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Lipa Naming Article

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Willy is featured in the Coaching and Mentoring booklet from 2004/5 when he and Tim Firth toured with students from Liverpool Institue of Performing Arts.

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Willy Russell has college theatre named in his honour

The award-winning playwright Willy Russell, known for works such as Educating Rita, Our Day Out, Shirley Valentine and Blood Brothers, has a theatre named after him in his native Liverpool.

The honour comes from the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts (LIPA), which will be naming the college’s studio theatre after Russell. To mark the occasion, LIPA has commissioned a special signature-based name plate which is was unveiled at a ceremony on 21st June by Russell himself. On the day of the unveiling, Russell will also be running a masterclass for LIPA students.

front row" In the current climate, where the value of arts subjects in the process of education is routinely undermined or overtly attacked and opportunities for access to the arts by pupils and students are increasingly under threat from shifting priorities and cuts in funding, it’s typically miraculous that LIPA should establish its now thriving performance and arts-based Sixth Form College.

Working as a young teacher in Liverpool and then, later, as a playwright who often cast and worked with groups of talented but often un-taught youngsters I saw time and time again how access to and involvement in the arts provided the most comprehensive, character-forming and fully-rounded of learning experiences. Throughout the years I’ve also been able to observe how those young practitioners who were fortunate enough to initially learn via the arts tend to go on ‘studying’ throughout the rest of their lives, their curiosity maintained, their pleasure in learning never dimmed or withered. 

For me to have my name associated with a theatre specifically created to house the experimentation, discovery, struggle, triumph, creative failure and success of the young is a great honour – one that I’m deeply proud and delighted to accept. "

Willy Russell



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