The award-winning composer, producer and guitarist will be one of seven luminaries of the arts and entertainment world to receive the accolade from LIPA’s co-founder Sir Paul McCartney at the Institute’s annual graduation ceremony. Nile, who co-founded the ground-breaking disco band Chic in 1976, is one of the industry’s most sought-after producers and collaborators and was inducted into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame last year.
Toyah Willcox – who’s maintained a successful career as both a musician and an actor for over 40 years – will also be made a Companion. LIPA awards Companionships for two reasons: outstanding achievement and practical contribution to students’ learning.
Nile Rodgers and Toyah Willcox will be joined by Broadway and West End sound designer John Leonard, former CEO of Sony Music UK and Ireland Paul Burger, Ali Campbell – who’s a leading community arts practitioner and teacher, international lighting designer Felice Ross and dancer and choreographer Dean Lee.
Chief Operating officer of Twickenham Studios, Maria Walker and Professor Nigel Weatherill, who’s Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive of Liverpool John Moores University will become Honoured Friends of LIPA.
Around 250 students from 16 different countries, including Norway, Canada, Israel, India, Cayman Islands, South Korea, Hong Kong, South Africa and the United States will be attending the ceremony at the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall having completed either degree or foundation certificate programmes.
Mark Featherstone-Witty, LIPA’s Founding Principal and CEO, said: “With our government hell-bent on narrowing the secondary school curriculum to exclude the arts, I worry how long we can continue to celebrate achievement in the creative and performing arts. Soon all we will be left with is TV talent shows that are all about the performers and not the legions of people making performance possible.”
LIPA is located in Sir Paul McCartney’s old school, the Liverpool Institute for Boys, which underwent a multi-million-pound renovation to turn it into a state-of-the-art performing arts higher education institution. It was founded by Sir Paul and Mark Featherstone-Witty. It opened in 1995 with the aim of providing the best teaching and learning for people who want to pursue a lasting career in the arts and entertainment industry, whether as performers or those who make performance possible.
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