Published: Mar 27, 2012
LIPA, which was co-founded by Sir Paul McCartney, is this Friday (30 March 2012) due to complete on the purchase of the building that once housed the art college John Lennon attended.
Steeped in Beatles history, the property was formerly The Liverpool College of Art. In the 1950s, John Lennon, his future wife, Cynthia, and The Beatles’ original bassist, Stuart Sutcliffe, all studied there.
The £3.7 million acquisition will provide LIPA with over 5,000 square metres of additional teaching space. The impressive Grade II listed property, pictured, is adjacent to the main LIPA building, in the city’s Georgian quarter.
Adding another layer of Beatles history to the purchase is the fact that LIPA, which opened in 1995 to train performers and those who make performance possible, is housed in Sir Paul and George Harrison’s old grammar school, The Liverpool Institute for Boys.
LIPA’s Founding Principal and CEO Mark Featherstone-Witty said of the purchase: “There are sound business reasons why we are buying the building next door, but there’s no denying the romance of bringing together two buildings where three Beatles once did their learning.
“I’m glad that this historic building will not become yet another boutique hotel or, yet again, be turned into flats. It’ll be used for what it was intended: learning. I’ve mentioned this to Paul, who is supportive.”
LIPA currently trains 693 degree and 62 foundation certificate students as well as offering part-time performing arts classes for young people through the LIPA 4:19 youth academy.
The investment into new facilities is an important step and one which not only complements LIPA’s existing offering but also secures its future growth and development to remain at the forefront of performing arts institutions.
Lennon’s old art college building – 68 Hope Street – joins LIPA’s two existing buildings. One of these is 70 Hope Street, formerly occupied by Liverpool Community College, and is where some LIPA Dance, Theatre and Performance Design and Theatre and Performance Technology classes are taught today.
Mark added: ‘No 70, although useable, hasn’t been ideal, particularly for dance, where rooms need to be as large as possible. No 68 has these, as well as a space we can turn into another studio theatre – a space we are sorely missing. We have to think about the future to make sure that we maintain our unrivalled attraction for both our current and our prospective students.”