Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts


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The Independent Online

History: Set up in 1996 by Mark Featherstone-Witty, founder of the Brit School in London, and Paul McCartney of Beatles fame. After watching the film Fame, Mark Featherstone-Witty started thinking about what learning experiences might best prepare people for a career in the business.

Address: Ten minutes walk from the city centre in Liverpool’s cultural quarter, opposite the Anglican Cathedral.

Ambience: Based in Paul McCartney's old school. The original building is a 19th century Greek revival grade-two listed building and lies in a conservation area. This has been extended with a contemporary annex, built with sandstone so as to complement the old building. A pop-aholic's dream where you can soak up the ghosts of pop stars past while sharing a snifter with celebs-to-be.

Who's the boss? Mark Featherstone-Witty is the principal.

Prospectus: 0151 330 3000 or visit the website here.

UCAS code: L48

What you need to know

Easy to get into? No. Applicants are asked to apply via UCAS and in some cases also have to fill out a LIPA application form. You'll need between 160 and 280 UCAS tariff points from A Levels or a BTEC National Diploma or other equivalent qualifications such as Baccalaureate, but it is evidence of commitment and passion in your chosen area that really counts here. Applications are assessed against the entry criteria, before being invited to an audition or interview.

Vital statistics: Around 670 full-time undergrads. The institute provides eight BA (Hons) courses in performing arts (acting, community drama, dance or music), theatre design and technology, sound technology and management. It also runs weekend performing arts classes for 4 to 19 year olds. Degrees are validated by Liverpool John Moores University.

Added value: Regular master classes and workshops are provided. These have been held by the likes of Ian McKellen, Mark Ronson, Alan Rickman, former Pussycat Doll Carmit Bachar, Dawn French, Richard Wilson, Pete Waterman, songwriter Guy Chambers, music producer Trevor Horne, Will Young, and Elvis Presley's guitarist, James Burton. Teachers have wide professional experience. The institute puts on two seasons of student public productions each year.

Any accommodation? Yes - LIPA has partnership arrangements with local halls of residence providers to supply accommodation for its students, which costs from £90 to £130 per week (self-catered).

Cheap to live there? Not bad at all with rents in the private sector averaging around £65 per week.

Transport links: Liverpool Lime Street railway station is a 15-minute walk away, and trains take two and a half hours to London.

Fees: £9,000 for all UK/EU students on the BA (Hons) undergraduate degree courses. Cites reason for charging the maximum fee as a lack of funding from central government for most courses.

Bursaries: Partakes in the National Scholarship Programme to assist those from families with an annual household income below £25,000. For further information on financial support see here.

The fun stuff

Nightlife: As well as the enriching silt of the Mersey scene, there's the LIPA bar and live music by LIPA and Liverpool acts on Friday nights in term time.

Glittering alumni: Singer-songwriters Dan Croll and Sandi Thom; Liz White, who starred as WPC Annie Cartwright in Life on Mars; LA-based film sound effects editor Dror Mohar, R Jessica Staveley-Taylor from The Staves; all members of The Wombats; Dawn Porter, TV presenter; and Mike Crossey, producer for Razorlight and Arctic Monkeys.