THE world-famous performing arts academy co-founded by ex-Beatle Sir Paul McCartney is to open a youth academy in Wirral.

"LIPA 4:19", the youth academy, launched by Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts, will open its doors at South Wirral High school in Eastham on January 12.

Its name is derived from the fact it will offer classes in acting, dance and singing to young people aged from four to 19.

Classes will be taught in the school’s purpose-built studios and music rooms. After their first full year, students perform a show in a professional theatre space at LIPA.

Principal Kerry Watkins, said: "We're thrilled to be crossing the Mersey and offering our training to young people on the Wirral.

"They can enjoy the same provision without the time and cost associated with going through the tunnel to get to Liverpool.

"If you’re an experienced young performer or you simply fancy trying something new, or anywhere in between, we’d be delighted to welcome you.

"You’ll grow with us, in terms of both performance and interpersonal skills – and these are invaluable throughout life, no matter which career path you choose to follow."

LIPA is at Sir Paul McCartney’s old school, 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 Mark Featherstone-Witty and Sir Paul and opened in 1995.