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McCartney leads graduation party


Paul McCartney led graduation celebrations at LIPA

Paul McCartney led graduation celebrations at LIPA

Paul McCartney led graduation celebrations at LIPA

Sir Paul McCartney has led the graduation celebrations at the "fame" school he set up in his home city.

Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts (LIPA) opened in 1996 after a long campaign by the former Beatle.

On Friday, the musical legend made awards to new LIPA companions - artist and fundraiser Midge Ure, actor Jonathan Pryce, dance promoter Heather Knight, music producer Alan Moulder and theatre designer Christopher Oram.

Community arts champion Dave Pammenter and choreographer LaVelle Smith Junior, who also received Companionships, were not present at the ceremony but provided video citations.

LIPA awards Companionships for two reasons: outstanding achievement and practical contribution to students' learning.

This year, Mark Summers, a leading casting and creative director, became an Honoured Friend.

Founding principal and CEO Mark Featherstone-Witty said: "When Paul and I created LIPA, we knew there was no substitute for learning from the best. Aside from our staff, we wanted to attract outstanding practitioners to share their knowledge for all the disciplines we teach. Since we are in the provinces, it's a push for them, but these people have done it and we are all grateful."

This year nearly 300 students representing 14 countries, including Mozambique and Argentina, graduated from diploma, degree and postgraduate courses in performing art disciplines and related subjects such as management and design.

LIPA is in Sir Paul's old school, the Liverpool Institute for Boys, which underwent a multi-million-pound renovation to transform it.