'Fame' Via Liverpool

The Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts is making a rare visit to America to audition Yanks, and Austin is where it's happening

'Fame' Via Liverpool

The Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts is making a rare visit to American shores to audition Yanks, and Austin is the spot where it's happening. The performing arts college, which boasts local hero Django Walker as an alum, was co-founded by Paul McCartney and Mark Featherstone-Witty in 1996 to provide broad-based training for young artists aspiring to professional careers in theatre, dance, and popular music.

The seed for the school goes back to the 1980 film Fame, which inspired Featherstone-Witty to imagine a similar training academy in England. He'd actually developed a secondary school version of it when Beatles producer George Martin introduced him to McCartney, who was working to save the 160-year-old building in which he'd gone to school and was looking for ways to help his hometown of Liverpool. City fathers were also seeking projects to help promote Liverpool as a music city, and eventually they all realized that their mutual needs could be met in Featherstone-Witty's dream school. That eventually became LIPA, and in nine years, it has grown from 190 students to 650 students from 35 countries, about 40 of them from the States. Degree programs include audio engineering, technical theatre, theatre design, arts management, acting, dance, and popular music – the largest program, covering styles from rock to rhythm & blues and production as well as performance.

Featherstone-Witty himself will be in Austin for the auditions, which will be held Saturday, April 9, 10am-6pm, at 501 Post/501 Audio, 501 N. I-35. For information about audition requirements, visit www.lipa.ac.uk or e-mail LIPA's International administrator, Cath Cullen, at c.cullen@lipa.ac.uk.

If you're curious about the institute but not yet ready to try out, LIPA is providing an information session on Saturday at 4pm. No advance reservation is needed for the information session.

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Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts, LIPA, Fame, Django Walker, Paul McCartney, Mark Featherstone-Witty, George Martin, Cath Cullen

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