^ "LIPA News: Hollywood A-lister among new LIPA Companions". Retrieved 1 August 2017.
  20. ^ "Nile Rogers among new LIPA Companions". Retrieved 27 July 2018.
  21. ^ "LIPA News: Blackadder reunion as two comedy legends are made LIPA Companions". Retrieved 3 March 2020.
  22. ^ Volmers, Eric (16 October 2020). "Alberta chill: Locally shot horror film gives Irish newcomer a perfect showcase". Calgary Herald. Retrieved 20 February 2023.